Much of my experience is as a mother and wife. I married young, had three children and brought them up to be good human beings, helped my husband start our own business and make it a success, helped my parents through old age – I was looking forward to enjoying the years of doing something for me – a hobby, time for my friends, traveling, finding my next chapter. All that changed on June 12, 2016. My middle child, my son Jerry, a sweet and loving son whom I adored, was mowed down in a rain of bullets and hate by a man wielding a military-style weapon. He was killed along with 48 other people out for a Saturday night of dancing.
Holidays are now times of grief instead of celebration, family occasions — the birth of a child, a wedding, a graduation — are bittersweet reminders of all our son is missing. The hole in our heart is permanent. Now I spend my days trying to stop this madness, this uniquely American problem that destroys families and rips communities apart. My second chapter was written by the massacre of my son, but I am committed to doing all I can to stem the bleeding and reduce gun violence.