When Mary Johnson’s teenage son was killed, she never thought she’d end up living next door to his murderer. We heard about that journey in an interview from 2011 between Mary and Oshea Israel, the man who murdered her son.

Mary went on to found From Death To Life, a support group for mothers who have lost their children to violence, and to speak publicly about her loss in local churches. That’s where she met another man with whom she would develop a deep bond: her husband, Ed Roy.


When they met, Ed was still suffering from the loss of his only son, Mandel Roy, who had also been murdered. At StoryCorps, Mary and Ed talked about sharing in each other’s pain and going on with life after a tragedy.

Mary and Ed were married on January 3, 2015, with Oshea Israel serving as one of their groomsmen.

Originally broadcast January 27, 2017, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Bottom photo: Mary and Ed’s first dance at their wedding.
Photos courtesy of Brian Mogren.