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Coping with loss of fallen deputy, psychotherapist gives advice

Pictured: fallen Deputy Mark Burbridge (Courtesy: Council Bluffs Police Department)

It's going to be a long grieving process for many people after losing Deputy Mark Burbridge.

His family members, friends, and many others in the Council Bluffs and Omaha metro are feeling the loss.

Now, counselors have advice for everyone on how to get through this tragedy.

"It’s not that we ever move on completely from grief. It’s about not letting it get in your way,” said Psychotherapist Julie Luzarraga.

She knows just how powerful grief can be and that it can “get in the way of everyday functioning. You can’t find joy. It’s affecting how you work, how you play, how you live."

With the death of Deputy Mark Burbridge she wants to help people who are struggling.

"That kind of event is so traumatic and scary, and a lot of times can even be very scary and anxiety provoking for people who weren't even related to it, but just are hearing about it."

Deputy Burbridge was shot and killed on Monday.

Luzarraga said, "When we hear these things people can think I'm not safe, my neighborhood's not safe."

Matthew Davis didn’t know the deputy, but he says his death is still hitting close to home.

Davis said, "It's just really hard to think this happened so close to where we live."

Luzarraga said, "Community is really important, really being able to talk with each other, lean on each other."

She says this is important even for those who weren't close to Burbridge.

Davis said, "Me and my grandma were talking. Me and my friends talk about it."

Johnas Perkins said, "We just kind of ask our kids if they understand what's going on...we've been praying for the family as a family at dinnertime and just kind of talking back and forth with it, and just kind of coping with it by prayer."

Luzarraga says it's also important to realize that everyone grieves in their own way and that people should respect “when people need their own space even sometimes to process on their own."

For those who were close to Burbridge, Luzarraga says storytelling is another powerful tool.

She said, "It helps to remind us to celebrate and to not just mourn and get lost in that."

Luzarraga says several people have already called her to talk about the deputy's death. Some are scheduling counseling sessions.

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