My husband was one of five journalists murdered by a stalker who didn’t like the news stories the paper ran about his court appearances. Despite his legal history, this man was able to get a gun. I wear my husband’s press pass proudly wherever I go. Sometimes I tuck it under my shirt and just keep it close to my heart, but other times I wear it out. It’s my talisman, to imagine that he’s with me, and to remind people that he existed. I’m finishing his fourth book. Although the manuscript was just a few days away from being finished, there are issues with the photographs and the publisher and permissions and distribution, and I am determined to publish this book on time. I toil every day on his book. It’s really good. I can’t imagine that he won’t be here to see it published, and every day that fact haunts me. But I’m going to make damn sure it gets published.
My world turned upside down the night a detective called to tell me my ex-husband had shot and killed himself with his own handgun. In the year between our divorce and when he killed himself, we were working toward a new kind of relationship, to becoming friends. I had absolutely no idea he would take such an action. Yet in the 10 years since he shot himself, with my teeth gritted and the tireless support of my loved ones, I have come so, so far. I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. I no longer feel guilty or angry or confused or helpless. I just feel incredibly sad. And I won’t ever not feel incredibly sad because his death will never not be incredibly sad.
Every single day, something happens that reminds me of him. Something funny he would have laughed at, something frustrating he would have fumed over … usually mundane things. But I still can’t watch someone holding a gun to their head on a TV show or in a movie, nor can I hear a Journey song without tears forming and my mind spinning and my heart racing. Yet I am finding ways to effect change around guns. I keep a list of “gun language and gestures” that are so prevalent in our culture, and I am finding ways to call attention to them when I hear or see them. Ways that open conversation and spark reflection. I am working as a lead with my local Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America group. I draw on the resources and, more importantly, my peers in the Everytown Survivor Network, a “club” none of us wants to be part of. And every day I strive to live by the adage, “How does your life help to spread peace?” Today I am hopeful. The arc of the moral universe IS bending.
On December 2, 2015, my husband left for work like any other day. He kissed me goodbye and told me he loved me, just like any other day. A few hours later he was murdered at his office meeting by a coworker. My husband, best friend and favorite person in the world was gone. And my family’s life has never been the same.