Holiday depression: A big problem for parents who have lost chil - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

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Holiday depression: A big problem for parents who have lost children

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
PEARL, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

It can happen to almost anyone. Holiday depression is especially hard on parents who have lost their children to violent crimes or accidents.

One mother says it is her first Christmas without her 17-year-old son. Charles McDonald was shot to death in July in Jackson, but for his mother, it seems like yesterday.

Stephanie Smith Jefferson, the Assistant Director at Crossroads Counseling Center,  calls them the walking wounded - parents who have had to bury a child.

"During this time of year, when all the families are getting together and it's all this joyousness, those families have lost someone and so there's that emptiness, that hole in their heart," said Smith-Jefferson. 

Yvette Mason-Sherman knows this pain all too well. She saw her 17-year-old son shot to death in July in Jackson.

"As a mother, I brought him into this world, and I had to watch him leave this world and I was helpless," said Mason-Sherman. "You know to see him fall and hit the ground and I couldn't do anything."

Jefferson says whether it's a violent crime or an accident, loss and grief can be overwhelming and parents need support. Many suffer from PTSD.

"They're reliving it every day, hearing it every day," Smith-Jefferson added. "Experiencing it physically every day."

Perry Sanderford, Director of Crossroads Counseling Center says getting help is critical for parents who experience unimaginable pain.

"It's a process. We don't ever get over this," Sanderford said. "We learn to live with it, the loss, but there's power in that."

"I would advise anybody that's dealing with this to seek help, because it does help," Mason-Sherman explained. "You know you can talk about it all day long, you can cry all day long but its not going to bring our babies back."

Empty Arms Bereavement Support will have its first meeting Saturday in Pearl from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The meeting will be held at the Rankin County Baptist Association Building in Pearl at 200 Park Place Drive.

It is free to parents who have lost their children to violence or accidents. 

For more information you can call Stephanie Smith-Jefferson at (601) 939-6634.

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