I was only eight years old. I remember waking up in the morning and realizing that no one woke me for school. My mother was in the kitchen acting very strangely and detached. She wouldn’t look me or my siblings in the eye.
“Sharon has gone to heaven.” That’s all she could manage to say. My beautiful sister, 20 years old, was shot in the stomach by a 5-year-old boy whom she was babysitting. She didn’t survive. My big sister who took me on walks, fixed my hair, comforted me when I had my vaccination shots for kindergarten, taught me how to keep my aquarium fish alive, was gone.
Sharon had gotten married young and had a 5-month-old daughter whom she cherished. Doreen no longer had a mother. She had a tormented husband who couldn’t face my family because it was his gun in the nightstand drawer. This unintentional shooting had profound effects on my family and still hangs over us with a heavy cloud of sadness. December 1965.