ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Although Mother’s Day is known to be a day of celebrating all the amazing mothers in our lives, for some it's a day of heartache and remembering those they've lost.
Dozens of close friends and family came together with balloons, flowers and candles to celebrate Mother’s Day and Shaquille Zackery’s 24th birthday.
"Happy birthday uncle,” said Shaquille’s family.
Every year on May 12th friends and family come together for a vigil in honor of Shaquille who was fatally shot five and a half years ago in the 1200 block of Winnebago Street while leaving a party.
"It's really kind of a hard day for me. But I’m still celebrating his birthday," said Innette Zachary, Shaquille’s mother.
During the vigil, balloons were thrown in the air and family share their favorite stories about Shaquille.
"Every year on his birthday, every year we do something and it's a lot of memories and people talk about them they even play some of his music. It kind of hurts but then it feels good to me because I am hearing his voice," Zackery said.
Zackery hopes by having these vigils twice a year soon she will get some answers.
"I like to keep his memory alive which is one thing. But hopefully, someone will come out and say something about it. They don't have to come to us as crime stoppers." Zackery said.
Shaquille also left behind a daughter named Raeunique, who brings so much joy to Shaquille’s mother.
"Every time I look at her I know I have a part of him. But it's still really sad celebrating mother’s day on his birthday and he's not here," Zackery said.
Zackery's says her son is another example of gun violence in Rockford and she hopes that by continuing to spread the word about her son that soon someone will come forward and bring her some closure.
Friends and family will gather again in October on the anniversary of Shaquille’s death for a vigil.