PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - It's been nearly two years since Jessica Ayers lost her husband, the father of her child, and her best friend. A tragic accident killed Justin Ayers just days after his son was born. We spoke with Jessica a year ago when she was still struggling with grief, but now things are looking up for the young widow.
On June 17th, 2014, 32 year-old Justin Ayers lost his life. He was killed just three days after his wife, Jessica, gave birth to their first child.
"Justin was my greatest love and he was my greatest loss and I think about him every single day, every second of every day," said Jessica.
The Ayers' neighbor, Charles Shisler, was standing in the backyard of his Panama City home when he fired a gun. The bullet traveled through a glass door and hit Justin in the back of the head.
"I immediately panicked and looked over to Jax to make sure he was okay first and then I just heard Laurie say Justin's name, and he was on the ground," said Jessica. "It feels surreal to think that in one second he was gone and you just have to keep going. In other ways it feels like it was all a dream, like it never happened. And then some days it feels like it just happened yesterday."
We spoke with Jessica about a year ago when she was still struggling to move on from her grief.
She said, "I was a shell of a person for a long time. I was not really functioning in society, just kind of hiding out in my parents' house. I saw the interview recently and I couldn't believe just how far I've come since then."
Three months ago, Jessica bought a house for her and her son Jax. She's also back in college and started a blog called The Singing Widow.
"The thing that really brought me back to life was when I found something that I felt like I could channel some energy into and I could become a human being again."
She says that's her passion for music, one her and her husband shared.
"I joined up with a traveling band that I do full time, pretty much takes me away on the weekends so during the week I get to stay home with Jax," Jessica said. "I say I'm a stay at home mom during the week and on the weekends I get to play rock star."
They've passed that passion down to their son Jax.
"One of his first words, no joke, he said was guitar. I have it on video. I was holding my guitar I got it back out after almost two years. I got it back out and he walked over and he hit the strings and he said guitar."
Jessica hopes her story can help others struggling with the loss of a loved one to move on.
"I just hope other people that have bad things happen to them can realize that you can have happiness again. It doesn't mean you don't still walk around with the pain every single day, you learn to live with it."
A jury convicted Shisler of manslaughter. He's facing 19 years behind bars. Jessica encourages others who are struggling with a loss to get help right away whether it's medication, seeing a counselor, or channeling your pain into your passion.
If you're interested in visiting Jessica's blog go to thesingingwidow.com