Family members of victims killed during a murder or homicide are gathered for the 7th annual Maine Day of Remembrance.
Maine Chapter Leader for the Parents of Murdered Children, Arthur Jette, said “We’re just here for each other. Just like people are supposed to be anyway.”
There have been 17 homicides in Maine in 2013, two taking place over the past few days.
Maine Attorney General Janet Mills shared some statistics. “At least 4 of these killings were drug related. Six were acts of domestic violence. Children and infants killed by caretakers.”
Diane Gushee knows all about the pain. Her granddaughter, Ava, was killed in 2008 from blunt trauma to the head.
Ava’s father was convicted of domestic violence manslaughter.
“I remember her everyday. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. But it just feels like everybody in the room is in the same position as I am,” said Gushee.
Maine’s Chapter leader of the Parents of Murdered Children feels the burden too. Jette’s grandson was killed in 1999. He said “The taking of a human being’s life is something we are not wired as human beings to accept.”
Statistically, Maine may have one of the lowest homicide rates in the country, but for survivors at the event, it’s not about a number. It’s a name, a face, a memory.
“She was just beginning to smile and she loved to be outside so we used to go for walks here and there. She loved being outdoors,” said Gushee.
The survivors, tears and all, show their resilience by returning to the ceremony year after year.