Sheehan

Hope lives in bereft dad

Staff WriterMarch 17, 2008 

In the cacophony of voices that have spoken out, mournfully, angrily, since Eve Carson's death, one group has been conspicuously absent: her family.

Father, mother, brother. They have not wanted to talk to the press. I respect that.

Some families in tragedy find a cathartic release in sharing their pain. Others are more private.

But at Eve Carson's funeral service in Athens, Ga., a week ago Sunday, prepared remarks from her father were read aloud. Those simple, soulful words tell you all you need to know about the family that produced a young woman as accomplished, and compassionate, as Eve Carson.

Bob Carson opened by describing a love affair that began the first moment he and his infant daughter locked eyes.

"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."

If only every child experienced that sort of unconditional love.

Carson wrote:

"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 they've got the building blocks and the character for a good life. I feel blessed because I had that moment with both 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."

Carson described the senseless murder of his child as "sadness defined, unfathomable and bottomless." Even in the face of that pain, however, Carson expressed hope that his daughter's peers will be the ones to solve the most pressing problems of the times.

"I see a stunningly beautiful convergence of talent and caring in this, our children's, generation. ... 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?"

Something to consider as students gather in the Dean Dome tomorrow to celebrate Eve Carson's life.

In a church packed with mourners, Carson's remarks echoed many of the themes his daughter did, in word and action. They are words to remember as our community confronts the violence that ended Eve Carson's life.

Bob Carson noted that the roots of crime, and the pain of violence, are dilemmas that have been shuffled from one generation to the next -- until now.

"... 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."

ruth.sheehan@newsobserver.com or (919) 829-4828

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