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Helen Rodrigues

In memory of my brother

When my brother was 27, he was shot in a road rage incident that left him a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the chest down. His wife left him after six months, and he moved back into my parents’ home. Our mother, who was finally enjoying her free time as the last child (me) had gone off to college, became his full-time caretaker with the help of a home health aid. He was no longer able to cook for himself, dress himself, or work for a living. This once active, talented, charming, successful man became a different person. We all became different people. My mother died nine years after the shooting at age 63 and my brother killed himself eight years later.
I saw that marriage vows meant little, therefore, made a decision never to get married. I saw my parents go through hell and chose not to be a parent. I saw my brother’s life taken away at 27 and decided life could be cut short at anytime so I must live life to the fullest, take chances and see all I can, traveling to more than 40 countries so far. I am sure my life would have taken a very different path if that bullet had not severed our lives.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.