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Stephanie Stone

In memory of Paul

Six years ago, on December 19, 2012, my 14-year-old son Paul was shot and killed. That morning, Paul and I followed our usual routine: We both got up around 5:30 a.m., I prepared him breakfast and then drove him to school. It was the last day before winter break, and school would be let out early. When we got to the school, Paul hopped out of the car, and we said our goodbyes.

That was the last time I saw my child alive. Because later that afternoon, a teenager from Paul’s school — with the help of his uncle and his uncle’s friend — bound, gagged and shot my child after robbing our home.

Paul was a great kid: He was the catcher for his baseball team and played football. He had an infectious personality and smile; he had big dreams for the future. At 14, he’d already decided he wanted to study Marine Biology at Florida State University! His friends still keep in touch with me, and we speak frequently. Each year on the anniversary of Paul’s death, I get together with his friends, and we celebrate his life. We try not to focus on the ugliness of his death. And while every day is difficult without Paul, I have two nephews named after him; so his name and legacy lives on. He also lives on through me and through the work that I am doing to end senseless gun violence in his honor. What keeps me going is knowing that the work I’m doing each day with Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety is changing lives and saving lives.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.