AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Friends and families gathered in Augusta to honor their loved ones who's lives were taken.
They also came together to share stories and find comfort in other people who have experienced what that they have gone through.
Photos and personal items of homicide victims were displayed on tables, as their names flashed by on a large screen. 579 known murder victims from Maine.
“For some family members its difficult to hear their loved ones name or see a picture without falling into the abyss of grief and loss”, said Arthur Jette.
Jette knows about pain and grief. He lost his grandson Treven Cunningham to a gunman, who shot him and his babysitter. He says dealing with a murder is different than grieving other kinds of deaths. Judy Richardson agrees.
“Murder is a death like no other. Its horrendous, its complicated and its very sad”, she said.
Richardson’s daughter Darien was shot inside her home in 2010. She would later die from her injuries. Her mom came here to remember her daughter and to speak with others who know what she’s been going through.
“It’s comforting. You can talk about the things that you can’t with other people or other people don’t really understand or want to hear”, she said.
The fact that her daughter’s case has not been solved intensifies her pain.
“It’s even more taxing, it’s another level of pain. It’s a cloud over your head all the time”, she said.
Friends and relatives who come to this event are encouraged to remember the good times they shared with their loved ones.
“To try to get people to a point where the mention of their loved ones name or a picture of their loved one will bring a smile to their lips before a tear reaches their eye”, said Jette.
As difficult as it was dealing with his grandson’s death, Jette found a calling, helping other families. He now heads the Maine chapter of Parents of Murdered Children. He encourages others not to feel like a victim, but to be a survivor.
“We will always be survivors unless we give in to the darkness”, he said.
This event is held once a year, but there is a year round, permanent reminder of Maine’s murder victims. It’s a monument on display at the Holy Family Cemetery in Augusta.