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My son Willy

In memory of Willy Madonna

On July 25, 1993, I was sitting in my living room when I heard a shot from my son’s room. My heart stopped, and I began to run. As I stumbled up the stairs, I kept hollering “Willy!” “Willy!” “Willy, answer me!” “Please answer me,” over and over. But I knew.

He had been in weekly therapy since the age of 8. He was now 15 and was being bullied at school; plus, his girlfriend had broken up with him recently. My whole body was shaking as I ran to his bedroom door. I didn’t want to open it. I knew we had no guns in our house, but I grew up with guns and I knew that sound.

Willy died of a “self-inflicted gunshot to the head” with a gun that was bought for $75 on the street.

My heart shattered that day and has never healed. For 27 years, 9,855 days, I have cried every day. When I close my eyes, I still hear his laugh and the sound of his voice. I miss him every hour, every minute, every second of every day.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.