COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A group of mothers who lost their children to violence in Columbus gathered Saturday to support one another for Mother’s Day.

These women said losing their children has made Mother’s Day feel like something not worth celebrating, but it’s also motivated them into speaking up and calling for change toward all the violence happening in their city.

“Every time I’m able to listen to a story, and share my experience, it’s my healing,” said Malissa Thomas-St. Clair, founder of Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children.

Eight years ago, she lost her 22-year-old son Anthony Michael St. Clair to a stabbing in Columbus.

She said the pain of that day has never left.

But it’s also the reason why she started the group — to meet and support women like herself.

“I still look out the window, waiting for him to come home,” said Latonya Nichols, mother of 15-year-old Nofeir Cannon, who was killed by gunfire in Columbus last year.

She said her son’s death made celebrating Mother’s Day feel pointless.

“My other kids, it’s like, ‘Mom, we got to go out,’ and I just, I lost one and I don’t want to celebrate no more,” Nichols said.

That is a feeling shared by Jonie Roberts, who lost her 26-year-old son Roger Pindell to gun violence, but she said deep down, it’s not just herself suffering. 

“You know, I didn’t just lose Roger,” Roberts said. “The guy that shot my son, his mom, she’s going to lose him. He’s going to be in prison.”

Other mothers like Tasha Reeder said these feelings are why it is so important that the group continues to gather.

“We’re able to support one another, and we know the pain and the hurt that each one of us mothers are going through,” she said.

And for those like Anita Akins, who’s still searching for answers in the death of her son Carlos Hardiman Jr., she hopes that it leads to someone speaking out.

“So any information will help us to get some kind of closure,” Akins said.

These mothers said that while none of them wanted to gather Saturday, the fact that they did gave them the strength to celebrate Mother’s Day Sunday.