Vigil for domestic violence victims

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October 1st, 2010

As the sun sank behind the hills surrounding Stinson Park, friends, family members and even strangers shared laughs and sorrows on a night meant to remember those lost to domestic abuse. It was the 15th annual candlelight vigil for domestic violence awareness. And as pamphlets were distributed, three large words in bold, black font stood out on the front pages: Remember, Reclaim and Renew. For guest speaker Kay Sheinost, however, the ability to reclaim and renew came too late and at too high a cost, when her daughter was shot and killed in 1998 by her ex-husband.

“I thought, I’ll talk to her tomorrow,” she said. “The next day, I got the news that she’d been shot. So I didn’t get that last hug … I couldn’t tell her I loved her, because she was gone. Her ex-husband of one week made that choice to take her life, a choice that can never be changed.”

Sheinost said her faith and the ability to work with the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council to help other women in need has taken a weight off her shoulders, and helped her to forgive.

“I have forgiven him,” she said. “It’s taken a few years, but I have.” Now, she said, “I do laugh, I do smile, but I still cry. If I didn’t have my other kids, I don’t know what I would do. If I didn’t have the domestic violence council to let me share my story, hoping that’ll help other women survive … that’s why I keep doing this.”

With darkness approaching, and the sound of children running and playing from the outskirts of the park, a small cluster of candles was lit near the podium to commemorate loved ones lost, but not forgotten. Native American singer Carolyn Fiscus asked everyone in attendance to say a prayer, whatever their religion may be, for the souls of those who had been, or would be, victims of domestic violence.

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