Vigil Offers Friendship, Therapy For Grieving Oklahoma Families

Saturday, November 16th 2013, 11:15 pm

By: News On 6

We begin tonight with families forged through tragedy who share their journeys of grief as a way to remember and grow stronger.

With the holidays approaching, this time of year can be the hardest for families with murdered or missing loved ones.

But they say with this vigil, they can share their stories with other people who truly understand their pain.

"Even after 11 years, there's not a day goes by that my daughter doesn't enter my mind," Sheila Owen said.

The stories still bring tears to the eyes of family members, some who lost loved ones more than a decade ago.

"This is my Memorial Day," Owen said. "I don't have no place with flowers to decorate my daughter's grave,"

Owen's daughter, Tricia Flipps, went missing in November 2002, and hasn't been seen since.

When Owen started this vigil, it was just her family and friends. It since has turned into a support group for victims of the voiceless.

"We've developed a family from tragedy," said Catherine Doak, a murder victim's mother.

Doak's daughter, Victoria Knight, was brutally murdered in 2004.

She says this annual memorial of stories and pictures is the best form of therapy, because the dozens in this room understand how hard it is to move on.

"Not only that but we're there for the new people, because it's a lonely, lonely road," Doak said. "It's a lonely journey."

Devin Clark is Victoria's young son. He's taken a leadership role for kids forced to grow up too soon.

"I know how they feel," Devin Clark said. "They know how I feel, and we kind of cope."

Diana and Larry Dean says after 16 years they're hopeful events like, will promote awareness, and lead to answers in their daughter Dena's murder.

"This is real life. This is not a story. This is real life," Diana Dean said.

They say while they'll never be whole again - the pain subsides, if only for a second, knowing that they're not alone.

"There's a saying that the mention of my child's name might bring tears to my eyes, but it's music to my ears," Doak said.

Both Sheila Owens and Catherine Doak say that they stay in contact throughout the year outside of the vigil.

They encourage anyone who may be struggling with murdered or missing loved ones to contact them.

"It's a growing family, one that we wish didn't grow every year."


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