October 17, 1993, my life was forever changed when my best friend Pamela was shot and killed in a random armed robbery attempt in Oklahoma City. Pam worked as a nurse on the 3 to 11 p.m. shift. She was arriving home when two young men, 15 and 16 years old, approached her and tried to steal her car. They became angry that it was a stick shift and they couldn’t drive it. They forced her back in the car. When she screamed and honked the horn, they shot her. She died immediately. I will never forget the phone call I received from my grandmother the next evening telling me of my dear friend’s death.
For many months, I lived in fear. I was certain that if my sweet friend could be a victim, then I could too. It took years to get over the fear. It wasn’t until three years ago, when I went through EMDR therapy, that I truly recovered from the trauma of losing her in this manner. I learned so much from Pam’s life and her death. I learned that love is forever, beyond this life. I learned that what we do here matters, no matter how long or short our lives are. It’s hard to imagine what my life would have been like had I not been a survivor of gun violence. But if I could go back in time and find a way to stop her murder, I surely would. Losing someone to gun violence is a club you never want to be a part of, and I pray you never are.