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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Madeleine Garcelon

In honor of Nicolette Elias

November 10, 2014, is the last day of my beloved daughter’s life, and the first day of a mother’s worst nightmare. My daughter Nicolette was murdered, shot seven times by her ex-husband while my 7- and 8-year-old granddaughters were there. He then took them to his house, and when the SWAT team got there he shot and murdered himself. In an instant, my grandgirls were orphaned tragically, and my other daughter, Sonia, lost her only sibling.

Nicolette was loving, smart, compassionate, with a wicked sense of humor and could tell a story better than anyone I’ve ever met. She worked at Portland State University and was so valued —  they even have an Endowed Scholarship fund in her name.

It’s been little over four years, and my grief is just as overwhelming as the day it happened. The difference is the shock. It’s still as unbelievable now as it was that November 10. It’s easier for me to talk about my beautiful daughter than not.

I’m surviving, my daughter Sonia is surviving, and thank god, Nicolette’s daughters are too. It’s rough-going more than not … but since Everytown’s Survivor Fellows has given me the opportunity to tell our story and to advocate for better gun-sense laws and for the gun advocates in office, it makes it easier to push through. To give voice to those that don’t have one anymore and for those that haven’t found theirs yet.

I appreciate the platform to honor my daughter/sister/mother/friend Nicolette Naomi Elias.

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