In August, 1983, Erin, my stepdaughter, a daughter, sister, aunt, and friend chose to leave her abusive marriage. She was just 21 and like so many other young women her age, Erin lacked the skills, education and resources to be able to support her young family.
Erin moved in with her sister while our family tried to find ways to assist her. Two weeks later Erin’s son, Joey, was ill and in need of a ride to the pediatrician. She called her husband, the child’s father, and asked if he could drive them to the appointment. They did not make it to the doctor’s office. Erin and her two children, three year old Brittany and five month old Joey, died from multiple gunshot wounds fired by Erin’s husband who then committed suicide.
In that moment of insanity, a hole was torn in the soul of our family that remains so gaping that we still have difficulty breathing int eh month of August. However, it led to our passionate commitment to assist families, like Erin’s, who are fleeing domestic violence with little or no resources – often merely the clothes on their backs.
I so wish there had been a foundation, such as ours, offering support for Erin back in 1983. Perhaps Erin’s story would have had a different ending.