NORTH CHARLESTON - (WCSC) - Families and friends who lost their loved ones to murder have an opportunity every year to come together with others for a picnic at Riverfront Park in North Charleston.
The annual picnic is an uplifting way for homicide survivors to celebrate their loved ones together.
JoAnn Shine was joined by her family. She lost her 24-year-old grandson about 5 years ago.
"I feel good when I come out here, I just feel happy and relieved to give my mind a rest for a minute about thinking about my grandboy," Shine said.
For many like Shine there's a pain that never goes away, but it's days like this that uplift heavy hearts.
"Granny, that's all he ever called me was granny," she said. "He was so sweet."
Henry Lee Fitzpatrick came out to the event with his mother. They've been coming the the Homicide Survivors' Picnic since he lost his brother.
"Well we all have dilemmas...and they are my support, and I love them," Fitzpatrick said.
At the 16th Annual Homicide Survivors picnic, it's a place of support. It's a time of fellowship for families and friends to connect and gain strength.
Dr. Alyssa Rheingold is a clinical psychologist and the director of Clinical Operations at the National Crime Victim's Center at MUSC.
"The grief is very different than typical type of grief it's often much more intense, much more prolonged," Rheingold said. "Folks often feel very isolated because the loss is just so different."
Shine's daughter says it's important to keep the memory alive for kids of loved ones that have passed and to stop the violence.
"You meet people that you never thought you would meet out here," she said. "It might be a bad way that we meeting, but once we meet these people out here you know them forever. "
Every year the public is welcome to attend and enjoy food and a day of activities in hopes of experiencing some relief and celebrate their loved ones.
"This is a family thing, I can't remember the names but I remember the face," Shine said. "It ain't nothing but love and hugs and kisses when we see one another."
Many look forward to coming together again next year.
The event is cosponsored by the National Crime Victim's Center at MUSC and the Charleston County Sheriff's Victim's Service Office. The North Charleston Police Department Victim's Services and Fire Department host the event. This is one of several support group events throughout the year.
National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Medical University of South Carolina
67 President Street, MSC 861
2nd Fl. IOP South Building
Charleston, SC 29425
Clinic phone: (843) 792-8209
Administrative phone: (843) 792-2945
Administrative fax: (843) 792-3388