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ACA victim's family members talk on how to cope in aftermath of tragedy

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: ACA victim's family members talk on how to cope in aftermath of tragedy
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The heartbreak in Newtown is a pain many of us can’t even imagine. Many in Binghamton faced a similar heartache three years ago after the ACA shooting. Elyse Mickalonis shows us how people in the Southern Tier say it’s important to offer grieving friends and families a helping hand during this difficult time.

BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- It’s something no parent wants to imagine: Sending your child to school on a Friday morning, just before the holidays and not getting them back.

“This is just mind blowing, it's unbelievable,” said the brother of a Sandy Hook Elementary School student on Friday.

First there will be shock and then coping, a process many in the Binghamton Community know all too well about.

“It’s depressing,” said David Marsland, the husband of an ACA victim. “It’s another incident to happen on a Friday and people are waking up on a Saturday and realizing what happened to their lives. It’s like you’re in a different universe now.”

Three years ago, a gunman killed David Marsland’s wife, along with 12 others at the American Civic Association. A massacre that was followed by prayer and memorial services, something psychologists say could help the Newtown community as well.

“Those kinds of ceremonies are very good for the healing process and grieving process. We should express our sorrow, do it, hopefully, as a community and support each other,” said Shawn Ward, Le Moyne College Psychology Associate Professor.

Family members of the ACA victims say they hope the Newtown community offers the same kind of support they received in Binghamton three years ago.

“I came home one day and there was a card on my front porch, signed by everyone on my street. Somebody figured they needed to do that,” said Marsland.

Marsland says one thing that doesn’t help the healing process is all of the media attention.

"When a family member dies, it is probably the most private event in your life,” said Marsland. “To have that torn open and displayed on TV and internationally and have satellite trucks down the street, if the community supports those people."

Marsland says he wants others to know it’s okay to take things day by day, ask for help when you need it and that life will go on, no matter how impossible that idea seems right now.

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