DEAR ABBY: My daughter, Amy Locicero Federici, was the sixth victim of the Long Island Railroad Massacre of Dec. 7, 1993.
Abby, we all suffer when a loved one is taken. We are never the same again. The murder of my daughter changed my life and that of every member of our family.
A dear friend of mine, Marie Patella, who, like myself, is a teacher, wrote the protest against guns that I'm sending you. I hope that you will print it. -- ARLENE J. LOCICERO, AMY'S MOM, HAWTHORNE, N.J.
DEAR ARLENE: Please accept my deepest sympathy for the tragic death of your daughter Amy. The essay your friend wrote is chilling, dramatic, and carries a message that needs to be heard. I'm pleased to share it:
I am a gun victim.
I have never been shot. Or shot at.
I have not had a spouse, child, parent or sibling shot.
But I am a gun victim.
Were you ever with a mother when she received word that her child had been shot on a train? I was.
Five years later, can you still hear that mother's scream? I can.
Did you ever race 40 miles to a hospital with parents whose child was dying from a gunshot wound? I did.
Each time you come upon a scene where the news was received, does your mind bring it all back? Mine does.
Did you ever watch a mother caress the fingers and lovely black curls of her dying child? I did.
If this same mother were your beloved friend, would you have felt your heart break? I did.
Did you ever spend five days gazing at the beautiful dying child who once brought a daily smile and an understanding heart to your classroom? I did.
Can you imagine how it would feel to make a presentation to the teachers at the school where you and your dear friend teach, informing them of what is happening at that hospital 40 miles away? I can.
Do you know anyone who buried a sobbing face in her hands in the podium because she couldn't make it through the staff presentations? I do.
Do you know how she felt when, after a 30-second eternity, she lifted her head once again -- only to be greeted by 50 wet faces? I do.
Do you ever ride in a car with your beloved friend and pretend you don't hear her cry when a train passes by? I do.
Do you ever need to hold your friend because bad days bring sobs? I do.
Does the smiling photograph of a murdered dear one greet you each day? It does me.
Will your dreams always be haunted by the events of a week in December, 1993? Mine will.
Because I am a gun victim.