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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Mia Livas Porter, Jr.

In memory of Cipriano

This driver’s license is one of the few items I have left of my brother, Junior.

Junior was diagnosed with schizophrenia after a bad break-up when he was in college in the Philippines. My parents brought him home to Chicago, where he went in and out of mental hospitals and tried various combinations of medicine to control his symptoms. After five years, he told my parents he was better, the voices stopped and he wanted to go back to finish college. My parents hesitatingly let him go and within a month, he got access to a gun and shot himself. My oldest brother Danny found him. After the funeral, we all came back to a letter he had written for each of us. I still have mine.

For too long, I believed my last memory with Junior was him driving around my mom, sister and me, when he started to hear voices and began driving erratically. I was scared and yelled at him that he was crazy. I lived with that regret for 25 years until my sister happened to remind me recently of my actual last moment with him – dropping me off at college.

It’s sad what your mind chooses to remember.

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