Support group helps moms who lost kids to violence

April 30, 2010 7:47:42 PM PDT
The seemingly endless tide of violence washing over so many Bay Area communities has devastated so many families. A support group is helping shattered families cope; it's one of mothers supporting each other during the worst times of their lives.

"I don't want no mother to feel what I feel," says Bessie Lyons.

They call themselves "A Mother's Cry" -- a group of women, mostly from Richmond, who've lost children to gun violence.

"I told them, I wished that was me, instead of my son lying down on that ground," says Lyons.

A Mother's Cry was founded by Lyons. Her son Thomas was gunned down at a Richmond bus stop in 2006.

"I was going through so much. I stayed in bed for two months, didn't take no bath, I couldn't do nothing," says Lyons.

Lyons couldn't pull herself out of her grief, which turned into a deep depression. But finally, she figured out a way to make sure Thomas didn't die in vain.

"I can't think about my son right now, because my son is gone. I can't think about that... my mind right now is on these other kids who are out on these streets. My mind is focused on them," said Lyons.

"Where are they coming from, these big guns? Where are they coming from?" asks Rose Carson, a victim's grandmother.

Lyons' group has grown as the cycle of violence explodes in Richmond.

"I got a call from my sister-in-law that my son had been shot," says Carolyn Carson.

Carolyn's 22-year-old son, Jamario Washington, was shot and killed while walking down a Richmond street eight years ago.

"What people fail to understand is this carries on forever. You know, and you need somebody, and you just might be the person that somebody else needs," says Carolyn. "We all need somebody to lean on."

Each time someone's child dies in Richmond and surrounding communities, Lyons reaches out to that family. A Mother's Cry offers everything from help with funeral arrangements and family meals, to long-term support that's as simple as a hug or a smile.

"You've got somebody else to lean on besides your family. There's a lot of people you can go to and tell things that you wouldn't tell your family, so I think this group is good...yeah," says Rose.

In two and a half years, A Mother's Cry has grown to 96 members. Lyons would be happy if that number stayed right where it is.

"I wish it would stop, I wish it would stop," says Lyons.

A Mother's Cry is a club no one ever hopes to join, but one these women wouldn't live without.


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