After my daughter Emilie was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I knew my life had changed forever. In the aftermath of the shooting, things happened that I expected to experience and many other things occurred that would have been impossible to imagine. Choosing to share part of my story with others by writing a book was not an easy decision and did not come naturally for me. However, over the last four years a lot has been said about Newtown, CT, and Sandy Hook Elementary. Most people have heard only about the events surrounding that tragic day or the subsequent political divisiveness. They don’t realize that there have been some inspiring moments, too.
Shortly after the shooting, I began to record my experiences with the intention of sharing them with Emilie’s younger sisters, who were only four and three years old. I wanted to give them something pure and honest, something that would tell them the WHOLE story of what our family has been through. I went on to share some stories on my personal blog. But as time went on and the collection of stories grew, I realized that this was not my story to tell, it was Emilie’s. Looking back, I can see how our angel guided us away from the suffocating darkness and helped us see the light.
This book, An Unseen Angel, is about more than what happened on that fateful day. It is about the life that was first given, appreciated, and loved before it was taken away. It is about recognizing and finding those connections that were made long before and extend far beyond December 14, 2012.
In one of the last conversations I had with Emilie, she tried gleefully to help me see the connections in a stencil pattern on her wall. “Mom, do you see the connections? They are all around us!” Through the years, those words have led me on a quest to find, recognize, and appreciate the connections that surround all of us. When people learn that my daughter was one of the Sandy Hook victims, they connect her with the painful and negative emotions associated with that one event. That always surprises me because in reality her life was joyful, full of bright colors and lots of love. In fact, her life is so much more than what happened inside of that school and has nothing to do with what transpired afterward. My hope in sharing our story is that others who find themselves in dark places can discover the unseen angels in their lives helping them turn to the light.