Pendleton family prepares for difficult Mother`s Day - FOX 32 News Chicago

Pendleton family prepares for difficult Mother`s Day ahead

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Nathaniel and Cleo Pendleton say the pain they deal with since their 15-year-old daughter Hadiya was killed, is unbearable.

"We wake up with it, we walk all day with it, we sleep with's like an ache you can't get rid of," Hadiya's mother, Cleo Pendleton, says of her daughter's death.

The King College Prep honor student was in a park when she was killed. Now, the Pendleton's say they will never forget January 29, 2013 and what they could've done differently.

"Can you imagine the things I would've done differently if I knew? I wouldn't have went to work, I would've called off," Cleo says. "I would've been in the house. Think about it, if someone told you. Hadiya stay in your room! Today is the day."

"I miss my daughter's physical body very much but her spirit is with me everywhere I go," she adds. "We talk to her so much. We always say look at Hadiya working! That has got to be Hadiya working. She always said she was going to be a celebrity. She was going to make it big."

Cleo says in her first conversation she had with God she said, "alright, alright, now you have my baby, and I said I have to believe that there's a reason for this. "

Hadiya Pendleton became the poster child for guns and gang violence in Chicago, sparking a national and international debate.

Though the Pendleton's understand their child has become a symbol of Chicago violence, they say they don't like it.

First Lady Michelle Obama attended funeral services for Hadiya Pendleton and her parents were invited to Washington while the president pushed for national gun control. They accepted the invitation, but being there meant something too big to deal with.

"I was standing next to Michelle Obama the first lady and I checked out," Cleo says of being at the State of the Union Address. "I actually took a moment and I looked to my left and I was hoping I didn't see her but she was sitting there. And I was hoping that I didn't see her cause that would mean that this is just a dream and I can wake up from it."

Cleo Pendleton says she'll celebrate Mother's Day for her son Nate Jr. He's looking forward to doing something special, but the Pendleton's say the weeks after Mother's Day is why now they're praying for strength. June 2nd would have been a big birthday for Hadiya. 

"Oh, it'll be celebrated," Hadiya's mother says. "I still have to put that together. I was thinking, do I invite everyone to the cemetery to wish Hadiya happy birthday? Or do I create a cake and sing happy birthday? It's so much to plan."

"The truth is, I am in the reality and the reality is, my baby is dead," she continues. "I know where she is. I know her location. We laid her to rest there. The reality is, I'll be celebrating sweet 16 and she'll still be 15."

The Pendleton's have been very vocal in the president's push for gun control and they've started a non-for-profit organization to stop the gun violence across the nation.

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