After grieving family members spoke, well-wishers released 600 balloons, 100 for each life lost, into the bright Texas sky.
"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times," said 15-year-old Cassidy Stay, the mass murder sole survivor citing the wizard Dumbledore from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as she memorialized her family, "if one only remembers to turn on the light."
These were Cassidy Stay's first public words on the tragedy since, authorities say, her aunt's former husband forced his way into the Stay home, looking for his ex-wife, and then killed both of her parents and all four of her siblings. He alleged asked each where he could find his ex-wife and then, when they did not know, killed them one by one with gunshots to the back of the head. Cassidy managed to deflect a bullet with her hand, losing her finger but saving her own life, and then played dead until her family's killer departed. Although injured, Cassidy survived and then most likely saved many other lives by calling 911 and warning them that the murderer might be on his way to her grandparents' house to keep killing. A long standoff with police ended in the suspect's arrest.
Discharged from the hospital and expected to make a full recovery, Cassidy has told friends and family that she felt like angels had helped her make it through. “She said it felt as though those angels were there with her,” her grandfather Roger Lyon related, “putting their hands over her mouth, whispering to her to ‘be quiet.’”
After quoting the fictional Albus Dumbledore, Hogwarts' headmaster in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels, Cassidy went on to say, "I know that my mom, dad, Bryan, Emily, Becca, and Zach are in a much better place and that I'll be able to see them again one day. Thank you all for coming and for showing support for me and my family. Stay strong."
I have nothing more to add. Cassidy's courage, her resilience, and her choice of words during and after tragedy few of us can truly comprehend all speak for themselves.
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You can reach me through Twitter as @Superherologist or find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BatmanBelfry.