Age 16 , Illinois
My daughter Tyesa was sixteen when she was killed by a stray bullet. She was my eldest child and was an amazing role model for her two younger sisters. She always wanted to help everyone and make others feel loved. She was well liked at school and an All-American student. Her senior year of high school, she decided she wanted to be a nurse and enrolled in college to begin her courses the following Fall.
I thought I was doing everything right as a mother. I did whatever I could to protect my children. I didn’t let Tyesa travel into the city on her own and was careful about who her friends were.
She had been working really hard in school and, as a reward, I let her go to a movie premier on the north side of the city to show her that I trusted her. But that night, I was reminded that it wasn’t her that I had to worry about, but rather the violence of others. As Tyesa was coming out of the theater, she was struck in the head by a random bullet fired by a 14-year-old who was fighting with another youth while waiting in line.
Tyesa was my rock. When times were tough, even though she was just a child, she was always the one that reminded me that we’d be okay. It has been years since Tyesa left us – and I have to say, it doesn’t get easier. Everyday I miss her more than the one before.