SAN ANTONIO — The holidays can be tough for some, especially if they are missing a loved one from an act of violence. Some grieving families are leaning on one another to get by.
It's not getting any easier for Tamara Maldonado.
"People often say that time heals all wounds, but to me, it's another year without him, another birthday without him," Maldonado said.
Her brother, John, was murdered eight years ago. His case remains unsolved.
"He had been shot in his apartment," Maldonado said. "He passed away two weeks before Thanksgiving. So you can imagine how the holidays, they're not so festive for us."
On Sunday, Maldonado was surrounded by dozens of people who understand her pain. They were brought together by Terry Salazar.
Salazar's son, Abel, was killed three years ago. Some days, it's still tough for her to get out of bed.
"As a mother, I'm always going to miss my son," Salazar said. "The holidays is not the holidays anymore because there's that one person missing."
Salazar started God Sees Your Tears ministry in Abel's memory. During the holidays, they meet up like any other family would. This year, it was at Kingsborough Baptist Church, where they grieved and celebrated the lives of their loved ones.
"How many other mothers are out there? How many other siblings are out there? Why not come and bring them all together, because together we are stronger," Salazar said.
Maldonado said some of the people are strangers to her, but she finds comfort in sitting beside someone who knows what she's going through. "After my brother was murdered, we've never been the same. A piece of our hearts were taken with him," she said. "It's very important to have these gatherings, just to let each other know we're not alone."
Losing someone you love changes you. Salazar just wants people to know there is life after heartbreak.
"I've only survived because of God," she said. "My prayer is that they will find hope, that they will find peace."
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