Profile: Person of the Year Robby Owens
By AMY JONES
Photos by JON GOERING
When Shelby County District Attorney Robby Owens sits down with someone who has lost a loved one because of a crime — a murder or a DUI, for example — he can understand the pain they’re going through.
Robby lost his wife of 33 years, Denise, to a different culprit — breast cancer — in 2007, but he knows that “loss is loss,” no matter how that loss occurs.
Sometimes people assume that traumatic or sudden loss, such as in a murder or car accident, is different than losing someone to an illness. That’s not typically the case, Robby said.
“What people don’t understand is, loss is loss. The depth of despair people feel is always proportional to the closeness of the relationship and the love they had. How the loss happened is much less important,” Robby said. “I understand traumatic loss much more because loss is loss.”
Robby, who volunteers as a facilitator for grief support groups, said his experiences with losing his wife and working with grief support groups give him a strong foundation to rest on when working with victims.
“I always thought I was sympathetic, and I was. But until I went through it myself, I didn’t understand,” Robby said. “Now, when they talk to me about losing somebody, I get it.”
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