One word can make the difference of a lifetime. People don’t realize. I think people with past experience with violence should talk about it. Talk to family members and friends, because maybe there is something you can do. Maybe you recognize somebody going the same way you went, and you could help them out.
Come together as one
I think this whole family needs therapy, but they need to come together as one first. I went to church and this lady in church walked up to me, my mother, my sister, and my aunt, and said, “Y’all bicker too much. Y’all need to come together as one and bring the family back together.”
Bringing the family closer
Before my nephew passed away, his father and all the cousins weren’t close to us. Then he passed away and it’s like… it brings the family closer.
Keeping family close
Before this happened, everybody in my family was away in their own part of the country. The only time we came together was when we lost somebody. I guess as we’ve grown up, we’ve realized that we need to come close. We’re losing people we love, and we need to come together all the time, not just when somebody gets hurt or somebody dies.
My children taught me
My daughter was three years old. She’s my teacher. I didn’t know what to do, so my children taught me what to do. She helps me to be a better mother to her.
People should talk to each other and love each other more. Talking and communication makes wonders for your community. Sometimes you feel like you’re drowning inside, but if you talk to somebody you’re going to know it’ll be ok.
Talk to someone, really express yourself
There are a lot of places where you could go and talk to somebody; you don’t have to talk to a family member. It’s always nice to talk to someone, to be able to really express yourself. Let them know, let them see you cry. Take it all out. Until you do, it’s always going to be inside you, and that’s always going to hurt.
Asking for help
I asked somebody for help. I had a counselor, and my kids had a counselor, for five years. My family is fortunate to talk to someone about the experience.
Don’t hold on
Trust God, trust your instincts. Don’t hold onto the anger, let it go. For me, having that support…talking about it is the best way to get through it. Don’t hold on, you’ve got to let it go. If you don’t let it go you’re going to be sick. When you free yourself, you get a peace of mind and it makes you a better person. It really does.
We remember him happy
We want to remember him as that happy-go-lucky person, with that smile on his face.
Your baby doesn’t want you to take it as a tragedy. Whatever you had planned when he was still alive, you keep that going. If you planned to buy the house, go buy the house. And then in front of the house, if his favorite color was purple, you plant him a purple patch of flowers. Whatever you do, don’t stop your routine. He’s not going to rest if you’re just disorganized with what you’re doing.
Paying our respects
Don’t go to the cemetery every day. We pay our respects to him each month on the day he died, that’s when we all appear at the cemetery. On that day of the month, whatever he likes to eat, we cook it. If he liked to listen to Soulja Boy, listen to Soulja Boy. If he loved talking on the phone, do that. Don’t make his death a tragedy.
My son was killed before graduation, but I wanted to order a cap and gown. At graduation they acknowledged him, and they gave me his diploma.
Having a supportive community
I had a supportive community. I had people who allowed me to cry, to scream, to tell my story over and over, to have my pity parties, to rage, to just do everything that wasn’t pretty. But in the end they didn’t let me stay there.
Sharing the journey
My priest allowed me to get mad at God. When I decided to go back to work, someone trusted me and dealt with my calling in sick. All these different things that make up a life, people allow me. It’s not about telling people what to do, but sharing the journey.
I know sooner or later there will be something in my words that will change somebody. I feel good in myself, because I know instead of bringing more negative, violent things into the world, I’m bringing more positive things to the world. Making people see that there’s more things than violence. Life is beautiful.
It’s always going to be hard
It’s hard and it’s always going to be hard. It’s always going to hurt, because that family member is not there. But try to see what you could do to prevent it from happening to another family or another friend. My goal is to try to help somebody else. I don’t want a mother, sister, cousin, family member, to go through what we went through. Hopefully people who hear this will have a goal like that, too, and will keep on and on and someday there won’t be so much violence.
It’s bigger than you
You’ve got to pray. It’s bigger than you. Some things you can fix, but there’s going to be a lot of things that you can’t. You’ve just got to let it go, you have to learn to do these things.