Newtown Shooting Touches Pacific Family

It is with the deepest sadness that we learned this weekend that Robbie Parker PA ’10 lost his 6-year-old daughter, Emilie, in Friday’s shooting in Connecticut.

Robbie and his family moved to Newtown eight months ago, when he began work as a physician assistant at Danbury Hospital. He and his wife also have two younger daughters.

Robbie shared memories of Emilie publicly this weekend, saying that she “would be one of the first ones to be standing and giving support to all the victims, because that’s the kind of kid she is.” Later, he delivered a message to the shooter's family: "I can't imagine how hard this experience must be for you, and I want you to know that our family and our love and our suport goes out to you as well."

We are reminded, as we learn of Emilie’s death, that even at 3,000 miles away, we all have some connection to Newtown as members of a global community. We all share in the shock and grief of this attack on our most innocent and most vulnerable. We all look for answers, though there are none. We all hug our children and other loved ones a little tighter as we are reminded how precious and fragile life can be.

And we all look for something to brighten our world again.

Emilie, Robbie said, loved to make special cards to lift up people around her who were feeling sad or frustrated.

In that memory, I challenge each of us to do more than just look for the good — I challenge us to be that good. In the coming days and weeks of the holiday season, take the opportunity to brighten a day, to give a hand, or to share a smile.

We cannot undo the evil that took place in Newtown last week, and we cannot bring back the lives that were lost. But we can join together in more than grief — we can share in hope for a world where such tragedies do not occur.

Lesley M. Hallick

Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012