Missing Tony McCoy Jr.: Sandra Cole remembers her son who was slain in Chicago

Sandra Cole
Sandra Cole (Photo credit: Eddy “Precise” Lamarre)

Tony McCoy Jr. (May 3, 1991  to July 16, 2011) was a victim of gun violence. He was gunned down on the 1100 block of East 47th Street, yards from his Kenwood neighborhood home after being shot in broad daylight.

Sandra Cole is a member of the Sisterhood, a Chicago-based support group of mothers who have lost children to gun violence.


Tony McCoy Jr. (Photo courtesy family)
Tony McCoy Jr. (Photo courtesy family)

Cole remembers her son Tony:

Tony was hilarious, he was compassionate, kind, caring, giving and smart. He had a passion for music and played a great game of basketball. He had a kind spirit and he was full of life. He was very well liked, in and outside of his community. He never had any problems with anybody. People liked and loved Tony. He was a great person, a loyal friend to many, a wonderful son and nephew. He had good morals and values; and I was so proud of him and the man he had become.

If you’d known him, you would have liked him. He was 6’3″ tall and handsome with a smile that would light up a room. Having just turned 20 years old on May 3, 2011, he was respectful and still obeyed his dad and i. He was in a good place in his life. He never got a chance to become a husband and father. Tony was murdered by gun violence on the street, in the neighborhood where he grew up: Kenwood, Chicago, over a basketball game, four blocks from President Obama’s home. His case is unsolved to-date. Tony was two weeks short of leaving for college when his life was taken on July 16, 2011. He planned to major in computer science and one day work in the IT field.

I miss Tony so much. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about him and I still cry for my son. I can’t remember what my life was like before God gave him to me. He brought me so much love and joy. It will be five years since his death on July 16, 2016 and it still feels like it happened yesterday. I’m still searching for my purpose here on this earth, being his mom was all I had know. I lived for him. He was my world and it stopped the day he passed away. My life will never be the same.

I lost myself when I lost my son and I can’t seem to find me. I go through life everyday living life as a half of a person. I’ll never be whole again. I will never hug my son again. I will never be able to tell him I love him. I will never be a grandmother. I’ve experienced death many times throughout my life, from my dad, mom and husband, and each and every one of those losses were extremely painful for me. Each one is a different level of pain. But, there is nothing on this earth that will ever prepare or repair me or any other mom for the level of pain that we feel after the loss of a child, whose life was taken by gun violence. His case remains open to date.

Where is justice for my son? This level of pain is enormous and I carry it with me each and every day and society expects me to get over it, to heal and get on with my life. What life? How can a person take another person’s life? God gives us life. Who are you to take someone’s life? Sometimes, I feel like I’ve been reborn and I’m starting my life over again. But this time around, I’m living life as a half of a person. I do know that death is a part of life. And, God has given us and one day we’re all going to make our transition. But I also know there is a cycle of life and losing a child throws that cycle off. My new life is nowhere close to being normal. I rise up everyday and I thank God for letting me see another day. I put one foot in front of the other and I move forward, along with carrying this pain. I try and live this new life best I can. I lean on God. I lean on my sisters from the Sisterhood, friends and my family. At the end of the day, I thank God I made it through. I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone. It’s too much to try to even imagine.

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