Father of Michael Reed shares message of hope and forgiveness
KNOXVILLE, TN (WBIR) -
SEVIER COUNTY (WBIR) - A now empty lot on Wiley Oakley Drive in Gatlinburg is still full of memories for the Reed family, who lost everything in the devastating November fires.
Grant Reed stopped by the once two story home to take a photo for his son Michael Reed, who once lived there with his wife Constance, two daughters Lily and Chloe and son, Nicolas.
"I resign myself to the fact that this is something that we are never going to get over. It's something that the pain is not going to get less on. It's with you all the time," Grant said.
The night of the fires, Michael and Nicolas were untouched while Constance, Lily and Chloe did not survive the firestorm.
"As bad as my pain is, I cannot imagine what Michael’s pain is, he’s still grieving very deeply," his father said.
Since that fateful day, Grant said his son has taken strides to heal.
One example lies in a letter Michael wrote to the two juveniles charged with starting the deadly fire.
The letter said in part, "I forgive you. My son forgives you. My wife and beautiful girls forgive you. We know you didn't mean for this to happen. We know you would take it all back if you could."
Grant said that forgiveness was profound.
"We couldn’t get him to eat and yet, he writes this beautiful letter of forgiveness and it’s like where did that come from. He said it’s what God would want me to do," he added.
Just this week, Michael also announced he is pushing for a bill that would support victims of abuse like his wife Constance, who shared her story of abuse on YouTube.
Michael wants to continue Constance's legacy with "Constance's Bill," a plan that would include a nationwide text line for children to use to reach law enforcement officers day or night.
"If he helps one child, to avoid that, what a miracle that would be," Grant said.
Michael encouraged others on his Facebook post to reach out to their congressmen regarding Constance's Bill.
He posted, "Like this post. Share this post. Spread the word. Write your Congressman and encourage him/her to join our cause. It's time to start the conversation. It's time to make a difference. It's time to tell Constance's story. Together we can change the world, one child at a time."