My Best Friend’s Funeral – A Victim of Domestic Violence
Posted on June 13, 2011
(FINAL COURT DATE DETAILS CAN BE FOUND HERE – April 16th, 2014)
(UPDATED DETAILS CAN BE FOUND HERE INTHIS POST. – JULY14, 2011)
I’ve been wanting to write about this past week… about the Funeral for my best friend, Shannon. She was like a sister to me. But I’ve been at a loss for words. My heart was too heavy to even attempt to write… and I also just didn’t want to at the same time…
the reality sets in when you write something out…and see the words together. I suppose I wasn’t ready yet for it all to seem so real.
I didn’t want to write certain words when I first found out. I didn’t want to write her name in past tense. I didn’t want to write murdered or shot. I didn’t want to write how she had died..any of the horrific details that seemed out of a horrible movie that I would never go and see.
But last night I kept thinking how Shannon would want me to live… and everything she did, she did deeply. She loved deeply. She felt happiness deeply. She loved her God and faith deeply. She forgave deeply. I want to be like her… I want others to know about shannon and her story….. -The system failed her… and I pray that her story makes people aware of the incredible flaws in our system and motivates them to make a change! a change to save lives that would otherwise be lost to domestic violence. -I write this to make people aware of the victims so close to us..1 in 3 women are affected by Domestic Violence. I pray that more of us would reach out to help.. -I write this that people would join me in praying for peace in our communities, our families, ourselves and our world. – I write this for healing..for myself and for all mourning the loss of our beautiful Shannon. – I write this for strength to forgive. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
On Jan. 31, Shannon Lawrence asked the Forsyth County Superior Court for a temporary protective order against Christopher Erdman, her ex-boyfriend and father of her two children. As part of that petition, which was granted but later dismissed, she typed the words on page 3 of the PDF.
“A man was arrested Sunday after police said he shot the mother of his two children four times during a custody swap, then drove all three to his father’s house in Cumming. Mr. Christopher Erdman, 25, of Cumming, was in the Fulton County jail Monday charged with murder in the death of Ms. Shannon Lawrence, 25, of Canton, Milton police Capt. Shawn McCarty said. Ms. Lawrence was shot about 2 p.m. while her two children, 2 and 9-months-old, waited nearby, Capt. McCarty said. It was supposed to be a routine custody swap, something they did almost every other week. But investigators said Mr. Erdman changed the place where they normally meet to a shopping center across the street on Birmingham Highway. No one reportedly witnessed the man and woman arguing in the parking lot at 15780 Birmingham Hwy., and police don’t know why they were arguing. Then the man pulled out a gun, shooting the woman twice in the face and twice in the body, Capt. McCarty said. Investigators said Mr. Erdman placed the woman into his pickup truck along with his two children and drove 10 miles to his father’s house in Cumming. The children were left with a grandparent and Mr. Erdman’s father drove his son’s truck to Northside Hospital-Forsyth, about three miles away. Police weren’t sure how long Ms. Lawrence was dead before the three got to the hospital. Hospital staff called police who arrested Mr. Erdman shortly after 3 p.m. Police later found the gun they believe was used in the shooting at Mr. Erdman’s father’s house, Capt. McCarty said. He did not readily know the type of gun used. The two children have been placed with relatives until the state decides who should get custody. Ms. Lawrence’s mother, Ms. Diana Macksey, said her daughter was attending Kennesaw State University and planned to enter the school’s nursing program. Ms. Macksey told WSB-TV that Ms. Lawrence had a protective order against Mr. Erdman and the child custody exchanges were supposed to be supervised. She told the station that Ms. Lawrence and Mr. Erdman had planned to meet in a Publix parking lot, but at the last minute, he changed the location to a more secluded lot at the Wells Fargo bank in the shopping center. Capt. McCarty confirmed the last-minute change, but said he did not know why it was made. “Typically, they met at another shopping center across the street,” Capt. McCarty said. But, investigators can’t say if the shooting was planned. Ms. Macksey described her daughter as “the most beautiful, kind, loving soul.” (Kimathi Lewis of www.examiner.com)
The executive director of the Cherokee Family Violence Center, Meg Rogers, pored over the court files of Shannon Lawrence…..““We could not have asked for anybody to have done more than what it looks like she did. This woman was really let down by the system.” The death of Lawrence–one of several deadly incidents blamed on domestic violence across metro Atlanta this past weekend–has prompted the Cherokee Family Violence Center to call for a discussion with judges, prosecutors and law enforcement about ways to better protect victims of domestic violence.” – Three Fridays ago, Lawrence told the Cherokee County Superior Court that she feared for her safety. Under the protective order, the consequences are more severe and Erdman would have been arrested for aggravated stalking. But with the consent restraining order, Erdman was just summoned to appear before Cherokee County Superior Court Judge Anthony Baker on June 15 – next Wednesday. It wasn’t the only missed opportunity authorities had to protect Lawrence, Rogers said. Baker gave Erdman, who served Lawrence with paternity papers in January, “liberal” visitation with the couple’s children on the same day the consent restraining order went into effect. “I mean this man, according to Shannon’s petition, was sending a 100 emails, stalking her, violating orders, had access to guns, had a concealed weapons permit,” Roger said. “We certainly want to look at our protocol in Cherokee County, at the way abusers can use the judicial system to gain access to victims.” “Where I see where the system really confused this issue is treating this just like any normal civil case,” she said. “Almost ignoring the domestic violence and the stalking.”“ – Rodney Thrashcanton-ga.patch.com
My prayer is that changes will be made to protect innocent life from the effects of Domestic Violence. And it is without a doubt in our minds that Shannon has forgiven Chris. Two days before this happened she told a friend that she had been praying for him..that we should all pray for him. One of the most amazing things about Shannon… even with all of the struggles with Chris, she never once talked to me about him with hate..maybe fear..but she was more focused on being a protective mother..not being a woman filled with hate. She, incredibly, could see the good even in Chris till the very end. She had the most incredible heart…everything she ever did she did for others..even up to the last moment of her life..picking them up there, she gave her life for those kids.
Hundreds of us were at Shannon’s Funeral. People overflowed the 700-seat Church. It was filled with people young and old who loved and were loved by shannon. photos by canton-ga.patch.com It was very emotional. even the priest had trouble keeping from crying. The Priest (Shannon’s Pastor) spoke beautifully and shared with us in our sadness. “Today,” he told the crowd, “we say goodbye, for now….” “In all my years as a priest, I’ve never known anything as horrific as this,” “No words can express our deep sadness for the tragic loss of Shannon.” He addressed the questions so many of us were thinking… Why did God allow this to happen? Where was God when this happened? He was right there…in Shannon. I’m sad for the dreams we had dreamt together that will never happen. But even with her gone she is going to change the world. Her dreams will live on through her two babies. The music during the funeral was so beautiful..it sounded like heaven..it made me think of her there. and even though that made me happy..it made me cry. The photos of shannon from our wedding were enlarged and used at her visitation and funeral….i’m so glad we have them. It makes me smile remembering how much fun we all were having together. Walking into the Funeral Home for the visitation, I was sick to my stomache…overwhelmed with grief. I wanted to run in and at the same time could barely get out of the car. Before going to the funeral…I could only picture shannon hurting and in the back of the truck. I couldn’t get that image out of my head.. but during the funeral and burial..I was able to realize that that is where her body was..but SHE was not there. she was somewhere far better…at peace. happy. Christ kept his promise, and came to take her to Himself. and that gave me so much consolation. During the Funeral Mass..we prayed the Our Father..and in that prayer you say “and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us..” I thought about not saying those words…but then I remembered shannon’s amazing heart..and how she would forgive..and I cried and said the prayer..” I thought going to the funeral, I would do my best to console her parents..but in reality they were the ones who consoled me. their faith was amazing to witness. I had brought each of her parents a small album of photos and the cd of the originals. Her mother looked at the photo of her daughter’s hands and cried with a smile “I don’t have a photo of her hands…” My heart breaks for them..and I will continue to pray for them every day. That all who love and miss her will feel God’s healing love and our angel shannon’s presence. Please join me in praying for her family.. especially for her two little babies..emma and peter. If you would like to make a donation to the children..click here. It would mean so much to me if you would give something..anything..
“She lies here today because of hate.
She lives in our hearts because of love.
Embrace love because only love can
heal the hurt we feel today.” – Justin Lawrence
I didn’t want to leave her side..
and waited till the very end.
Rest in peace sweet Shannon.
I made a video this morning in honor of Shannon.. to remember her. to heal. to celebrate her. I am horrible about checking voice mails…but the day after we lost shannon I was going through my messages and suddenly I heard her voice. I didn’t even have a missed call from her! She had called me thursday to make plans.. she was going to drive to charlotte to see us when we came into town in a couple weeks.. I am so thankful for the blessing of hearing her voice one last time…
(My mom took these at her Visitation.. and at first I couldn’t bare to look..but now I cherish those last moments.)
I know i’ll be sad for a while..
I haven’t been sleeping much…didn’t know the exact reasoning behind not sleeping… you would think I would want to sleep so I wouldn’t think of losing her for that chunk of time. but the other morning I went back and took a nap for the first time since finding out…..
and when I woke up I realized why I hadn’t wanted to sleep…
I get a wierd sensation that it was all just a horrible dream and then realize, it wasn’t.
I’m just trying to take it day by day..focus on my family.. love on them a little more. I know all the ways to view this tragic loss in my head..but letting it go to my heart is another thing.
Does that make sense??
She was such a beautiful person..inside and out..
and I thank Jesus for the gift of Shannon Lawrence in my life. You will be missed..but not forgotten. And I can’t wait for the day that I get to see you again..but for now you will watch me from above and be my angel. I have been searching high and low for this video of shannon from back in high school! I made this for her and all our friends as a Christmas Present back in 2003. I thought I would cry during it… but my heart is just so happy that I have this to remember her. it’s a long video.. but minute 3:42 has our awesome-ly girly hand shake… SO HAPPY I have that on video..we were ridiculous. :) I love you shannon! we all love you. I will cherish these memories forever. shannon you will always be remembered.
To read all posts related to Shannon you can click here. Please share her story..donate if you can. If you have been touched by her story and would like to visit her Memorial Page you can visit here.
Please Pray for peace in our world and for all those affected by Domestic Violence.