My thoughts on Roanoke

 By Heather Nelson

Yesterday started out like any other day for me. “Stockholm Syndrome” by One Direction blared through my phone, a reminder that it was time to start the day. I silenced the alarm and opened Twitter. The next few moments were not like any other day.

Alison Parker and Adam Ward thought it was any other day, too. They woke up before the sun, I’m sure, and followed their next assignment. A feature story on a resort in Moneta, Va. Nothing scary there. It was just a normal day, a normal story. Moments later, Parker and Ward were attacked.

Thanks to auto-play, I saw this horrific event unfold before my eyes. I heard the shots ring out — seemingly coming from nowhere. I saw the panicked look on Parker’s face. I heard her shrill, distressed screams. And then, black.

I will never be able to erase this scene from my mind. I placed myself in the shoes of the anchor back at the studio. How could I pretend like my heart didn’t just jump out of my chest? How could I mutter any words? How could I restrain tears from sliding down my cheek? How could I continue on with my work day?

All of these things happened to me as an observer — an observer who doesn’t know these reporters personally. Yet, it seemed all too real…too applicable to my life.

As a journalist, I could’ve easily been in that situation. I’ve covered so many different stories that I’m almost naive to any danger around me. I’m used to being out of my comfort zone. I’m choosing to avoid reporting from war-torn countries, or something of the like. But that doesn’t mean that I’m “safe.” Life is funny that way. And life is cruel.

Anytime a shooting happens, we hear the same things over again. “Tell someone you love them today.” “Hug your loved ones a little tighter.” “Life is short.” “We need to do something about this.” And after every shooting, or tragic event, these things are repeated. But, do we really take these words to heart? Do we really live each day like our last? Are we still holding on to some grudge — a grudge with someone from 10 years ago? Do we tell the ones we love that we love them? Appreciate them? It shouldn’t take a tragedy to take these things to heart. It shouldn’t take a tragedy to put forth our best self. It shouldn’t take a tragedy to live life fully.

My heart is heavy for the ones who love Parker and Ward dearly. Based on the things that I’ve read about the journalists, the pair is adored by not only their family and friends but also the community. To Roanoke (and surrounding areas), this is the time to support each other. To remember that human lives are special. To remember to lean on one another. To lift up one another.

These are the times that I tend to look toward our Heavenly Father for comfort. Take your pain to Him. Let Him love Alison and Adam; let Him guide His beloved children home.

Rest in peace, Alison and Adam. You are loved and missed. Prayers to Vicki Gardner for her continued recovery.

Ward-Parker“Dream as if you’ll live forever.  Live as if you’ll die today.” — James Dean

**Original image found on Twitter, this image taken from Google images**

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