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Twin of slain teen set to graduate, says brother is ‘looking over me’

CHICAGO -- Relying always on Scripture, Delores Bailey will tell you that "the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away."

Though the life of her 15-year-old son, Demario, was taken during an armed robbery on a December Saturday two and a half years ago, Delores says she is blessed to see his twin, Demacio, step out on a Saturday night in spring.

It's a season in which the 18-year-old arrives with more wisdom than most.

"Everybody has problems," Demacio told WGN from the backyard of his family's Grand Crossing home, as dozens gathered to send him off to his prom. "You cannot go out of life without having problems. As I go about life, I just think about me proceeding through the next day, basketball and who is looking over me."

He means Demario, of course.

Demario was his consummate court side supporter who was accompanying him to basketball practice when the once inseparable siblings were torn apart.

It is Demario's image with which Demacio posed on the night of his senior prom. He did not take a date; he took memories of his best friend and the well wishes of seemingly his entire neighborhood that watched as he stepped out in style.

But the most watchful eye? That belonged to Delores, who has never allowed for much moping.

"My mom is always there to hound me if I'm slacking on work, the house, or college," Demacio said. "She is always telling me how hard it is to go to college."

In the Bailey household, college isn't optional.

"I still get the chance to see my son go away, be great, and still live his life," Delores said. "The enemy wanted to take that from me, but God wanted him to be allowed to still have a chance."

Delores wants others to have a chance, too. That's why she has this bus to drive kids after school and on Saturdays to ensure they get home.

It's a story WGN first reported one year after Demario's death.

"Demacio says I'm strong all the time, and that I'm his support," Delores said. "He doesn't know that he's my support, literally. When I want to give up, I think about him. Everyday, if he can still go to school and get As."

Her aims on the road surpass safety. Delores wants to show kids the love that she says could have saved Demario's life, if only his killer had felt it. That's why she tries to encourage other parents, too.

"When I see other mothers, and they are torn down and crying every day, I tell them don't allow the enemy to win," she said. "He don't care that he took one of your kids. He'll come after another one and another one."

Chicago's violence toll means there is so much for the Bailey family to do.

"It's too much," said Demacio's grandmother, Bernice Fitzpatrick. "There are too many lives snuffed out and too many opportunities to become something that can help a multitude of people."

During Demario's 2014 funeral, Fitzpatrick roused the congregation at New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church- and Chicagoans who watched from across the city- with calls for parents to love their children, get involved with their lives, know their friends and keep a presence at their schools.

According to Demacio, despite the violence: "God is on the throne." The Bailey family maintains that it is time to work harder, love more, and serve city neighbors. That means celebrating the ones who survive and succeed.

"He went a milestone considering being there with his brother at the time of his demise," Bernice said. "I'm grateful that he has seen fit to have kept his mind staying ahead despite of what happened."

Celebrations like Demacio's Saturday night send-off are a great place to start, as Delores cherishes the gift who still remains.

"My son is still here, and he lives every day."

Demacio will be graduating this week, and he is headed out of Chicago to attend university.

Delores drove to prom at its conclusion Saturday night to hug every student as they left and admire them in their formal attire.

On Saturday, she'll be a key speaker at a South Side wellness rally at 11:30 a.m. at King College Prep.