October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Read and share stories to honor survivors whose lives have been changed by domestic violence.

101,561
total hearts received for Moments That Survive

Nicole G. Lewis

In memory of Ronique

Living as a survivor of gun violence is different from how I lived before. On December 3, 2015, I received a call from my 20-year-old daughter’s friend, saying that she heard that Ronique had just got shot and I should go to Richmond, California, to find her immediately. I had just got off the phone with Ronique about an hour before, so there’s no way she could have gotten shot. I rushed to Richmond, which is about 30 minutes away from where I lived, to find her. It was a rainy day, so the roads were very wet, and the sky was gray. As soon as I got there, to what I thought was the police station, a gentleman walked out and asked me if he could help me. I then told him that I think that my daughter had gotten shot. He then proceeded to say to me, “So you must be looking for the young lady that was just killed on San Pablo Road.” I fainted.

When I woke up, as soon as I looked at the sky, there was a huge bright rainbow that lit up the entire sky. In my mind, that was God opening up the heavens for Ronique. I was crushed! My world felt like it had ended. So many emotions went through me, and I didn’t feel like living anymore. How could this have happened!? So many questions that needed to be answered.

My life has changed forever. I am now a mother of a murdered child. Three years later, I suffer from PTSD and anxiety. Sleepless nights and heartbroken to the core. I have been looking for the person who killed my child by being active online, posting flyers and calling the detective for any information. Unfortunately I still don’t know who murdered Ronique. It has left a scar on my heart that I don’t think will ever heal. Living life and knowing that my Ddaughter will never get to live hers has become a very hard pill to swallow. Most of her friends that she was in college with have graduated already. When that person killed her, they also killed her dreams of becoming a veterinarian. She was really smart and cared for animals with all of her heart. Every day has become a day of learning how to survive without her beautiful spirit in my life. Learning how to speak to others about Ronique and encouraging them to keep her memory alive in their hearts.

She is an unforgettable soul. Learning how to cope with such a deep pain can be very hard, but with lots of prayer and support from family and friends, I’m still here. And now, in some sense, because of my ongoing fight for justice, I have encouraged other survivors and victims of gun violence to keep on living. I wouldn’t wish this life on anyone. I’m a survivor, not victim.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.

101,561