Malone’s family shares story of perseverance and faith four years after tragedy
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Standing in front of a headstone at the Lincoln Memorial Cemetery that reads Tasmia Allen and Toya Smith, senior Storm Malone recalls the eventful night when both his mother and his sister’s lives were cut short by a domestic violence shooting nearly four years ago. He is visiting the grave just days after his mother’s birthday sharing the moment with a small group of his family. As Malone stands at the foot of the grave looking into the setting sun he talks to his mother and sister as he and his family do regularly. Conversations include where he is in his life and what he remembers about them prior to that tragic day.
“If I could see them I would say if they were right here ‘it’s so good to see y’all I miss y’all so much’,” Malone said. “At that point I would be thinking ‘all this was fake I know y’all were still here’. I would be so happy.”
Over the struggles of the past few years Malone has been through several surgeries to repair the damage to his body. Through every surgery he is reminded of the day he was shot and lived to tell his story. He said he is only able to get through every surgery, therapy session and visits to graveside with his family and friends gathered around him.
“As you can see here at the grave today I have a really big support system,” Malone said. “When I’m feeling down my whole family gathers around me and lifts me up.”
With that tragic night only in the short distance, Malone said he still gets through his days thinking about his good memories with his mother and sister.
“My mother was a great woman,” Malone said. “It’s just so surreal standing here thinking about it. She was THE mother. She loved everybody and had no differences. She just wanted to pull the greatness out of everyone. She saw no bad.”
Malone said he remembers his sister as one who always encouraged him to finish school and pursue his dreams.
“She was a great big sister,” Malone said. “Mia was always defending me. I was able to ask her anything and she would give me her honest opinion and help me get through it.”
With recovery comes the acceptance of the loss of that night, which is still a battle everyday for the family.
“An everyday obstacle really is just accepting life without Storm’s mom and his sister. We have to accept that they would want him to live,” Malone’s aunt and his mother’s sister Sheritha Smith said. “That was her saying as noted on the headstone ‘Live. Laugh. Love.’
Smith too remembers Malone’s mother as the perfect example of living life to the fullest in every moment.
“She would always say you’ve got to live your life. She would tell Storm that all the time,” Smith said. “Storm if your mom could speak it verbally that’s what she would tell you. Live your life.”
Malone’s grandmother/guardian Lurlean Smith goes on to explain the difficult days that followed the tragic incident four years ago.
“The first two years it was hard for Storm to understand that his mom and sister were not coming back and that’s because he was so ill,” Lurlean Smith said. “It was just hard for him to understand. We constantly prayed and talked to him. We would tell him to talk to God which he does a lot. We just get through it a day at a time.”
Although Malone has improved both physically and mentally his family said he still has insecurities which he is learning to push through.
“Storm just turned 18 years old and there are still things that he can’t do that we as able bodied people take for granted,” Lurlean Smith said. “He can’t tie his shoes, he has no use of the left hand or the left arm and now that he’s getting older he’s more conscious of it.
Storm’s grandmother said although Storm is embarrassed sometimes about the basic things he can and cannot do for himself, the family keeps encouraging him.
“I tell that if people can’t accept him for the way he is they don’t need to be in his life anyway,” Lurlean Smith said. “So he’s beginning to get comfortable with that and accept that this is real. This is it.”
Although his sister and mother lost their lives that day in the shooting, Storm’s family said they are happy to have he and his older brother Tasman Smith still in their lives today.
“Storm is just a miracle body that God saved and He’s just putting him back together as best as He can,” Lurlean Smith said. “This is so Storm can go on with life and tell God how good He’s been to him.”
Even with the every day struggles Malone’s family said he will get through everything and they have seen him grow stronger and stronger through what was a tragic event.
“Storm has always been a warrior,” Sheritha Smith said. “We would always say he’s little but he has heart. He’s a warrior and this has multiplied that times a million.”
Malone’s family admits they want nothing but the best and hope someday he achieves his goals in life.
“He always says he just wants to live a normal 18 year old life and that’s what I wish for him,” Sheritha Smith said. “I just want him to be able deal with or cope with the cause that he’s been dealt and make the best of it. Because he has a great great life ahead of him.”
With a constant reminder of that night, Malone and his family all agree to take life as it is and try their hardest to get through every obstacle together.
“We just take it one day at a time. When things happen to you like this they don’t go away, they stay with you forever,” Lurlean Smith said. “We have Storm to remind us of what happened to us. Everyday we wake up, even though he’s getting better, it reminds us of what somebody did to him. But we pray and we move on.”
With every passing day Malone said he chooses to do better than the day before for his mother and his sister.
“My goal everyday is to get better,” Malone said. “My motivation is do everything I can for my sister since she didn’t get to do it. I also want to make my mom proud.”
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