Sunday, August 19, 2012

POMC National Conference

This past week I spoke again at a workshop, this time to over 350 who attended the Parents of Murdered Children National Conference held in Phoenix, AZ. POMC spreads hope and healing to thousands who have lost a child to violence and whose lives are forever changed. It is a group no one wants to belong to and, as the chairperson said, “we wouldn’t wish it on anyone.” In that respect, it is the same as The Compassionate Friends yearly conferences.

“You don’t chose to be in this group,” says Mark LeGault, whose 19-year-old daughter Dolores was brutally murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2006. “We’re in this group because our child was murdered.”

He continued by saying, “People who have not lost a child to homicide like we have don’t know what we are going through. This group brings people together. It gives them a safe place.”

For three decades POMC has helped this one specific group of bereaved parents, whether the child was an only child or one of many in the family. It’s the third time they have come to the Valley for their conference and the second time I’ve spoken at it.

Those who come to this 3-day conference find information on a variety of topics dealing with the criminal justice system. They hear about cold cases from police officers, what prison life is like for these criminals, what parents go through dealing with the courts, healthy coping skills, connecting with your loved ones, journaling your grief, domestic violence, victims rights, parole hearings, childless issues and support circles where participants can share their stories and have a shoulder to cry on. They leave the conference having found strength and support.

Besides workshops, keynote speakers included Robert Martin, a former police detective; Dr. Joanne cacciatore, who counsels those affected by traumatic losses; chief Daniel Garcia, Phoenix Police Chief; Bill Montgomery, Maricopa County Attorney and Judge Ronald Reinstein.

Along with a silent auction, bear raffle, comfort room and children’s healing hurt sessions, participants received a lot of valuable information to use in their grief journey. In addition K9 Crisis Response Dogs were present. These dogs travel the nation and provide a caring presence during times of pain and hurt. They claim that with a dog at your side, you can get through anything life throws your way. The kids at the conference especially liked the dogs.

The workshop I did was “For Those Left Childless.” I must say, it was one of the best workshops I’ve given because of the participation and lots of good ideas tossed around from those who attended. We discussed: What is the most difficult situation you have dealt with since your only child died? This led us to talking about: Are we still a mother? How do you answer the question: how many children do you have? Gone are the happy occasions. What affect does losing your only child have on your marriage? If single and alone, what now? Who will take care of me when I’m older? Are you losing friends who don’t want to be around you anymore? Are you grieving differently that your spouse and the importance of making a new will or trust.

For more information on POMC and a chapter in your area, contact: or 1-888-818-7662.


  1. Thank you for the information. I added a link to the POMC site on my site:

    I had already included a few sites specifically for families and friends of violent crime victims. In addition, a few of the blogs and websites are by parents whose children were murdered.

    I would be interested to know what kinds of solutions and suggestions you came away with after this conference. I think we could all learn something and benefit.

  2. I enjoy your blog. I see there is a group for children killed by drunk drivers, killed by someone else(murder,also illness. Is there a group for parents of children killed by distracted driving? That is what happened to us and it seems there is not group to get involved in. I know that being in any group would help but when the person just walks away with no punishment it is hard to cope. I guess I am looking for a group that we could be involve in that will make us feel we are helping other parents whose children have been killed because someone just wasn't watching where they were driving.

  3. Why isn't there any punishment for distracted driving?

    Take a look at page 5 of my site

    There's a link to a story about a girl who was killed by a distracted driver (the girl's name is Casey Feldman).
    I also included a link to the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation, which features some articles about distracted driving.