Surviving the loss of a child – twice

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By Diana Bejarano

They say a parent’s worst nightmare is losing a child. This Latina had to endure that nightmare times two.

In 1994-1995, Amelia “Molly” Sordia Buchanan, my aunt by marriage, had to bury not one, but two, of her children – and, yet, she is still standing. 

Her strength is immeasurable. It’s something that is difficult to describe in words. I will attempt to share a glimpse of her story here. Even though it’s been more than 15 years since she lost her two sons, it’s still excruciatingly painful for her to discuss, as you can imagine. 

Her oldest son, Rudy Jr., born in 1972, would have celebrated his 40th birthday this month. Her second son, Christopher, born in 1976, would have turned 36 years old this past July. 

Chris was just 18 years old and a senior at South Mountain High School when he was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in South Phoenix in October, 1994. He had dreams of enlisting in the United States Army.  

Just three months after laying Chris’ body to rest, on Super Bowl Sunday, January 29, 1995, his brother, Rudy Jr., was shot and killed. Still completely devastated by the loss of his baby brother, Rudy Jr. left that night for his girlfriend’s house and that was the last time anyone in the family saw him alive. 

Then reality set in for Molly – her two sons, her baby boys – had been murdered and were never coming home again. How could this be? She felt pure devastation, sadness, grief, anger and unbearable pain. Yet, she is still standing. 

A few years before Molly’s sons were unexpectedly taken from her, she found out she was expecting a child, at 40 years of age. This came as a surprise to her. In January, 1990, she gave birth to Briana. Who knew that five years later she would lose her two sons?

This young child brought new life into the home. Like any other five year old, she wanted to dress up for Halloween, have birthday parties and a Christmas tree with presents underneath. This little one, along with her beautiful, over-achieving sister, Jennifer, just a teenager at the time, kept Molly moving forward one day at a time. Her two daughters gave her the will to keep living, even when she felt like giving up. 

Molly credits her strong faith for giving her hope that one day she will be reunited with her sons in eternity. Her network of family and friends also helped her tremendously. But I believe her daughters, grandchildren and husband have played the biggest roles in providing her with the will to go on.

She truly is: A Latina Still Standing. 

Diana Bejarano’s professional background includes more than 15 years of marketing and communication experience. She was named in “40 under 40” by the Phoenix Business Journal (2005) and the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (2007). She is also a Hispanic Leadership Institute graduate (2007). She is an Arizona native and a graduate of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Reach her at or

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