Coping with grief after the death of Sioux Falls family killed - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Coping with grief after the death of Sioux Falls family killed in I-90 crash

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Friends and neighbors are still coping with the sudden deaths of a Sioux Falls family over the weekend.

James and Julie Vollmer, and their children Alyssa and Caleb were killed Saturday night.

All four of them were killed in a one-car crash on I-90.

The highway patrol says the cause is still under investigation.

And they have yet to talk to the witness of the crash.

Many people have expressed concern for their daughter, Brittany, who was away at college at the time of the accident.

KSFY spoke with a grief counselor at Avera who told me whether someone loses one member of their family or more, it still is a loss which people have to deal with.

And he suggests the best way for people to deal with the loss of a loved one is to reach out to others and focus on the memories.

Many of the Vollmer's neighbors express concern for Brittany Vollmer, the daughter left behind.

Neighbor George Krueger said "you can hardly believe it. A house sitting there, with no people in it anymore. And the poor girl, their daughter in college is all alone now."

Another neighbor, Tammy Klein said "unfortunately, there's nobody left for her. She has nobody left for her. It just breaks your heart."

Thanatologist and grief counselor Mark Vandebraak said grief is different from depression.

"This is grief. Grief is grief. There's no other name for it. To have support be it through a pastor, be it through the school counselors, being heard," Vandebraak said.

Having people to reach out to can help victims cope with grief.

"Hopefully, she has the support from family and her college community, her faith base. In my years of doing this, the best thing we can have is that support," Vandebraak said.

But dealing with grief can be difficult. That's why it's important to find a pathway to deal with the loss.

"Focusing on their memories, focusing on their gifts that to me is the most important thing we can do. And having them and keeping them and keeping their spirit here (in the heart) versus locked up in our head," Vandebraak said.

Vandebraak tells us as we deal with grief, we may experience headaches or stomach aches.

Our concentration may be off and we might forget things, we might question our faith and have questions of why, not to mention anger or guilt.

And our emotions may be up and down, like a roller coaster.

There will be a prayer service for the Vollmer family Thursday night at Sioux Falls Christian High School, and a funeral is scheduled for Friday morning at 11, also at Sioux Falls Christian.

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