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On November 2, 2012, I was having dinner with friends and my new boyfriend to celebrate my 40th birthday. Two days later, however, I received a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize; something inside me said I should answer it. I received the horrific news that my ex-boyfriend, with whom I had broken up a few months prior, had died by gun suicide on my birthday. It was a moment I’ll never forget, and one that literally brought me to my knees. He had once briefly told me that he had a gun, but like everything else with us, I turned a blind eye and never probed further for more details.

While I knew this wasn’t my fault, I also couldn’t deny that the date of his death was chosen for a reason. I still, to this day, have nightmares that this was all a bad dream or a cruel joke. It has been difficult to celebrate my birthday since then without remembering what happened.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.