‘Why My Family?’: After Her 2 Kids Were Killed, Native American Mom Shares Grief, and Joy, of Raising Grandkids


At 58 years of age, Odelia Jose’s life has been filled with torment. Rather than partaking in her retirement years on the Gila Stream Indian Reservation in Sacaton, Ariz., she wrestles with the sorrow that is tormented her since the shooting passings of two of her kids, who were killed four years separated.

The killings horrendously affected Jose’s just enduring little girl, presently 25, who adapted to the deficiency of her kin with drugs. Jose herself saves her tears for the shower.


“That is my time for crying since no one can see me,” Jose says. In 2014, after a fight with drug use, Jose’s more established little girl, Gwendolyn James, 26, was fixing up her life, her mother says.

In any case, Gwen’s life was stopped when she was shot to death in the wake of giving a companion a ride to a house on the booking. “She was in an unlucky spot,” Jose says.

However, the aggravation didn’t end there. Yet again in 2018, misfortune struck, when her child Jerome James, 32, was likewise viewed as killed.

His body was concealed in a distant gorge on the booking. He had additionally been lethally shot. Both Gwen and Jerome abandoned offspring of their own.

An ancestral court condemned Gwen’s executioner to three years in jail, while Jerome’s killer stays at large. From that point forward, Jose has turned into a vocal pundit of ancestral specialists and state pioneers. She has fashioned associations with different moms locally whose youngsters have been killed.

Simultaneously, she has seen her most youthful girl wrestle with drug use, compelling Jose to take on the obligations of a mother again — this opportunity to that girl’s three small kids, Jeromy, 2, Kendrick, 3, and Kaydence, 4. “I’m evolving diapers, washing them, and keeping them took care of,” Jose says. Be that as it may, in spite of the weariness of staying aware of little ones, Jose actually tracks down delight in being a mother figure to each of the 10 of her grandchildren, delighting in the rapture of seeing the essences of her own kids in them.

Simply last year, Jerome’s girl, Seleste James, 18, was delegated homecoming sovereign. “I told her, ‘I’m glad for you, and I realize your father is, as well.'”

According to jose, “‘We don’t see him, yet I know he’s watching you folks.'”