These words were written by Eve’s father, and were shared at the memorial service for Eve held in Athens, Georgia, on March 9.
I’ve always cherished the look Eve greeted me with as I held her in the delivery room. She was wide awake, and she sweetly peered right into my eyes with such pleasure … as if saying thanks and "I’m so glad to be here now dad." A specialist would say it was a reaction to the newness or just being unadjusted to the hospital birthing room, but please believe me, something was just a touch different about Eve from birth.
Every parent knows how special their child can be. We know from our own lives that growth and growing up are best continued over a lifetime. But there seems to be a moment early on, when a parent can look at their child and know that they’ve got the building blocks and the character for a good life. I feel blessed because I had that moment with both of my loving children at early ages. I call it my Papua New Guinea moment … when, should your child be lost upon a distant shore and even in a different culture, that child would grow up into a fine, helpful, caring person.
The senseless murder of my sweet, sweet Eve is sadness defined, unfathomable and bottomless, but so appreciatively interrupted by each friend or family member who shares our grief.
Yesterday, a red-tailed hawk glided effortlessly close to my car as I drove from my mother’s home. It touched more deeply than normal. To me, these moments with nature represent a circle of everlasting life, but so also, do the friends of Eve and Andrew ... and the babies of relatives and neighbors and friends.
The irony of Eve’s murder is that she, along with these blessed friends and fellow students, are the ones who can solve the most pressing problems of this time. Please don’t attribute this to hyperbole or relate it to a father’s sadness. I see a stunningly beautiful convergence of talent and caring in this, our children’s, generation. It is the most fantastic realization.
I believe that these kids, along with their peers around the globe, can reach reasoned solutions for mitigating violence and tackling many of the inequities of poverty, prejudice, inadequate health care and under-education. This is no pie-in-the-sky wish! These kids are smart! They’re so capable.
They’re more productive because they collaborate and communicate like no generation before them. And what is even more wonderful is their generosity. Isn’t that tremendous?
There are needs now, and there are reasons for and solutions to those needs. Those dilemmas that keep getting shuffled along by our generation will gain solutions from the student sitting near you, your friends’ sons and daughters, or the young mentored student from another place.
But I must tell you — even with an aching heart, and yet with such hope and love — that the friends of Eve, and their generation, will not be denied. They’ve got miles to go, and missions to keep, and we will be so much better for their undaunted perseverance!
May God bless each one of you.