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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Vicki Hammond Gee

In memory of my grandfather

My paternal grandfather was my best friend growing up, and I could see his house from our farmhouse. He fed me, taught me WW1 songs, how to play cards, gave me a place to escape a younger sister and would rock on the front porch with me for hours. He also had handguns hidden in various places in his house. I knew where they were and I never touched them. But when my best friend had a traumatic brain injury from a car wreck, he became a different man. His terrible injury and resulting major surgery caused a dramatic personality change; he was paranoid and at times psychotic.

I had just left for college and my best friend attempted to murder the most wonderful man ever in my life… my father… his only son. The whole family had grave concerns about his guns, but back in the ’60s in a small Midwest farm community, there were no options for taking weapons away from someone. It’s why I work for common-sense gun laws. My best friend was taken and locked away and shattered our family.

My best friend died a lonely and confused death years later. My Dad’s heart was broken but lived to be the best Grandpa my kids would ever have…

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.

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