On June 22, 1981, our world came crashing down. My father was shot in his law office in Rockland, Maine. He was 51 years old, and I was 14. He was paralyzed, confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He spent about a year in the hospital and rehab. When he came home, he required 24/7 care. He could no longer do most of the things he enjoyed, including gardening and cooking. He couldn’t play catch with me, and we could no longer, among other things, continue our annual hike to get a Christmas tree from the woods in back of our house. He developed complications from his wounds, requiring him to be hospitalized at Mass General, where he died almost exactly 10 years from the date he was shot. His death was ruled a homicide. A homicide. I miss him.
Although this all happened many years ago, it has had lasting impact on me and on our entire family. When I hear about a shooting, it can trigger painful memories. I understand the suddenness of a family’s loss and that their lives are forever changed. I find myself asking how and why this has happened again. It strengthens my resolve to continue fighting for gun safety laws that will help save other families from similar tragedies.