Is the title to a beautiful video designed by Alissa Parker, mother of Emilie Parker whose life was tragically cut short in the Sandy Hook School massacre one year ago today.
Last year on December 14th I blogged about my sadness and broken heart for all the families who had lost loved ones that day. I also shared my personal connection to Newtown. My mom’s sister Penny and her husband Gary raised their five – now grown – kids in Newtown. My cousins didn’t attend Sandy Hook School, but went to a neighboring one not far away and attended church with students from both schools.
The summer after I graduated high school I had the chance to fly back to stay with my cousins for several weeks at their home in Newtown. The picturesque photos you see on the news do not do this town justice. Not only is it beautiful esthetically, the sense of home and family is so strongly and deeply driven into the community is spectacular. Newtown was a beautiful place to visit, I can only imagine it was and is a beautiful place to live.
As the news broke I immediately texted my cousin to make sure everybody in her parents ward were accounted for. At that time there was still mass confusion and very few answers, but she was under the impression that all their wards kids were ok. Even though I was across the country I felt a huge sense of relief that no one they new was unaccounted for or hurt. That didn’t diminish the sadness I felt knowing 26 other families weren’t as lucky.
Later that night I came home and learned that one of the 20 first graders killed was a little girl in my Aunt’s ward. That little girl was Emilie Parker. The next day I blogged again about learning about Emilie and urged fellow bloggers to join a blog movement to step away from our computers and spend time with those we love in memory and honor of the 26th lives that were lost.
Over the following days and months my cousins shared Facebook memorial pages, blogs and websites that were being designed in honor of Emilie and other victims of Sandy Hook. I too began following. However having a connection to the Parker family, albeit minuscule, I began following their story more closely.
The more I read, the more sense of connection I felt to their family. The words Emilie’s mom writes on their family blog are beautiful, heart filled and honest. The photos are beautiful, happy and bright. She shares with the world her immense pain, anger, the good days and bad ones. She welcomed complete strangers a touching look into their families life.
As a fellow LDS woman, I also felt Alissa’s strong spirit and love for our Father in Heaven. Her trust in him, the strength and love she gains from him and her ability to so eloquently share her testimony gleams through each post I read. There hasn’t been a post that I read without crying. Sometimes they are tears of sadness, hurt or anger; while others are tears of joy, excitement and jubilation! The emotion and love is so tightly wrapped around each post.
Parker wrote in a blog for The Huffington Post, “There have been times where I felt like I HAD to hold on to the dark things, like it was some responsibility I was supposed to carry. But Emilie’s life was about color and joy, not about pain and suffering.”
Now they’ve decided to speak about the unexpectedly good things that have happened since the tragedy, as strangers reached out to them with words of comfort and acts of kindness. The Parkers have made a video called “Evil Did Not Win,” which honors the memory of Emilie and allows her to keep bringing good into the world. They have also created The Emilie Parker Fund in her memory, which supports the arts with funding for school and community programs, due to her love of art.
I have now watched this video numerous times and each time I am struck in awe of the strength of this one family, how Emilie was wise way beyond her years and their decision to choose love instead. I felt on the first anniversary I wanted to share this video with my family, friends and followers on my blog. I recommend grabbing a tissue prior to starting, you’ll need it.
As Alissa Parker stated in the video, “Evil didn’t win that day. We’ll carry on that love that she had, it’s quiet, it’s not on the news. It takes effort to find. But what I’ve realized through all of this is, how strong and how big God’s love really is.”