Every April, the non-profit organization Homicide Survivors Inc. holds a candle vigil during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

The vigil serves as a way for survivors like Sylvia Alvarez, who lost her son in a DUI car crash in 2015, to honor their loved ones while finding comfort in knowing theyre not alone.

“Its a tragic loss, and youre not prepared for that,” she said. “So when youre around other people that understand that level of loss, its a sense of healing on a different level.”

The executive director of Homicide Survivors, Dennisse Lay, says the trauma of losing a loved one to homicide is one you never fully heal from.

“Being a survivor and living with the fact that your loved one was taken from you in a violent manner is something you just learn to live with,” Lay said. “Its not something that you get over.”

While that trauma may never go away for so many survivors like Valerie Sabedra, who lost her cousin in a DUI crash 45 years ago, through the power of community, that pain can become numb, even if its only temporary.

“If you havent lost somebody or been through a traumatic event, you dont understand it,” Sabedra said, who was also a passenger in the same vehicle. “Its good to be around people like this because we are all the same, we all have the same broken heart.”



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