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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Mary Reed

I am a mom.
I volunteer in classrooms, bake pies and raise kids.
I was just a mom until I was shot three times on January 8, 2011.
My family was in line to meet our Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords.
My daughter idolized Gabby, and had worked as a congressional page for her the previous summer.
When the shooting began, I threw my daughter against a concrete wall and covered her with my body.
The last bullet lodged in my spine at L1.
I spent the next 18 months healing – and attending court.
I hung on every word spoken in that courtroom and asked a million questions of our prosecutors, and my victims’ advocates.
Although I received justice – my shooter plead guilty to murder and attempted murder – I knew that I would dread the anniversary of my tragedy.
And I had given that man, my shooter, enough of my life that I could not bear to think of him even once a year.
So, I decided to change the narrative of that day. I would celebrate justice by baking and serving pies to the team who worked so hard for us: the prosecutors, the appellate team, the support team, the investigators, the security guards that protected us, and the other victims of the tragedy.

I would begin planning weeks in advance.
It would take days to make over 30 pies from scratch. And, I would serve pies to that enormous crowd of people. At the end of the day, I would be exhausted.
Too exhausted to think about the lives that were taken that January day, the bodies that were damaged, the possibilities that were snuffed out.
Anniversaries loom large when the calendar pages turn. I prefer to honor my anniversary with pie (cake was never the dessert darling of my family). To honor the people who could not change what happened, but could give us an ending to the tragedy, I serve pie.
For me, pies, like justice, are handmade.

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