“All human life has its seasons, and no one’s personal chaos can be permanent: winter, after all does not last forever does it? There is summer, too, and spring, and though sometimes when branches stay dark and the earth cracks with ice, one thinks they will never come, that spring, that summer, but they do, and always." T.Capote
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Gail C's Story
“My parents were my backbone” – Albert and Patricia Carignan
Sixty-five year old Albert Carignan, a retired sheet metal worker, loved to sail with his oldest grandson, Raymond. His wife, Patricia, was famous for the cakes she decorated at Baskin and Robbins. The administered an apartment complex for senior citizens in Chula Vista and were tending to their duties on April 11, 2001, when they were shot and killed by a man who coveted another resident’s apartment. He also shot through the door of that apartment, killing the resident, and when the SWAT team arrived, he turned the gun on himself. Albert’s last thought before he died were of Patricia, as he begged the paramedics to save her life.
“My parents were my backbone.” Gail Carignan told the attendees at the vigil. Albert Carignan never missed an opportunity to spend time with Gail’s children, Rena, Raymond and Phillip. It has been especially hard for Raymond, as he and his grandfather were each other’s best friend. Although the family can never forget their loss, they have leaned on each other for strength throughout their year of mourning.
Holding on to what really matters
Proud that she has been able to make it through that first year, Gail pointed out that she was forced to discover strengths that she never knew she had. “I’m not just a victim of violent crime, but a survivor of violent crime.” She considers her parents’ death a “double-edged sword” that impelled her to seek hope and courage within her own heart.
Gail is grateful to the counselors who helped her at Survivors of Violent Loss, an organization dedicated to working with people who have experienced traumas such as hers , but her mainstays were here children and good friends who never deserted her, as well as her faith. “ I walked through this with God and with some sweet angels,” she said, “and the sweetest were Rena, Raymond, Phillip and Paul.”