I lost my son, Matthew Sheldon Cox Jr., on July 28, 2012, to gun violence at my home in Pensacola, Florida. He was standing in front of my home when a young man approached him and robbed him. Matthew gave him everything in his pocket, and when he found the opportunity to run, he got away and ran into the house. The perpetrator ran behind him in an intentional rage and shot two bullets through my door. One bullet struck Matthew in his heart.
He was 19 and had dreams and aspirations of being an underwater welder. He was charismatic and would give the shirt off his back. Unfortunately his life was cut short, and now our community, his friends, my family and I are dealing with “chaotic” grief.
Losing my son in a senseless way has fueled my lifetime commitment to fight for justice in our school systems. I have attended city and county meetings and advocated for equal justice throughout our community and state.
From time to time, many of us lose items like credit cards, wallets and ID cards. However, there is no replacement for a life. Eight years later, I am still riding an emotional rollercoaster, fighting for strength.