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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Thomas’ Mom

In memory of Thomas James Schowalter

My bright, funny, handsome, athletic 15-year-old son gained access to a handgun in the home during a period of anxiety, in the days prior to the start of 11th grade. The gun was locked in a safe, with the bullets and instructions next to it. The numbers to the combination for the safe were encoded and written on the back of the safe. Thomas figured out the code, entered the correct combination, opened the safe and found everything he needed to end his life in a split second, right there in front of him. It was all too easy.

Handguns DO NOT belong in the home. I knew it all along. I gave in for the sake of the marriage. I now no longer have my precious son OR the marriage. I should have stood my ground.

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