On February 8, 2016, my mother was visiting her friend who had recently lost her husband. Strangers came into the house in the morning, while they were reading the newspaper and drinking coffee, and shot and killed them both. This will never be easy for my family, and it will never make sense. There are days when it seems that the earth has shattered and time has stopped.
My mother was Ruth Schwed, a beloved retired teacher and volunteer, as well as a loving mother, grandmother and wife. Beyond the horrible loss of my mother, this tragedy robbed me of a sense of security and safety that I will never again experience. I stand up every day and fight to feel normal.
We do not now, nor do we ever want Mom to be a statistic, or remembered for this horror. We want her to be remembered for the wonderful person she is and the amazing ways she contributed to so many in our community. Nothing will change that.
The only way I can combat this loss is to fight. I stand up and fight to make sure my mother is remembered as more than a statistic but is recognized for the wonderful loving mother, wife, grandmother and teacher that she was. I stand up and fight to protect other families from experiencing what my family and I have gone through.
I stand up and fight to hold legislators accountable for creating laws that close background check loopholes.
I stand up and fight to work with elected officials to find new ways to prevent gun violence. You never believe this will happen to you until it does. Please know I am fighting in the hope that you will never have to know the effect of gun violence.
It is unfathomable to me now as the day I found out, and it always will be. I have learned that this pain is now part of my DNA – my makeup, my daily existence.
Lives will be saved by common-sense solutions such as background checks on all gun sales. My 75-year-old mother’s killer purchased the gun on Craigslist online. Why is it harder to get Sudafed in some states than it is to buy a gun? No one should have to endure the pain my family has experienced.