It's coming up on 2 years since the death of Odin Lloyd, the man murdered in June 2013 by former NFL player Aaron Hernandez. At the Spring of Hope Church in Springfield, his mother shared her experience and grief.
"My son was the very first best gift I've ever received in my life and to have that taken away from you, it's not easy," said Ursula Ward.
Ward says this month is especially hard with the anniversary of Odin Lloyd's death coming up on June 17th.
On that day, she will visit the site where her son's body was found for the first time.
"Seeing where your son was murdered laying down on the ground for 24 hours. I don't know what it's going to be like but I think its time for my son to be released out of there," said Ursula Ward.
She plans to release balloons at the location in his honor. For her, the grieving process has been especially difficult.
Lloyd's death made international headlines.
She says the day she lost her son, she lost her privacy.
"Always quiet, are lives are so simple and peaceful. Now, it's no matter where you go its in the public eye," she said. "And I said if he was murdered by a normal person, nobody would know Ursula or Odin Lloyd".
But being at an event like this, she feels comfort in the company of those who understand a bit of what she's going through.
The Ambrose family was recognized at the community panel discussion hosted by the Awake Coalition.
This June marks 3 years since officer Kevin Ambrose's death. He was killed in the line of duty while answering a domestic violence call.
Cynthia Farmer was also there. She lost her son, Tyrone Lewis, 10 years ago. He was killed in a home invasion in Springfield.
"My son was 23. He would be 34 this year," said Farmer. "For a parent going through the grieving process, take one day at a time. It's okay to have those days."
"I miss my baby...a whole lot," said Ursula Ward.
The event is part of the Rebuilding the Village initiative in Springfield. Its goal is to bring people together and to end youth and gang violence.