The following is the opinion and personal experience of the writer.
Losing a loved one is a chapter in our lives that is so common, yet so foreign. There will be times when you feel as if nothing makes sense. You’ll wonder how you’re getting through the days or, better yet, the years. Sometimes you will question everything that has ever happened.
Losing our loved one to homicide was surreal; surely, it couldn’t happen to my family. But it did, in fact, and for me, it has happened not once but twice. For me, grief is a portal taking us from our once normal life into a world of confusion, hopelessness, and uncertainty. My name is Tara Myers, and I am from the Tohono O’odham Nation in Sells, Arizona.
On December 16th, 2005 my brother, Warren Myers, was murdered. He was shot and killed a week and two days before Christmas. Twelve years later, my sister, Kimberly Myers, was also shot and killed. They were both murdered less than a mile from our childhood home.
Their murders have impacted me tremendously as the youngest sibling and I replay them in my head over and over and over again. I became obsessed and confused with a distorted sense of reality. This is my traumatic reality struggling with losing my brother and my sister to homicide. What many people don’t know is that in 2008 I lost my mother Linda Myers to Cirrhosis and my brother Brendon Myers Jr. in 1989 to a drug overdose (heart attack).
In 2017, the same year I had lost my sister, the Department of Child Safety took my two children because my drinking had become out of control. Two days after I buried my sister, I was sentenced to 120 days in jail. I felt as if I had lost it all.
In 2018, a speedy trial was requested by one of the perpetrators involved in my sister’s murder (the others involved were never charged). He was sentenced to five years in prison but had his sentence reduced to 3 years. I was disappointed with the courts and with myself. During this time, I was informed about an organization whose primary focus was helping out people like me; it was Homicide Survivors, Inc.
Tara at All Souls Procession
Throughout all of my grief and struggles, I felt as if I was the only person who was going through this kind of pain. I felt like I was going through a fog, or a blur – as if no one truly understood what I was going through. I was so caught up in my own hell that I was unaware of others going through the same thing as I was.
With the support of Homicide Survivors Inc., I was able to participate in support groups and was given the opportunity to try equine therapy, where I learned to live in the present
moment. I decided to stop drinking and seek help. I realized that it was “okay to not be okay” and that everything I was feeling was justified.
I realized that there was no “normal” for me. I had to recreate my own happiness, learn new coping skills, and even learn how to breathe again. I had to learn an entirely new way of life because I was holding onto pain that was affecting my livelihood.
To live and to choose happiness is a choice we can make daily, perhaps even hourly. We may have a good day, and then out of nowhere, we will see something that reminds us of our loved ones. And yet that reminder doesn’t mean we must throw ourselves into the past. We can learn to accept the fate of our beloved brothers and sisters, and we can heal in a new way by being there and showing support for one another.
Being kind is an action that makes a huge difference in today’s society. Our family is present in our hearts when we speak their names with love and remembrance.
Losing my brother, Warren, has taught me to smile, live life abundantly, and cherish my family and friends. My sister Kimberly lived her life however it made her happy. She wasn’t rich with money, but she was rich with life experiences. She lived her life without caution and was not afraid to take chances. In losing both my brother and sister, I shall live my life with gratitude and hope that we can live in unity as a community of fellow survivors.
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