When I first met Christie Adams, she looked more like a college student than a grown woman. She was petite, wearing a sweatshirt and jeans, reading on the couch.
But as I looked around the room at the mementos she had saved from her 3-year-old son Jesse – T-shirts, a blanket, stuffed animals, photos – I realized that she was wise beyond her years. Christie has lived through every parent’s nightmare – the loss of a child.
Her quiet strength began to bristle beneath the calm retelling of her story. It became clear to me that she has a purpose now, a meaning that is bigger than herself. Despite her profound grief, Christie has a message that she wants and needs to share with the world. She wants people to recognize the signs of domestic violence.
“At least I got to tell him I loved him,” she said of her last phone conversation with her son.
This sent a chill up my spine. As a parent, I left her house wondering how she gets up every day and carries on. Part of the reason is that she has two other children. The other part is that she wants people to think differently, to truly understand domestic violence, to help stop it. I’m convinced people like Christie Adams are the key to turning the tide, to changing minds and hearts. I hope I live long enough to see it.
If you know someone who needs help, please watch Christie's full story and our special station effort Monday at 5 p.m. on WRAL-TV. Counselors will be on hand to answer your questions, by phone and online, from 5 to 7 p.m. Everything is free and completely confidential.