The 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newton, Conn. devastated Americans across the country. Of course the hardest hit that day were the parents and families of those that were killed by 20-year-old gunman, Adam Lanza.
In Alissa Parker’s new book, An Unseen Angel: A Mother’s Story of Faith, Hope, and Healing After Sandy Hook, the mother explains the horror, grief and tragedy she felt when she found out her precious six-year-old daughter Emilie was one of the twenty children killed that horrible day in December. Now almost five years later, Parker is explaining how she’s been able to come to terms with the loss of her daughter, a special little girl, who she says is “now growing up in heaven.”
The first step towards forgiveness came unexpectedly when Pete Lanza, the father of the killer asked to meet with her and her husband in March of 2013. In the beginning she wasn’t interested in meeting with him, but decided to go with her husband anyway.
As she reflects about that meeting, she was surprised that she felt touched by a series of emotions including love and compassion towards the father of her daughter’s killer. Lanza even explained who his son was before he acted out like this.
Overall, the experience left the mother “taken aback” and at one point, she said,”I had to stop and cry. I never expected to feel those feelings towards him.” Overall, according to her book, the situation helped her and it also allowed her to release her daughter.
Like all mothers, Parker had hopes and dreams about her daughter’s future. But when she was killed, she knew those memories would have to be buried along with her daughter, but she just couldn’t let go of them. Until she decided to look at life a little differently.
Saying in an interview with PEOPLE that, “I made a bargain with God in my prayers: I wanted to understand Emilie’s new life so that I could let go of the one I had imagined for her.” A struggle that most parents can’t even imagine.
In her new book, she also talks about how she came to understand her daughter’s new life in heaven and the presence of angels. Saying that she’s felt angelically touched by her daughter’s spiritual presence since she passed away almost five years ago.
An experience that has allowed her to find a connection with Emilie again and its one that has given her “…so many unexpected blessings that allow me to feel forgiveness toward the shooter.” Its also a real life “… universal story about finding the light in all the darkness in the world.”
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