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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Lacey

On December 5, 2007, a lot of people went to work or were out shopping at the Von Maur in Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska. Eight of them, some of them my friends and co-workers, never went home. I was one of the lucky ones who did, and not a day goes by that I’m not thankful for that blessing. It was probably the most frightening, most life-changing moments of my life thus far. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but I know it’s a played a big role in who I am now.

My hope is that someday we don’t have to talk about shooting anniversaries anymore. That no one else in the U.S., or any country, will have the fear of being killed while they are at work, at school, walking down the street, at the movie theater, in their house of worship or just finishing their holiday shopping at the mall.

Until that day comes, and even after, I’ll work to keep their names alive. Bev Flynn loved being a holiday gift wrapper, even the required apron that came with working up front. Janet Jorgensen was so talented, helping people find the exact right thing in gifts. Gary Joy in housekeeping was always smiling. Angie Schuster was a fabulous manager in the Girls department. Our sweet Dianne Trent in shipping — she kept the behind the scenes holiday operation going, and I’ll never forget our frantic search to find her once we were evacuated. Maggie Webb, my age, our new store manager, and one of the brightest and bubbliest people I’ve ever met. John McDonald was a customer, and I’ve heard he tried to stand up and protect my friends in customer service. Gary Scharf was a customer too, and I’m still convinced he was shot after he told me to run as I was going up the escalator to the second floor.

❤ Life is too short – live with passion, laugh as much as possible and love. Love without fear, without regret. Love with your whole heart. ❤

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