The sister of a Virginia Tech massacre victim explains how to deal with grief -- after 7 years, she still pays her brother's phone bill to hear his voice

Jen HerbstrittAl JazeeraJen Herbstritt, whose brother Jeremy was killed in the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.

“You don’t expect these things,” Jen Herbstritt says. “You don’t expect to go to work and not to come home. You don’t expect to go to school and not to come home, to be killed.”

Herbstritt’s older brother, Jeremy, was a a civil engineering student at Virginia Tech in 2007 when he and 31 others were killed by a shooter on campus.

Jen Herbstritt was interviewed by Al Jazeera about how to deal with grief when someone you love suddenly dies. The video addresses the families who were affected by the San Bernardino shooting.

When Herbstritt first learned about her brother’s death, she says she was in complete shock. The week following his death, Herbstritt wished someone would tell her what to expect next, and what her life would be like without her brother in it. Ultimately, she realised no one can tell you those things; everyone mourns differently.

Jen Jeremy HerbstrittAl JazeeraJen with her older brother Jeremy Michael Herbstritt, who died in the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007.

“I just wanted someone to tell me, ‘Jen, in six months, it’s going to be OK. You’re going to figure this out. You’re going to feel this way,'” Herbstritt says. “There’s no guidebook to grief.”

Since then, she has learned to live for her brother, and to do things he never got the chance to do.

Although seven years have passed since her brother died, Herbstritt says she continues to pay his cell phone bill. She’s afraid to forget what his voice sounded like.

Jen HerbstrittAl JazeeraJen calling her deceased brother’s voicemail, seven years after his death, just to hear his voice.

“At seven years out, I know that there’s a way to survive the loss of a loved one,” Herbstritt says. “There’s a way to learn to live life a gain. It’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be fun. It’s not going to be pleasant. It’s not going to be a joy ride. But there’s a way to survive it.”

Here’s the interview, below:

What the sister of a Virginia Tech shooting victim says to grieving families who’ve also lost a loved one.
— America Tonight (@AmericaTonight) December 4, 2015

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