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Pray for families left behind

It has been a year since eight people were ruthlessly murdered in Lincoln County. For the community, it’s a night that will forever mark us. For the families of the victims, it’s a night that will forever define their lives and their futures.

On the one-year anniversary of that night, we sought to tell the stories of the victims and how their friends and families are persevering through unimaginable circumstances. We also sought to honor the victims in a way that would bring a measure of comfort to the families.

We are grateful for their willingness to tell their stories. We hope this edition of the newspaper can serve as a keepsake for them, a way to help them remember and honor their loved ones.

We realize there is nothing we — or anyone — could ever do to ease the pain they must feel. That’s something only God can handle. But we hope the opportunity to remember their loved ones — to tell stories about how they laughed and how they lived, to honor them through these stories — will provide some peace.  

We hope it also gives the community a glimpse into their lives. Knowing their sorrow and pain allows all of us to share in it just a bit. When we do, we are reminded to pray for them, to love them, to honor them and to do our best to help them.

While the tragedy is one the entire community felt and struggled to understand, it is also a deeply personal one for the families of the survivors. Long after the casseroles stopped coming and the sympathy cards stopped arriving, these families had to face life without beloved spouses, children, parents, uncles, aunts — and for many people, good friends.

That loss is not one we can understand. It’s a pain that only they know and they bear it together. One of the family members described her husband as “irreplaceable.” That description is how we chose to honor the victims on the front page today. To each of the family members, the victims are irreplaceable.

They need our prayers this weekend. If you do nothing else after reading their stories, ask God to provide the peace that only he can.