Victims' families gather for National Day of Remembrance

Kimberly Kuizon reports

- For Erin O'Connor, the pain will never completely disappear. Erin is one of many who gathered in Sarasota Thursday evening to remember family during the National Day of Remembrance.

"It is never easy to say this one line: I am the daughter of Renee O'Conner and the granddaughter of Tom and Isabelle Moak, who were murdered back in February of 2012 by my uncle," she said. "It is a struggle day-to-day. Some days are better than others."

Those who gathered share a bond unlike any other. Some have lost children, others have lost siblings. Not many have walked in their shoes.

Erin said, it is through this group's support and guidance that she has been able to move forward.

"They have been able to guide me through the days that I don't want to continue on, the days I don't want to get out of bed," she said.

Helping the group are the deputies, officers and victim advocates who investigate and close the cases of their loved ones' deaths.

"It is important for people to understand they are not alone in their grief," said Concetta Holmes with the Child Protection Center and a volunteer victim advocate.

Holmes and others like her work to make sure each family member is never forgotten.

"Tonight also opens people up to connect to others they may not have met, that can understand the grief and the journey better than others who may have not gone through," said Holmes.

It is a journey many will never have to experience, and for those who gathered in Sarasota, it is one that has changed their lives forever. With one another's support, they will continue to heal.

"Today I walk away with honoring my loved ones. You know, they deserve to be honored everyday, but today is a special day when we all get together and get to honor our loved ones and cry together and support each other," said O'Connor. 

 App Store Get it on Google Play

  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories You May Be Interested In – includes Advertiser Stories