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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Valerie Burgest

In memory of Craig

On December 28, 2013, my son became something I had hoped he would never become – a statistic. On this day, my son, Craig Williams, was shot and killed by a still unknown assailant(s). Craig was my only son and my only child. He left behind to mourn not only me, but two children who were 11 months and 19 months, in addition to scores of other family. My life has changed profoundly since his murder. I can no longer go to the neighborhood where he was killed. His children will only know about him through stories of those who loved him.

Sometimes, the pain from the loss is unbearable, but I keep it moving. You see, I lost my child – my only child. There are so many places we used to go to together. Simple activities like going clothes shopping, playing games, going bowling. Birthday celebrations. My house full of his friends, filled with joy and laughter. All of these things and more are profoundly different today. I look back and it’s like a slideshow of his life, but these are the Moments/Memories That Survive. Nothing will ever be the same, and it is hard to find simple joy in so many daily activities. I became an Everytown Survivor Fellow, which has allowed me to raise Craig’s voice. Everytown has given me a platform so that others will get to know me and, through my voice, get to know Craig. I fight each and everyday so that another parent does not have to experience the devastation that comes from losing a child. I fight but in the words of Robert Frost, “I have miles to go before I sleep.”

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