Remembering the Silent Hero of the UNC Charlotte tragedy
I’ve struggled to find words to express the weight of grief in my heart. As I write this post, tears keep falling and they will continue for a very long time. Sometimes, life just doesn’t make sense. It’s not fair. It’s not right. It’s not the way it should be.
On April 30, 2019, one of my very best friend’s sons was killed in the college shooting at UNC Charlotte. My beloved alma mater. Both of my daughter’s alma maters. My son’s current college where he was in the final week of his sophomore year.
My heart can barely handle the grief my precious friend Julie and her husband, daughter and family are experiencing. Hearing about these horrible school shootings in the media is one thing – living it and experiencing it first hand is quite another. Whether you personally know the victims or not, sadness reigns for the loss of innocent lives. But personally seeing people you love so much hurting in a way that is unconsolable, is harder than I ever thought possible.
There is no way to understand “why.” There is no explanation for why a loving God would allow such horrific things to happen to good, loving, beautiful, kind, innocent people. There are no words to comfort the grieving. No bible verses to ease the pain. No sermons to make the grief lesson. No books to impart understanding or peace. No recipe for joy.
Nothing. Except deep sadness for those who are gone, endless sorrow for those who are left trying to make sense of their absence, ongoing efforts to try to be with them and support them every waking moment possible and unending silent prayers for a peace and healing that seems impossible.
Reed Parlier was an amazing nineteen year old young man with a bright future. But his life was taken too soon and so unfairly. My heart physically aches. My thoughts and emotions are all over the map, and even as a strong believer with strong faith, and someone who believes the truths in God’s Word, I confess it’s hard to wrap my mind around how and why this could happen. Yet in the midst of the tragedy over the past couple weeks, I have seen faint fingerprints of God happening and I cannot help but pray that somehow, someway, He will divinely orchestrate something good to come out of all of this. But I will confess, it’s hard to imagine that it ever could.
Reed is the silent hero that the Parlier family, and all of us who love them dearly, want people to recognize and remember. There has been so much attention in the media of Riley Howell who stopped the gunman and lost his life also in the process. He is a hero for sure. My heart grieves for his family and friends. I will continue to keep them in my prayers and encourage everyone to do so as well. Yet although Reed didn’t have a chance to be a hero, he is one, and he deserves honor and remembrance as well. Myself, our close group of friends, and our entire community is grieving this immense loss and doing all we can to help the Parlier family, while knowing that nothing can take away their pain and that the reality of this journey is going to be so incredibly long and hard.
There is only so much we can do, but what we can all do is honor Reed and make sure he is never forgotten. The Parlier’s purposefully avoided the kind of media attention that this type of story brings, so you likely haven’t seen much about them on the news, but they do want people to know how amazing Reed was and so do I.
I wanted to share an article about Reed so everyone can learn about their sweet family and intentionally keep them in your prayers for months and years to come. Click here to read this article in The Charlotte Observer newspaper.
This past weekend, Reed’s parents walked across the stage at the 2019 UNC Charlotte graduation ceremony to accept an honorary degree for him. It’s possible the new recreation center being built on campus will be named the “Howell-Parlier Rec Center” so that these two amazing young men are never forgotten. Even more reasons to be proud of UNC Charlotte and the way they have handled everything.
Lastly, UNC Charlotte has founded a scholarship in Reed’s name called the Ellis Reed Parlier Scholarship Fund, which is going to help countless students get a college education for many, many years to come. If you’re interested in donating to this scholarship, please click here. #NinerNation #CharlotteStrong
Myself and the Parlier family would be so blessed if you would share this post with everyone you know.
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