Hearts across the nation are still shattered over the race-fueled chaos that struck Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this week.
But nothing brings the tragedy closer to home than losing your own daughter to the crazed act of terrorism that tore through the city on that fateful day.
Watching the horror unfold on news footage across the nation is one thing but having to replay that crash scene over and over in your own mind for the rest of your life is quite another.
Such is the case for Virginia father Mark Heyer, whose 32-year-old daughter, Heather Heyer, was violently killed by James Alex Fields Jr.while simply standing up for what she believed in.
We were just marching around, spreading love and then the accident happened, said Heather’s friend, Marissa Blair. In a split second you see a car, and you see bodies flying.
In an instant, the woman who was described by all those who loved her as a sweet soul was gone forever.
But rather than remain bitter toward the man that killed his daughter, Mark is reflecting on the words and wisdom of Jesus to give him strength during this unimaginably difficult time.
My thoughts about all of this stuff is people need to stop hating. They need to forgive each other, said Mark in an interview released by Asbury Park Press. I think of what the Lord said on the cross, Lord forgive them. They dont know what theyre doing.
They may be nine little words, but they speak volumes to a culture that has become deeply ingrained with seeking revenge and hateful retaliation
I include myself in that in forgiving the guy who did this. He dont know no better, he humbly added.
While broken to the core over the loss of his daughter, the proud father still couldn’t help but reflect on the beaming, Christ-like qualities that made her the special woman she was.
My daughter was a strong woman that had passion and opinions about the equality of everyone, and she tried to stand up for that, he said. And with her, it wasn’t lip service. It was real.
My daughter’s life. I’m proud of her. Proud of her for standing up, remarked the heartbroken father as he choked back tears, adding she had more courage than I did.
Though he has forgiven his daughters murderer, the hole her death has left in his heart is undoubtedly permanent. Marks simple hope and prayer amidst this tragedy is that Heather’s death not be in vain, but rather act as an agent of change to transform the hearts of others.
I hope that her life and what has transpired changes peoples hearts, their thinking, their understanding of their neighbor, he said. We just need to forgive each other, and I hope that’s what comes out of all this.