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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Julvonnia McDowell

In memory of JaJuan

A planned 5-day vacation ended in tragedy when my son JaJuan was shot and killed by another teen playing with an unsecured firearm. We felt helpless, lost. I remember thinking, but Lord, he was only 14 years old; he had so much life left, so much potential, so many dreams and so many unfinished natural tasks. A peace came over me when I thought of all the smiles, the laughter, the joy. JaJuan was truly a gift, and his presence was filled with so much love that never fades, erases or will be replaced.

JaJuan was a typical child, not concerned with dressing and color. When he got into middle school, his dad, older brother and I noticed that he was matching all the way down to his socks. He was a trendsetter and loved his bow ties. We would always purchase the ones with the clips. The last bow tie that we purchased, and he wore, had his favorite colors: yellow and blue. He never got the opportunity to learn how to tie his bow tie and now he never will, but this clip-on is a perfect memory that we will forever cherish.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.