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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Dawn Rasmussen

In memory of William Rasmussen

My dad was a man of tremendous integrity, intelligence and strength—both physical and mental. He had been successful in his work and was enjoying a comfortable retirement, his days filled with hobbies like kite surfing, golf and skeet shooting. He also spent his days with family who adored him—his wife, her children and their grandchildren. I didn’t live as close or see him as often.

It was an Earth-shattering shock when I received the call telling me that my dad had shot himself in the driveway of his house, with his wife inside making the lunch he was supposed to deliver to a beloved granddaughter.

He was a card-carrying member of the NRA and had a cabinet full of rifles, and other guns. I don’t dispute his right to own them, to enjoy hunting or skeet shooting, but words cannot explain how sad I am to count myself among the survivors of gun violence. I wish we had all paid more attention to his mental state, to his physical and emotional pain (hard because he was so stoic), to the myriad risk factors … He’s gone for good, and my heart is still broken.

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