SALT LAKE CITY — Three months after the Newtown, Conn., shooting, many families have continued to grieve in different ways. The mother of one victim has decided to blog about her healing experience.
Emilie Parker, 6, was born in Ogden, and her family moved to Newtown a few months before the shooting occurred. Emilie's father spoke with the media a few days after the tragedy, and now Alissa Parker has begun publicly talking about the experience of losing her daughter in a mass shooting.
Alissa created a blog that she described as "our family's journey through the grieving process after losing our daughter, Emilie Parker, in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting." She named the blog 'The Parker Five' because as Alissa wrote, "we will always be together as a family."
Alissa said that after Emilie was killed, she felt a growing desire to start a blog, not for anyone else, but for herself.
"I wanted it to be my process, and the things I was going through, and I really tried to focus on being authentic to myself," Alissa said.
On the blog, Alissa shares memories of her daughter to remember her by. Days before the Sandy Hook shooting, the two were buying a birthday gift for Emilie's friend, Joey. The party was scheduled for Dec. 15, the day after the shooting happened. On March 6, Alissa wrote:
"Robbie told me there was a list of all the names of the children from the shooting posted on the Internet. I felt sick as I read each name and recognized almost all of them as Emilie's friends. One name in particular stuck out to me; it was Emilie's friend, Josephine Gay, or Joey for short."
Alissa said that writing the stories have not only helped her, but also her family and friends to cope with the loss.
"A lot of people want to know what's going on but they don't want to have to constantly call and ask for updates, but they can feel connected through our process as well," Alissa said.
She also wrote about the experience of traveling to Utah to bury Emilie. Alyssa said the day seemed like a blur.
"I don't remember conversations or decisions I heard that took place," she wrote. "Just fog."
It's still a day at a time. It's going to be a long process.
–Alissa Parker, mother
Each blog entry shows great sadness, but also extraordinary love from a mother blogging to heal.
"I feel like we got the biggest hugs from all those in Utah when we came in a really tough time in our lives," Alyssa said.
One particular blog entry was in the form of a letter written by Emilie's sisters. It read:
"Dear Emilie, I hope that you are fine up in heaven. So I know that you talk in my heart. Love, Madeline."
Alissa said that the grieving process has been difficult and that it will continue for quite some time.
"It's still a day at a time," Alissa said. "It's going to be a long process."