By Nicole S. Daniel
The Birmingham Times
This is another installment in The Birmingham Times/AL.com/CBS42 joint series “Beyond the Violence: What can be done to address Birmingham’s rising homicide rate.” Sign up for the newsletter here.
Joining with other mothers who have lost loved ones serves a number of purposes including giving parents a voice, said Freida Truss, who lost her 37-year-old son, Antwon, in April 2022, to a shooting.
“We don’t have a voice to be heard … when we need to be heard. By us going out and being active in the community allows us to have a voice. We have to have a voice to help other mothers and to try to curb gun violence. We want to know what’s really going on? What’s causing all of this? “Truss said.
Truss didn’t learn her son was deceased until eight hours after the shooting in his Ensley home during an altercation with his girlfriend at the time, according to Birmingham Police Department. After receiving the phone call about her son she remembers feeling numb.
“I could have passed out,” she said. “I told the coroners ‘you’re lying not my child. I just talk to my son and he was fine last night. I couldn’t understand what could have possibly happened at one o’clock in the morning.” said Truss.
Truss said she believes there’s a disconnect somewhere between the community and homes which ultimately has been leading to gun violence.
“Homicides are increasing. Every day I hear something about gun violence and it breaks my heart because I’m a mother that has gone through that,” said Truss.
“Mother’s Day (May 14), this year will be a complete lost and a disconnect because I don’t have my son and I know he is not coming back,” Truss said. “My heart is just shattered and broken, I don’t have any closure and that’s something I have to deal with for the rest of my life. There is a complete emptiness.”
Since the death of her son Truss has networked with mothers who have lost a child to gun violence through What About Us, a Birmingham-based nonprofit organization that provides support services for those who have experienced the loss of a child.
“I’m networking a lot because I wanted to become active to prevent some mothers from going through what I’m going through and even though I know they are because I’ve talked to several of them,” she said. “Prayer and this group is what keep me going. I can talk to other mothers at any time. They are always a listening ear.”
Besides the group and counseling, Truss said she copes with her son’s death with a lot of prayer and advises other parents who have lost a loved one “keep holding on to God’s hand because he has the last say so. That’s the only thing that can get us through this right now.”
For a CBS42 report on this Beyond The Violence installment tap this link Beyond the Violence: Mothers helping grieving mothers find their voice this Mother’s Day (cbs42.com)
Previous installments of the series: