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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Clare Senchyna

In memory of Camilo

Camilo was my son, my sun, my everything that was important in my life. Camilo was my only child, and I became a single parent when he was a toddler, so we were each other’s family. Camilo was beautiful, kind and had such a big heart and wonderful sense of humor. He made me laugh daily. I was so proud of the man he had become. I was so amazed by him and felt so very lucky to call him my son — so very grateful to be his mom.

That Saturday night he came home from a long day of work as an EMT and decided to go out and celebrate his recent completion of paramedic school and upcoming birthday. I was happy he was taking some time off from constant work and studying. “Have fun, I love you,” were the last words I said to him. Camilo never came home; I was to never see him again. A stranger’s bullet hit him in the heart as he was leaving a neighborhood club. My son was dead; my life that I knew was shattered. I still find it hard to believe. I still don’t want to believe it, four years later. I speak out against gun violence because that is what I am left with. I cannot be silent.

Camilo’s life was so much more than the gun that killed him. Camilo’s life was filled with joy, hard work and promise. Everything pointed to a long and bright future. And because of a stranger’s gun, it was ended in an instant.

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