PEARLAND, Texas (FOX 26) - A mother in Pearland wants to offer support for the parents in Santa Fe whose children were murdered in last week’s tragic school shooting. Opal Hill can unfortunately relate.
“Losing a child is totally unthinkable,” says Hill.
Her daughter Arrijana Hill’s beautiful face can now only be seen in pictures and memories. Shortly after leaving Glenda Dawson High School, the 16-year-old was strangled and stabbed inside her home in a gated Pearland neighborhood by a boy from school she was dating. Police say Ryan Matthews murdered Arrijana because she was pregnant and he didn’t want to give up going to college.
"I totally didn’t feel anything initially because I was in such disbelief of it actually happening because it was so senseless," Hill says.
Opal Hill’s daughter was murdered in March 2014. Now Hill hopes her words will help parents in Santa Fe whose children were killed as they simply attended school. “It’s very hard to move through it but you can get through it."
Hill says talking about Arrijana and the memories they shared has helped tremendously and so does knowing others care. For instance, her church put up a massive mural and a bake shop in her daughter’s honor.
“My husband was just saying the other day he just kind of stood there and looked. There was no one inside and he just spent time in there,” Hill says.
Hill is also encouraging the Santa Fe parents to allow themselves to grieve and to lean heavily on their faith.
“Just know that when you look up to God He’s going to be there and He’s going to hold your hand," Hill says. "He’s going to guide you through into your next phase because there is a next phase."
That phase, according to Hill, is when reality hits that your life will never be the same. "It becomes so realistic. It’s just like slapping you in the face but it becomes a little easier."
This mom who’s still in mourning even four years later says one bible verse in particular has helped. "Romans 15 and 33. Just thinking on the peace of God."
She started a non-profit organization, the ACH Rainbow Foundation, in her daughter’s honor. “It blesses my heart and makes me smile.”
Santa Fe, Mrs. Hill wants you to know you too will make it over those emotional hurdles and will be there to help someone else someday.
"I’m in a place where I can say now I live in honor of my daughter," Hill says.