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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Dana

In memory of Cathy Copeland

It’s still so hard to talk about this, even 25 years later…

On March 7, 1994, my dear friend Cathy was murdered in her dorm room by her ex-boyfriend. He bought his gun at a gun show, and after killing her, turned the gun on himself. I had just left her dorm room because he was coming over to talk to her. Cathy was 21. I was 19.

I think about Cathy nearly every single day. I still carry the weight of her death and the guilt that I (we) were so innocent and had no idea what some people are capable of when they are hurting.

Cathy was a kind, funny, upbeat soul who was incredibly talented. She was a singer and guitar player. She wanted to be a filmmaker. She was obsessed with the band U2 and made fantastic mix tapes. She was a true, true friend. She listened with her heart and always had the right thing to say to make you feel better. I miss her all the time. I wish we could have kept playing music together. I wish I could have watched her films. I wish she could have met my husband and children. I wish she was here today because she just made the world a better place. I wish, I wish, I wish…

Like many have shared, I didn’t know that I was a “survivor” until last year. This horrific crime has impacted every aspect of my life, and I’m still healing from it. I have struggled over the years with figuring out how to do something about gun laws, and I feel like I have finally found the right spot, where I can collaborate with like-minded people who have also shared this heartbreak. There is comfort here. I wish that we didn’t need to be here, and yet, I’m very grateful that I have found this community. I don’t feel so alone in my grief anymore. I wish you all love and peace.

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