Unfortunately, I can't tell you a lot about my mom because she was just 27 years old when she completed suicide with a gun. I was not even two years old, so I don't remember anything about her. I don't know what her voice sounds like. I don't know what it's like to have my own mother tell me that she loves me, or that she's proud of me. I was robbed of those special moments. A bullet stole her from me.
She took the gun that my grandfather had given her for self-defense. My grandfather had taken her to the target range and taught her how to shoot it. She pulled the trigger and, I often tell people, she killed the both of us.
All of this pain could have been avoided if my mom didn't have easy access to a gun. The statistics will tell you that you're more likely to use that gun on yourself or on someone you love than on an assailant. My mom is proof of that.
Gun suicide is something that happens far too frequently. We need to make sure guns are safely secured or guns are out of the house completely so that a person in crisis doesn’t have access.
There are so many people that I've come across, especially in the space of gun suicide, that don’t know how to talk about this issue. It’s okay to seek out help. Whether it's calling a friend or someone else, making that first step can help the moment of crisis subside. When you have someone who cares about you sitting there with you, it's easier to get through that moment.
I believe in safe gun storage, not just because of mental health but also because of child access. We should make sure that guns are only being operated by those who should be operating them and keep them safe.
When we have 63 gun suicides a day, the question becomes: what did you do to help to make sure that doesn’t happen on your doorstep, or your neighbor’s doorstep, or to someone down the street?
And that's what's important. Working together to make sure that not a single person has to walk for a second, in my shoes.