On July 25, Shamika Woods 15-year-old son was shot and killed just around the corner from her home on Cannon Street. She said that loss unexpectedly tied her to Nashville's highest ranking public official at a time when both women needed it most.
"We sat here for over an hour talking," Shamika said. "It was like I knew her. She had a good spirit."
Mayor Megan Barry visited Shamika's home just two days after her son, Jaezoine Woods, was killed. Shamika said Mayor Barry cleared her schedule in the middle of the day, sat on her couch inside the J.C. Napier homes, and poured over pictures of Jaezoine while the two talked at length.
"We talked about the neighborhood, how these kids are bored and have nothing to do and end up in trouble," Shamika said. "And we talked about our kids."
Shamika said the visit was therapeutic. It made her feel like her son's life mattered and someone cared.
Neither woman knew that conversation was only part of the pain to come.
"It was like God was preparing her for this," she said. "It's just heartbreaking."
Two days after the women met, Mayor Barry's 22-year-old son Max died in Denver, Colorado from an apparent overdose. Even after her deeply personal loss, Mayor Barry sent a message to Shamika through her pastor.
"She said to tell Shamika that she meant every single words she had said," said Pastor Frank Stevenson, who baptized Jaezoine when he was a baby. "She said a mother should never have to experience and hear the words you've had to hear relative to your child's death. She said my heart is just really heavy for you."
Shamika said she hopes her words will give Mayor Barry some comfort.
"My son is never coming back, but he’s in my heart and in my spirit and leaves a legacy, " Shamika said. "I’m going to live for my baby. I want her to live, in everything she does, everything that surrounds her, I want her to think of Max. It’s going to make her stronger because God is good."