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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Bettye Howard

Moms against gun violence

I grew up in Texas. It was in the 1960s. I was 16 years old, upstairs in my bed, asleep on a Sunday morning. I was awakened by a loud sound, a gunshot. I ran downstairs and found my father, a 44-year-old prominent physician, slumped over the couch with a bleeding shot to his head. The ambulance came, and I felt a slight pulse, hoping he had a chance. I knew there was family turmoil, but I didn’t know what happened. I got into the ambulance with him and even was allowed in the ER before emergency surgery to remove the bullet. The staff all knew him.

The bullet was too deep in his brain to be removed. He survived but was paralyzed on one side of his body. He never wanted to talk much about it afterwards and claimed he was shooting after a snake, so I never asked more. I helped him dress and drove him around and got him ready to teach at a medical school, but it was depressing. He lived for four years, but then succumbed to his injury at 47. I wished we didn’t have gun in our home, but that’s what they did in Texas.

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