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

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Ruthanne Lodato

In memory of Ruthanne Lodato

I was a junior in college, studying abroad in Switzerland, when I received word that I needed to call home immediately. It would be the worst phone call of my life. I was told that my mom was murdered at our home in Alexandria, when she answered the front door. It seemed so impossible that my mom, a music teacher and church organist, could be killed randomly in our safe neighborhood.

The last time I saw my mom was at the airport, a month earlier. I had cried while saying goodbye, and she had told me not to worry—that I would have the time of my life, and that she and my dad would be over to visit soon. The planned visit in March never happened. My mom didn’t get to see me graduate from college, see my sister get married, or meet her four grandchildren. She won’t be here to see me get married or have kids one day. She won’t grow old with my dad, like she was supposed to. Senseless gun violence stole her from us. I miss her every single day.

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