Mother of Waffle House shooting victim turns pain into purpose with 'Hope for the Future' event

Posted at 8:13 PM, Apr 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-09 21:13:27-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Middle Tennessee mom, whose daughter was killed in the Antioch Waffle House shooting three years ago this month is using her experience to help all moms cope with loss.

Shirl Baker’s daughter, DeEbony Groves, was one of four people killed on April 22, 2018, when a gunman opened fire inside the Nashville area restaurant. Four people died that day and four more were injured. Baker says she had to find a way to stop crying and start living again.

Baker says she attended a women’s event in 2019 hosted by Trayvon Martin’s Foundation that helped her cope with her grief. You may remember Martin was an African American teenager fatally shot in Florida by George Zimmerman in 2012.

Surrounded by other moms who had suffered a loss as she had, the women bonded and to this day she texts and calls many of the ladies she got to know then. She said it’s made all the difference in her life.

Baker set up a foundation in DeEbony’s name and through that foundation is hosting the first-ever “Hope for the Future Women’s Weekend." It’s for mothers who have lost a child or children through tragic circumstances.

“It doesn’t have to be a shooting, Baker said. These women have suffered the loss of a child in a car accident or suicide.” “All tragedies don’t make the news, Baker continued. “So what happens after the funeral and everyone goes home? You are left to fend for yourself. You are in a dark place or if you are not a large family you may not have someone to comfort you when it’s over.” Baker went on to say that she hopes to give these moms a chance to live a “new” normal.

It’s set for April 23-25 in Gallatin and 22 women have signed up to attend. Baker says because of Covid the numbers are smaller this year and she already had to close registration. However, she alluded to a bigger and better women’s weekend next year. As she continues to turn her pain, into purpose.