October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Read and share stories to honor survivors whose lives have been changed by domestic violence.

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Auntie Anna

In memory of Emily Elizabeth Todd

On December 9th, 2018, my beautiful niece was taken from us. I have spent this entire week trying to come up with the words as to how this will forever impact my family. I feel like I could write an entire book on it. She was the true meaning of beauty, inside and out. She had an innocence about her that allowed her to care and nurture others with such a calm. She had a one-of-a-kind heart and soul. There was a certain way she spoke to you that always made you feel special and important.

There are a million pictures that I have of her. You could honestly look at any one of her photos and immediately see all the things I write about her, she just had a certain glow about her. I chose a photo that at times pains me the most. This was the very last time I saw Em.

She is with my daughter. She was so excited to see “little Puddin,” as she named her that day. My daughter just happened to be the only other girl grandbaby born to this family outside of Em. It had been 25 years that she was the one and only! These two were supposed to share a very special bond for the rest of their lives! A bond that I felt that I shared with Em my whole life: We were like sisters. I cared for her when she was a baby and seeing her hold my baby girl just breaks my heart knowing that was the last moment we all had together. I am sickened at the thought that my kids will miss out on knowing firsthand what a truly rare person she was. There was such a joy that surrounded her when she saw her three brothers and her little cousins; she was a true caregiver. That was robbed from her and taken from us in a senseless act of violence.

Emily was shot and killed by a heartless monster she only knew for two weeks. Someone who was able to have access to a gun — not just to shoot and kill her, but to also shoot someone else a year prior without being brought to justice. How is this even able to happen? Our Emily should still be here! I don’t know what the answers are, but I know I will spend the rest of my life looking for them. Something MUST be done, and my family and I will join the fight to create a safer world for all our children. We love you, Em, and you will forever be with us, helping us fight this battle.

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