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Michela Duplechain
(pictured above) was wallowing in grief over the death of her 14-year-old son, Anthony (pictured), and feeling as though she no longer had purpose before she made the decision to turn her life around. Now five years after her son’s untimely death at the hands of her own husband, Duplechain has earned a college degree from Clayton State College in order to honor her son, according to WSB-TV.

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Duplechain, a barbershop owner, reportedly dated Reggie Hines for more than a year, even though Hines was verbally and physically abusive. Believing that she could change him, Duplechain married him.

Two months in to the marriage, the Coweta County, Ga., Mom was reportedly moving out some furniture from her home to give to a relative when Hines pulled up in his car. Hines allegedly assumed that Duplechain was leaving him, so he became violent and began shooting his gun.

Missing Duplechain, Hines struck her only child, Anthony, killing him.

Hines then turned the gun on himself.

The murder/suicide left Duplechain in a dark place.  She became depressed and thought that her life was over. Duplechain told WSB-TV,  “I couldn’t understand how I was going to survive. I just felt like life was over – no purpose, nothing,” laments the Mom.

But one day, Duplechain had an aha moment, when Anthony’s spirit spoke to her, urging her to go to school. The 49-year-old woman had many reservations about school at first, because she told WSB-TV, “I never even wanted to go to school. I didn’t think I was smart enough to go to college.”

Despite her self-doubts, Duplechain initially enrolled at a community college and managed to earn an Associate’s degree.  She then forged on and has now completed a Bachelor’s in psychology and counseling to honor her son’s memory who would have been a freshman in college.

When Duplechain felt as if she wanted to give up because the classes were too tough, she simply thought about Anthony: “He helps me when I kind of feel like I can’t get this assignment done, and I’m just going to give up. I can hear him saying, ‘Mommy,'” says Duplechain.

After her Bachelor’s degree, Duplechain, who now works as a paraprofessional at an elementary school, wants to obtain a Master’s in school counseling.

Duplechain, who admits that the last five years have been beyond emotionally debilitating, has some advice for those who have experienced a deep loss, “Everybody experiences loss, but after the death of a child or any loved one, it’s what you do after that death that matters. It just strengthens me from within to know that I have an eternal purpose and that my son had an eternal purpose.”

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