How much more grief?

Emily Hilscher and Jack. Courtesy photo

As a community, every day is a good day to remember our dear Emily Hilscher, who we lost in the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech ten years ago.

Emily, an effervescent beauty, will not be forgotten. She was passionate with an unending enthusiasm when she taught my girls, Lucy and Harper, how to ride horses when they were quite young. They took lessons from Emily alongside her own trainer, Moody Aylor, in Woodville. I often looked to her mother, Beth, for parenting advice as her girls, Emily and Erica, were the same thirteen months apart as my two. Through the years Beth never missed asking me about them, finding joy in watching them as they grew. On the day of Emily’s Life Celebration, Beth spoke to over a thousand people gathered at our high school football field, gracefully teaching us courage, hope, and strength at an inexpressibly mournful time.

In recognition of how deeply Emily touched our hearts, it makes me wonder how much more grief do we need to experience in our families, in our communities, and in our world to stop gun violence and/or other forms of violence from injuring or taking the life of such innocent and passionate beings.

Emily Jane Hilscher, a freshman animal and poultry sciences major, was the beloved daughter of Eric and Elizabeth Hilscher, best friend and sister of Erica, and granddaughter of Gilman and Mary Carlson and Carl and Merle Hilscher.

Her hometown was Woodville, and she was a graduate of Rappahannock County High School, Class of 2006. She was a skilled horsewoman, animal lover, enthusiastic cook, and imaginative artisan. Emily was always wise beyond her years and insisted on fairness in everything. She was eternally trying to save someone or something. She wanted people to be happy.

Emily was the first of 32 people to die at the university on April 16, 2007.

Brenda Van Ness
Gid Brown Hollow

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1 Comment

  1. I’ll never forget that horrible day and I’ll never forget that rare and beautiful young woman. Thank you, Brenda, for writing such a moving and informative letter.

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