My first encounter with gun violence was in the 1980s, when my cousin in Denver was murdered in a robbery at the pharmacy he owned. He had told me a few years before that he knew he would die by gun.
In Texas, my sister’s abusive husband stockpiled guns under their bed—and this was in a home with a small child. Upon his release from jail for spousal abuse, he was allowed to keep all of the guns in the house. My sister was lucky and escaped with her life.
In 2004, my brother successfully killed himself with a gun he had inherited from our grandfather. It was his second attempt in 10 years. The first time, a friend was able to take the gun away from him.
My husband of 27 years, killed himself with a shotgun in 2019. He was struggling with career failure and related depression.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center found that children who are under 18 when their parents commit suicide are three times as likely as children with living parents to later commit suicide themselves. Our son was 22. He has not mentioned his father since.