We met on the beach in Waikiki. We were opposites in so many ways. The obvious was that he was big, blond and intimidating. I was petite and puzzled as to why this guy was so adorably nervous.
We were a popular couple. When he got stranded in Seattle I followed him, and again, we were a popular couple. Then, the man I loved for many years went into a downward spiral. All my friends could tell he was getting more disturbed. I did my best, but he left me. Six months later he came back into my life with a gun he had just purchased the day before. In a store full of people, he ranted and raved, shooting at me until the police arrived and ended his life.
I found out later he had left a suicide note. I was shot five times.
It was December 20, 1992. I have struggled to make sense of it all. Christmas is especially hard on me. Christmas lights flashing, music playing — all of that going on while I was being shot. I have struggled for so long but found help from other survivors. I now have HOPE.