Life After Newtown Shooting: Families Share Their Stories
They still reach for little hands that are no longer there. They dream of their warm hugs, hoping not to wake up.
For parents of the 20 first-graders from Sandy Hook Elementary School whose lives were cruelly cut short on Dec. 14 their grief knows no bounds.
“We’ve been given an impossible life to live,” says Jessica Rekos’s mother Krista. “I don’t know how to live my life without my little girl.”
At home, many of their siblings keep their memories alive. Daniel Barden’s sister, Natalie, is keeping a journal of stories for her brother. Josephine Gay’s two older sisters look through old videos to listen to her laugh.
And when Noah Pozner‘s sister, Sophia, recently put together a Lego spaceship, she announced: “Noah helped me put it together.”
“Maybe the barrier adults see is more fluid for children,” says her mother Veronique Pozner. “I hope that lasts.”
While their grief is unending, the families seen here on exclusive PEOPLE videos try to focus on positive change and share their hope that, as Brian Engel, father of Olivia Engel, says, “Something good can come from this tragedy.”
Says Catherine Hubbard’s mother, Jenny, “We’ve received this outpouring of love and compassion. We can’t forget that humanity is good.”
To that end, many have now starting charities in their children’s name. “We have to make her dream come true,” says Hubbard, who is building an animal sanctuary for their daughter, “because she can’t do it herself.”
They have a profound lesson to share. “I have seen the worst the world has to offer and I’ve also seen the best,” says Dylan Hockley’s mother Nicole. “And from what I’ve seen, the good outweighs the bad.”
To learn more about each family’s efforts, here are links to their websites:
• Daniel Barden: www.facebook.com/WhatWouldDanielDo
• Olivia Engel: www.newtownparkandbark.org
• Josephine Gay: www.dougflutiejrfoundation.org/Donate-Joeys-Fund.asp
• Dylan Hockley: www.dylanhockley.com
• Catherine Hubbard: www.theanimalcenter.org/sanctuary
• Jesse Lewis: www.jesselewischooselove.org
• Emilie Parker: www.emilieparkerfund.com
• Noah Pozner: www.noahpozner.org
• Jessica Rekos: www.teamjessicarekos.org