On her first Mother's Day without her son, a woman chooses to 'Make the most of every moment that we have to live'

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - On Sunday, a woman spent her first Mother’s Day without her son — but she wasn’t alone.

Monika Swan sits with Allen Hodgson, a close friend of her son Gunnar Swan, on her first Mother's Day after Gunnar was shot and killed. "We have the choice to make the most out of the moments that we have to live," Monika said.

It’s been almost four months since 18-year-old Gunnar Swan was shot and killed in Wasilla on Jan. 27, 2019. Gunnar’s mother, Monika Swan, has been learning to live without him — a feat of will made a bit less painful by the relationships she’s formed with Gunnar’s closest friends, like 18-year old Allen Hodgson.

“They mean so much to me,” Monika said, sitting next to Hodgson during an interview with Channel 2 on Sunday. “There have been so many moments where I have felt like, ‘How am I going to get through this?’ And then the kids were there, and all of the sudden I was like ‘I can do this.’”

Hodgson and several other friends accompanied Monika on a trip across Alaska, spreading Gunnar’s ashes and sharing memories in some of his favorite places. It was the best way they knew to say goodbye to someone who meant so much.

“It sucks that it had to happen. I wish it never did,” Hodgson said. “But we’re just growing from it, and making what we can positive.”

Monika says in her mind, the worst thing that could come from her son’s death is more sadness.

“We all have a choice to make our lives better,” Monika said, “to choose to be stronger, to be better, to make the most of every moment that we have to live.”

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