Mother's Day: Children of homicide victims remember mothers lost to violence
Annie Margaret Bell, mother of Hallie Conley
Hallie Conley’s mother was her driving partner. The two would take long car trips across the city, sometimes to visit family or to have a girls’ day at the mall. The rides were often packed with laughter, Conley said, as they reminisced about Conley’s childhood in Chicago.
“That seat in my car is now empty,” Conley, 70, said. “I look at it when I get in the car, and it’s hard to even leave anything on the seat.”
After Annie Margaret Bell moved to Los Angeles and retired, she became an active volunteer at the Lancaster Senior Center. For 15 years, and for at least six hours a day, Bell helped run programs and serve lunch at the center.
Conley, meanwhile, ran errands for Bell and chauffeured her around town.
“I really did enjoy it. When I was kid, it wasn’t so cool to be around Mom all the time, but I just loved it,” Conley said. “We would never run out of stuff to talk about. And she could always make me laugh.”
On June 19, 2015, a 14-year-old boy climbed through Bell’s window and stabbed the 86-year-old woman to death during a burglary.
Sometimes, late at night, Conley tries to piece together the events of the attack.
“ I wish I could get that out of my mind,” Conley said. “ I don’t know why she had to die like that.”
Michele Janise Love, mother of Melissa and Jaron Love
In the eyes of her children, Michele Love was Superwoman. She would pick up her grandkids from school and provide support for her own children, all while handling her own health concerns.
In 2002, Michele was diagnosed with kidney failure and began dialysis. Few people knew that she cried during her treatment, family said, but she endured until 2006, when her daughter donated a kidney for transplant. Over the following years, she was on a strict medication regimen.
“She fought to stay with us,” son Jaron Love, 28, said. “She hated going to dialysis, but she did what she had to do to be here.”
Throughout her own difficulties, Michele Love remained a rock in her family. Whenever a disagreement arose, she would handle it quickly, and she would never sugarcoat the truth, Jaron said.
She was known for giving sound advice, and her children’s friends would sometimes seek her out.
“My friends would call me and tell me how they just talked to my mom for an hour.” daughter Melissa Love, 35, said. “But that’s just the type of person she was.”
Melissa and Jaron Love hold on to their mother’s quirks. She had a knack for finding a good parking space and an infectious laugh. And every once in a while, at about 6 a.m., she would send out jokes to her family.
“Sometimes, I would hear my phone go off early and find a meme on my phone. I would just imagine my mom sitting up, scrolling through the Internet just to find something to send us,” Melissa Love said.
“But now, every once in a while, I start to call her first thing in the morning and realize I can’t.”
On Feb. 28, after an evening out with the family, Michele Love, 54, was fatally shot while she was sitting in her car with her own mother and son. The drive-by shooting also killed 27-year-old Jordan Love, who was in the back seat. Michele Love's mother was uninjured.
“You don’t realize how important someone is until you don’t have them,” Jaron Love said. “She was everything while she was here, but I see it so much more now.”
Photos: (First) Hallie Conley holds a portrait of her mother, Annie Margaret Bell. (Second) Melissa and Jaron Love, with a photo of their mother, Michele Love. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times