SALT LAKE CITY -- A mother of a child killed during a school shooting wrote a book to heal.
The book, "An Unseen Angel: A Mother's Story of Healing and Hope after Sandy Hook,’ Alissa Parker says at times writing the book was like reliving the tragedy of losing her daughter.
Emilie Parker was one of the 20 first graders and six adults killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting in Newton, Connecticut in 2012.
Alissa said the book was dedicated to her daughter Emilie, who would have turned ten years old in the second week of May.
“It was a lot of dark days in the beginning,” Alissa said. “I remember wondering, ‘was everything I believed real?’ ‘Was everything I thought and believed enough?’ And in that moment, I thought losing her was so intense I needed something more.”
Healing that seemed impossible but as time went by she saw miracles. In her book, ‘Unseen Angels’ Alissa chronicles her journey of healing.
“They were just hard places to go and it was challenging to make myself go there but at the same time I couldn't believe the difference it made in my healing,” Alissa said. “It wasn’t just a dark shadow that was cast over our family that there was so much light to be seen and that was really beautiful,” Alissa said.
Alissa also describes the moment she met the shooter's father.
“Seeing him through his father's eyes humanized him. It made him more than just that day and the monster he had become,” Alissa said.
She says small moments and miracles helped her find forgiveness.
“Slowly it began to soften my heart as those experiences unfolded,” Alissa said.
Hope is what Alissa wants readers to take away she says that's what Emilee would have wanted.
“I think she would be proud of the way I chose to write her story,” Alissa said. “This world is a beautiful place and there's so many things we can feel if we look for that light instead of dwelling on those dark places.”
Alissa said she published the book now because, to her, spring is symbolic to her experience winter is gone, the darkness has left and now spring represents new beginnings.