Jennifer Hudson and her family are in shock and mourning. Coping with three homicides at one time is exquisitely brutal to their bodies, souls, and spirits. A feeling of horror, anxiety, and vulnerability may prevail for her and her surviving family members for many months to come.
Her mother, Darnell Hudson Donerson, brother, Jason, and nephew, Julian King, were murdered. The bodies of her mother and brother were found shot in the mother's home in Chicago, Illinois, in the Englewood neighborhood. Her seven-year-old nephew, Julian, was found a few days later in an SUV parked along a street in Chicago, also shot to death. These are all horrific and senseless events.
Deborah Spungen, author of And I Don't Want To Live This Life: A Mother's Story Of Her Daughter's Murder, had this to share about coping with her tragic loss: she calls it "the blackest hell accompanied by a pain so intense that even breathing becomes an unendurable labor."
What the surviving Hudson family members once believed about the world is shattered, in the most violent of ways. A world in which there used to be some control, predictability, and safety is gone. If one’s mother and brother can be shot in cold blood in their own home, how can the world ever seem safe and secure? Emotionally, Jennifer, her family, and anyone else who has experienced a homicide has been violated and victimized. The deaths do not make sense and the question of "Why, Why, Why?" is asked relentlessly. Absorbing three murders is asking almost too much of the psyche. It is all so overwhelming and challenging. Planning one funeral is grueling. Imagine having to do three, especially one for a seven-year-old child.
In the case of any sudden, tragic death, there is no opportunity to say good-bye, thus leaving unfinished business for the grievers to cope with. This lack of closure produces feelings of being robbed, depression, and even despair. Death is final, there is not a redo, ever. Family members and friends ask themselves, “What should I have said the last time we spoke?” or “Could I have prevented this from happening?” Guilt abounds, as well as self-blame and shame. All three feelings are alive and well in the lives of those left behind and may take on a life of their own in the months following the homicides. It is common for survivors to blame themselves. This is played out again and again with, "If only I had insisted. . .” or “If only I had just. . ."