September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.  Read and share stories to honor survivors whose loved ones died by gun suicide.

total hearts received for Moments That Survive

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.