I was married to Angela Risi for a short time; we were together for nine years. I met her in San Diego and moved to Chicago with her where we started a wholesome and loving life together. We moved to Durham last year and unfortunately separated shortly after, but she was always on my mind.
She was such a kind soul with a passion for movement and music. She changed me in so many positive ways, and my family doesn’t let me forget it. I miss her laugh, her silly jokes and her dancing and twirling around the house. She was such an important part of my family, and the emptiness will be felt for the rest of our lives. She brought so much joy, brightness and warmth into my life. It is difficult to imagine this world without Angela shining like she did so well.
I left Durham with a hole in my heart, and it has grown since her passing. I know she was loved by many, which makes me happy to know she had a supportive community of friends and chosen family in Durham. All of our friends and family in Chicago, San Diego and beyond loved her so much and were devastated by the news on Oct. 2.
Angela deserved to live a long life. I will cherish the years of memories we have together and try to emulate her brightness in my everyday life. Angela will be missed forever, and I will never stop loving her. I hope that Duke University and the city of Durham can work together do more to bring safety to communities and prevent gun violence. I hope that this tragedy can bring change in some way. Ang would have wanted that. I love and miss you, Angela.
Marissa Arriaga is a student at the Tamarind Institute at the University of New Mexico.
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