My mom finally shared her story last year on her 60th birthday. I spent my childhood studying her scars and learning how she got them when I turned 18. The ripple of gun violence runs long and deep. In this moment, I lost my family.
“On July 13, 1978, I had just turned 19 years old, and my daughter, Stephanie, had just celebrated her first birthday a week earlier. I was so very young and found myself in an abusive relationship. That morning, I made a horrible decision to stand up for myself. It didn’t end well for me, as you see so many times on the news every night. I ended up on the sidewalk out front of our apartment, shattered and bleeding. I had been shot in the back with a 12-gauge shotgun with 00 shells. I got all eight of them; they tore through me, and some even went through the metal of my car as I was running. Luckily paramedics were able to sustain me on a quick ride to Phoenix Baptist Hospital, where I remained for over four months and many, many surgeries.”