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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Terrie Alvarez

My husband, Phillip Kerrigan, had been one of my closest and dearest friends for a few years. He was in the Navy, stationed at the Brunswick Naval Air Station in Brunswick, Maine. Eventually he was discharged and moved to Maryland. I really missed him very much after he left. I eventually moved to Boston, and somehow he tracked me down a few years later. I was so very happy to hear from him again. We met, had dinner and I knew then that he was the person for me.

We got married shortly, and I moved to Maryland. When I got pregnant with our second child, Phillip got a job at Sherwin Williams in Riverdale. On November 9, 1969, I was six months pregnant, and Phillip’s boss asked him to come in for a few hours— I came home from work and Phillip was not home, which was strange since I had the car (we only had one car). I tried to call Sherwin Williams to see if, perhaps, he had worked longer hours, but the line was always busy and I could not get through. A short time later, as I was getting my daughter ready to drive to Sherwin Williams, I heard a knock on the door and opened the door to find a police officer and another gentleman who introduced himself a Catholic priest. The officer told me that there had been an accident, and I remember telling him that this could not be since I had the car. They finally told me that Phillip had been shot during an armed robbery and had died on the way to the hospital. All I remember is that I wanted to run as fast as I could because if I did run this did not happen. The next few days were a blur.

After the funeral, I ended moving back to Maine, where my family was, until my son was born. That was the hardest time of my life. I needed to work, but having a sitter for two children would take my entire paycheck. When my son was a year and a half, I moved back to Maryland, since the job prospects and salaries were better than in Maine. My son had a very hard time not knowing his father. When other children would ask him where his father was, he would tell them that his parents were divorced. Later on, he told me that if he told them his dad died, he would have to say how he died, and that was too painful for him.

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