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Healing begins after Grand Rapids' mass murder | News

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Healing begins after Grand Rapids' mass murder

GRAND RAPIDS- (WZZM) - The victims of last week's mass murder in Grand Rapids are being remembered.

On Wednesday, funeral services were held for three of the victims. A celebration of life service for the remaining four victims is set for Friday.

Wednesday night, city leaders and community members gathered in the Creston neighborhood in hopes of beginning the healing process.

More than 150 people filled the pews at Second Congregational United Church of Christ, just a few blocks away from the home where three lives were lost.

Edye Evans-Hyde set the tone for the event by singing, "My Soul is Weary," describing the feelings of many who attended.

Several local leaders spoke, including Grand Rapids city commissioner Rosalynn Bliss.

"We're here tonight to be together," said Bliss. "We're here tonight for [the Creston community]; we're here to support you and be with you, as together, we begin this journey of healing."

It's a journey nobody in attendance Wednesday night expected to have to take. But Creston neighbors feel like last Thursday's events have created a new normal, and the healing gathering was their new beginning.

Grand Rapids Police Chief Kevin Belk received a standing ovation from the crowd when he took the podium. It was the community's way of thanking the man who handled last week's tragic events to the best of his abilities.

"Our heavy hearts and our prayers continue to those families and friends and neighbors whose lives have been shattered, "said Belk. "We share in their grief."

Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell was the final speaker. He told the community members that he felt like his personal healing began that night.

"For the first time, I started to cry," said Heartwell, who appeared shaken while standing at the pulpit.  "You see, I've had my 'strong mayor face' on since last Thursday."

"If we cry, we cry," added Heartwell. "If we can find a place to laugh, we laugh, because that's okay, too; that's all part of what it means to heal."

When the service concluded, grief counselors from Pine Rest were on hand to meet one-on-one with anyone who needed support.