Knoxville mom who lost 2 sons to violence starts support group for grieving mothers

Terry Smith

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Plans are starting to come together in the community effort to stop the violence. Media outlets came together in January to host a town hall meeting in the wake of the shooting death of Fulton High School student Zaevion Dobson and several other incidents of violence.

After attending this meeting, one Knoxville mother decided it was time for her to reach out and make a difference. Terry Smith lost two of her sons to violence and spent years in grief finding it hard to function. She attended the town hall meeting and felt compelled to help other mothers mourning the loss of a child. Now she is in the process of starting a support group.

Smith’s life was changed forever in 2007.

“I get a phone call at night to come to the hospital. My son was stabbed,” said Smith.

Her son D’juansay D. Freeman was killed.

“The pain was just so unbearable. I don’t even know what I did. I don’t even know how,” said Smith.

Stop the Violence: A Community Conversation

Two years later she received another call from the hospital. Her other son Christopher McBath had been shot to death.

“At that point in time I was really angry and I was really hurt. Not only did I lose one but I lost two. Why? Why?” said Smith.

The loss has impacted all aspects of her life.

“You function. You exist but you’re really not living. I really wasn’t finding the help that I needed, no one to really understand what I was going through,” said Smith.

Smith went to the town hall meeting in January in hopes of hearing solutions to stop the violence. She met other mothers there who have lost their children to violence.

“It’s other mothers who are hurting. It just seemed like it was all around me,” said Smith.


She went home and prayed about how to help.

“I was like, ‘God what is in that you want me to do? What is it you have me to do? Give me a name.’ He gave me the name Moms of Mission,” said Smith.

She decided to start a support group called Mothers of Missions or MOM.

“You’re on a mission to heal. You’re on a mission to rebuild,” said Smith.

Smith wants to offer help 24/7 with monthly meetings and phone calls anytime day or night.

“It helped me to talk to another mother who could understand and say ‘I get it. I get what you’re feeling,’” said Smith.

Smith is meeting with city officials and leaders of other support groups for advice to be successful. She says the support group will be in honor of her sons and wants to take the terrible situation and make a positive by helping someone else.

The first meeting is March 10 at 6 p.m. at 1311 North Broadway in Knoxville Suite B. This meeting is open to the public. She is also in the process of setting up a Facebook page call Mothers of Missions. Smith says the group will also offer support in the courtroom and throughout the legal process.

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