When I walked into Claire Davis’s house Michael and Desiree warmly greeted me. We were strangers, but only for a few moments. In the midst of the tragedy of their daughter’s death, they sat me down at their kitchen table and wrapped me in their love.
Their kitchen is modest. A wooden table and fireplace that give a cabin like feel to it. Above the kitchen sink a large wooden plaque hangs. It’s been in the family for years. It’s their motto, that which they live by. It very simply states “Love One Another.” Michael said it was how they raised their kids. They taught Claire and Alex that thay were to always be third. God first, friends second, themselves third. I smiled, “Brian’s Song.” “Yes! You know the movie.” “Of course I do. It was the first movie that made me cry.”
“Love one another,” “I am third.” It was how they raised their children; it’s how the Davis’s will raise us. It was their sense of compassion and grace that propelled them towards forgiveness. The statement that Michael read at Claire’s memorial service will, and should, echo in our hearts. Like the candle light that spread through the coliseum, it should now spread throughout the world.
Michael has given me permission to publish his statement. I simply ask that you read it, copy it on your FB page, and send it directly to at least one person that you know needs to hear this. Then ask them to send it to one person.
I believe in my heart of hearts that we can end school shootings. There is only one way, compassion. Simply stated it’s learning how to, “Love one another” and creating a mindset that says, “I am third.”
My name is Michael Davis, and this is my wife Desiree. We’re Claire’s parents.
Thank you for joining us in this celebration of Claire’s life. Thank you all for upholding us, and our son Alexander, in your thoughts and prayers throughout this difficult time. We have never personally experienced the strength that comes from the collective thoughts and prayers of so many souls, and we are deeply humbled. We cannot imagine going through this without all of you who are holding us up.
Thank you Deputy James Englert, for not only fulfilling your duty with the utmost bravery, but for following your heart that led you down an empty corridor to find Claire. Thank you Rod Mauler and Darrell Meredith, who risked your lives by carrying Claire to safety while you were unarmed in an unsecured and dangerous area. Thank you to the paramedics from Fire Station #15, who arrived on-scene within minutes and rushed Claire to the hospital. Thank you to the emergency room trauma team at Littleton Adventist Hospital that had Claire in the operating room within minutes of her arrival there. Because of the heroic efforts of these first responders, Claire was in the operating room and having emergency surgery to save her life within less than 30 minutes of being shot. Thank you to all the doctors, nurses and staff at Littleton Adventist Hospital that cared for Claire and our family 24-hours a day until Claire passed away 8 days later. From the time Claire was shot until the time she passed away, she was in the arms of angels. We are deeply grateful to all of you.
Claire was full of life and love. She had a wonderful sense of humor and she loved to laugh. She laughed with her entire being, and she made other people laugh freely and without reserve. She was child-like, but not childish. She had learned that to love is to live. She had learned to love others, to respect others, to not judge, to accept herself, and to accept other people’s differences. She had learned that to receive she had to give. She had learned what it meant to be a friend, and to have friends. She was learning to follow her bliss. She was becoming a woman of grace and inner beauty.
This world was better with her in it, and the world has truly lost a shining light by her passing. Claire was a gift to her mother and me, and although we desperately wanted to hold onto this gift, we are learning to accept the fact that it was time for us to return this gift to the giver. Desiree, Alexander, and I miss her immensely, yet we are deeply committed to keeping the loving and knowing of Claire alive in our hearts and in our day-to-day lives. The uniqueness of this precious soul has touched many. Her influence and light is ours to keep, and we will not let death take that from us.
The young man that shot Claire had a name. His name was Karl Pierson. For reasons most or all of us will never know, Karl allowed himself to become filled with anger, rage, and hatred. That anger, rage and hatred blinded him. He blindly followed a path that led him to do something that no one should ever do – he took an innocent person’s life. He took our daughter’s life.
Claire’s last words are poignant and profound: “Oh my gosh, Karl, what are you doing?” The fact is that Karl was so blinded by his emotions that he didn’t know what he was doing. In her most innocent and precious way, Claire tried to shine a light on Karl’s darkness.
My wife and I forgive Karl Pierson for what he did, because he didn’t know what he was doing. We would ask all of you here, and all of you watching, to search your hearts and also forgive Karl Pierson — he didn’t know what he was doing.
Karl is no longer with us, so it’s no longer our responsibility to pass judgment. As each of us will do one day, Karl has faced the infinite alone.
Unchecked anger and rage can lead to hatred, and unchecked hatred can lead to tragedy, blindness, and a loss of knowing — a loss of humanity. The last thing that Desiree and I would want is to perpetuate anger, rage and hatred in connection with Claire. Claire would also not want this. As citizens of our community, the State of Colorado, our nation, and the world, we must strive for kindness, compassion, peace and love to maintain our humanity. We can’t allow anger, rage or hatred to take root, now or ever. As we all move forward with our lives, we would ask you to join with us and honor Claire by forever showing compassion and forgiveness, and using whatever is within your power to reach out to those around you that might need the light of your love to help guide them through the darkness.
We can all realize Claire’s last words in our own lives by asking ourselves in those times when we are less than loving… “gosh, what am I doing…?” It would honor us deeply if you would consider this.
Death has an attitude that all is lost, yet the truth is otherwise. Desiree and I are working to make this experience serve us by keeping love alive and vital in our lives. The essence of true forgiveness is to repeatedly choose to love consciously and make love more important than hate, despair, or fear. By expressing love, compassion and forgiveness in our daily lives, we will honor Claire and keep our hearts focused there. Perhaps as a community, we can consciously choose to raise the bar of our individual standards and create a positive and empowering meaning to this and all of our experiences.
This is our heartfelt commitment.
Again, thank you for celebrating Claire’s life with us today. And thank you to Mr. Paul Andrews and the National Western Stock Show for making this facility available to us so that this celebration could be possible.
Share this around the world. Fly Claire’s angels, fly!