Seven years ago this week, Charles Roberts, 32, opened fire inside an Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Lancaster County.
Five girls died and five girls survived the attack. Roberts then turned the gun on himself. Now, his wife at the time is breaking her silence in a new book, in the hopes of helping others cope with difficult events in their lives.
The anniversaries are always difficult for Marie Monville. Every October 2nd takes her back to that day in 2006, when she was Marie Roberts and married to Charles Roberts.
“He walked to the bus stop with the children that morning, and kissed them and told them that he loved them,” she said. “There was just no way to know that the day was going to take such a drastic turn.”
Later that day, she would learn that her husband barricaded himself inside a one-room Amish schoolhouse just a mile from their home.
At the end of his shooting rampage, five girls were dead and five others were critically wounded. In the hours, days and weeks following, she turned to her faith.
“While I couldn’t figure out how God was going to rescue us, or what he was going to do to overcome these circumstances, I knew that he would and I had to believe that there was more for us beyond that moment,” Monville said.
One thing that struck Monville and the world was that hours after the horror, a group from the Amish community, still grieving themselves, came to comfort her and her family.
“That was such a life-giving moment, where I felt released from the burden of trying to explain Charlie’s actions and instead released into a path of healing,” she said.
Healing is what she hopes to offer to others through her book, “One Light Still Shines: My Life Beyond the Shadow of the Amish Schoolhouse Shooting.”
In the book, she details how she was able to emerge from the darkest moment of her life.
“Trust and believe that it doesn’t matter how big the mountain is in front of you or how deep the valley seems, that you know, it’s not the end of your life,” Monville said. “There is hope.”
Monville’s book is available in stores and online now.