Kathleen Slavin. (Kim Tunnicliffe/WBZ NewsRadio)
TAUNTON, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The physical wounds have healed, but the emotional scars remain for Kathleen Slavin.
She suffers from PTSD and severe anxiety after Arthur DaRosa used a kitchen knife to stab Kathleen and her mother, Patricia, in their home in May 2016.
The mother and daughter were having dinner, and had let DaRosa into their home when he showed up at their door, thinking he was simply a stranger who needed help.
"We just wish now that we didn't open the door," she told WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe Monday at her home in East Taunton, three years after that fateful night.
DaRosa grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed Kathleen six times, but she survived. He also stabbed Patricia, 80, who died in the hospital of cardiac arrest.
"He just tackled me to the ground, into the living room," Kathleen said. "You're in disbelief, and I think from that point on, you are just in shock."
DaRosa, who had mental health issues, then drove his car into the entrance of the Macy's store at the Silver City Galleria, where he assaulted and stabbed multiple people, including a pregnant woman, and killed 56-year-old George Heath. He was shot and killed by an off-duty Plymouth County Sheriff's Deputy.
Slavin has fired a wrongful death lawsuit against Taunton and its former ambulance company. She says it took half an hour for first responders to get to her home after she called 911.
She said she still misses her mother every day.
"I think, just the laughter in the house is something that we truly miss," she said. "Even when my brothers are here and we laugh, or we have a good meal, we just go, 'God, mom would love this.'"
Slavin now works in a retail store, and said she gets startled very easily.
"You could just have, like, a customer come up behind you, and it startles you," she said. "Sometimes, 'Oh, you scared me,' and other times, it gets you to the core. It just feels different now—it just shapes you."
The experience has changed her life in other ways, as well.
"Going out to a restaurant with friends, now you have to choose the seat that you need to sit in that's comfortable for you, so you can see everything in front of you," she said.
She says she has good and bad days.
"Some days are tougher," she said. "Some days I'm six feet tall and bulletproof, and other days, not so much ... I guess the thing that I want is, I want to be Kathleen Slavin again."
Despite the tough road she's facing, Slavin has vowed to never give up.
"My brother had said once before that we're not going to let that one day, that one minute, define the rest of our lives," she said. "And I'm not going to. I'm not going to let it destroy me."
WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports