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April 3rd, 2013
05:46 PM ET

Four months later, Newtown victims' families open up

When something like the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, happens, you wonder how in the world the parents ever go on? It has been four months now and the grief and pain is more than evident. But underneath, there is something else.

Noah Pozner loved wearing his brown winter jacket. He brought it to school at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14, the day he and 19 other children were killed.

“It’s the things you hold on to when you have nothing left,” says Noah’s mother, Veronique Pozner.

Noah's parents share their family's story in People Magazine, clutching that same brown coat that a state trooper later tracked down and returned to them. Pozner sums up her grief, saying it's agonizing to see your baby's name on a tombstone.

“Noah was definitely a very vivacious little boy. He loved his family," she says. "He has left an unimaginable void that just is not replaceable.”

Never replaceable, never forgotten and always loved is the story of these families. As hard as it is to contemplate, they wanted to share that out of this horrific tragedy comes goodness and light.

Nicole Hockley, mother of Dylan, who was just 6 years old at the time of the shooting, says she has seen the worst the world has to offer and the best. Her son died in the arms of teacher aide Anne Marie Murphy.

“To know that she was trying to protect him and was with him at the end has provided some comfort,” she tells People, “because to know that he wasn’t alone and that even in those last moments he was with someone who truly loved him and cared for him and that she was looking after him.”

Daniel Barden was 7 years old. His sister holds his last letter to Santa. He didn't ask for toys, he just wanted to see Santa and the reindeer. His father, Mark Barden, says his son’s legacy was his beautiful heart.

“He really did think of other people,” he says. “He held doors for perfect strangers. He was kind and affectionate.” Daniel’s mother, Jackie, adds, “he was nice to anyone he met.”

His family wants people to remember not what happened at Sandy Hook elementary, but these words: "What would Daniel do?" They have started a Facebook page to encourage people to adopt a practice of kindness.

Other Newtown families have found ways for their children to be remembered. Catherine Hubbard loved animals so much she made business cards that read "Catherine's Animal Shelter, Catherine Hubbard, caretaker to the animals." Her family has started an animal shelter in her honor

Single mother Scarlett Lewis still feels moments of profound grief. But she also feels immense love.

“I feel my purpose is to perpetuate the message that has been created, basically, by this tragedy, which is choosing love,” she says. "You see signs all over this town – Newtown and Sandy Hook choose love."

She stayed with family immediately after learning of her son Jesse's death. But when she returned home she found a message scribbled in child’s writing that said “Nurturing Healing Love." Lewis has started an organization called JesseLewisChooselove.org. Others have formed similar groups.

If you are interested in helping the families of Newtown victims, please visit these individual efforts for more information:

Daniel Bargen | Facebook.com/WhatWouldDanielDo
Olivia Engel | newtownparkandbark.org
Josephine Gay dougflutiejrfoundation.org/Donate-Joeys-Fund.asp
Dylan Hockley dylanhockley.com 
Catherine Hubbard theanimalcenter.org/sanctuary
Jesse Lewis jesselewischooselove.org
Emilie Parker emilieparkerfund.com
Noah Pozner noahpozner.org
Jessica Rekos teamjessicarekos.org

RELATED: People Magazine Managing Editor Larry Hackett discusses why it was so important to revisit this tragedy. (VIDEO)

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Filed under: Connecticut School Shooting • Newtown
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. James

    the time has come to remove the 2nd amendment so we can put an end to the idiocracy of america, where the lower gene pools survives the higher one by having this outdated law allowing them easy access to weapons much like a pez machine.

    April 4, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • Jack Rivera

      The only "VOID" I see are in the heads of the CT legislature that thinks any of these laws will make a difference. DO NOT REGISTER ANY WEAPONS, they only want to take them from you. The 2nd Amendment is what makes America so much better than the puppet states in the EU.

      April 4, 2013 at 10:56 am |
  2. John

    I just hope change will come. Not with gun laws but how we protect this vital commodity, the youth of this nation. As we speak someones kid is being programmed to accept violence and drug abuse. It in the music, televison, videogames, and movies. We as a nation have fallen from are once moral country. Now war is the standard with no end in sight. Thank Nato for giving us agenda 21, global weapons ban,and the occational peaceful bombings of countries around the world killing unknown amounts of children of other countries. I feel very much for the Sandy Hook familys'. But with this much violence in the world we have to protect ourselves from others.

    April 4, 2013 at 8:50 am |
  3. tepeters

    Every American stands with them. In contrast we have Congress backing away from simple gun controls in the face of this horrific act, this slaughter of childhood innocence. It is the greatest shame that could be inflicted on this country after the tragedy itself.

    April 4, 2013 at 8:26 am |
    • Joy Kiesling

      to Tepeters. ,Do you really believe that stronger gun laws will keep the weapons out of the hands of criminals and crazies ? Our hearts all bleed for the people there and the babies lost but get it through your head these kind of people do not obey laws and they WILL get their hands on a gun.What would have stopped him was someone inside the school who was armed and could have killed him as he broke through the door. End of story.

      April 7, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  4. dylanesq@msn.com

    Sending lots of love to all the families and much admiration to all that brought about this bill.

    April 4, 2013 at 7:50 am |
  5. MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH THE FAMILIES OF NEWTOWN

    You all are an inspiration to America. God bless you all!

    April 4, 2013 at 7:10 am |
    • Jack Rivera

      They seem more like liberal puppets to me.

      April 4, 2013 at 10:58 am |
  6. Thor

    I take issue with the politics of taking advantage of the loss of life, especially that of children, the grieving of mothers and fathers; in order to publicize an agenda. Law enforcement, of course, enforces the law, but, not at the expense of violating the oath taken upon swearing in to uphold the Constitution. The Supreme Court has made a ruling on gun ownership, and what it means, as defined by the Constitution. To circumvent that, will, absolutely, as defined time and time again in history, it will circumvent the ability of the nation to defend thousands of more lives. Each time where the rights of a people were trodden upon, in the honorable intent of "protecting the children" more life was lost... much more than a hundred children.

    April 4, 2013 at 6:59 am |
  7. lerianis

    Not really unimaginable. I have some friends and relatives who have died naturally recently and I miss them as much or more than I missed the one who died in a violent crime.

    April 4, 2013 at 5:36 am |
    • Smh

      Another strange comment. Some of the people making these absurd comments just seem to be lacking something. I despair for humanity.

      April 7, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
  8. Fiona

    Everyone mourns in their own ways, but for me the People Magazine piece is way over the top. As was much of the media coverage immediately after the massacre - interviews with and profiles of just two or three of the more media hungry families.

    April 4, 2013 at 2:14 am |
  9. LT

    What a horrific thing to experience as a parent. So senseless...so sad...and unfortunately, becoming more common here in the U.S. They will need much strength and support as they continue to grieve.

    April 4, 2013 at 12:36 am |
  10. tony

    One day, but not soon unfortunately, more and more ignorant people will come to realize that a gun is not a defensive weapon.

    April 4, 2013 at 12:26 am |
  11. mountainlady

    These people have such amazing courage. They are an inspiration. I spend a good portion of my day being politically active in the fight to get some rational gun regulation in the US and I usually end up angry and frustrated. These families in Newtown humble me because they are reminding me of all the kindness and compassion there is in the US. Thanks to their inspiration I'm ending my day remembering all the real strengths of America instead of its weaknesses. Thank you. My prayers are with them.

    April 4, 2013 at 12:24 am |
  12. Sunil

    This is hard to get over, even for strangers such as I. I can only imagine what the parents must be going through. It has been a few months and I still can't shake away the thought of these sweet little children.

    My goodness. Oh my goodness.

    What have we become?

    Sweet little six and seven year old babies.

    We are so sorry, little children. Please forgive us.

    April 4, 2013 at 12:19 am |
  13. NorCalMojo

    Tragedies like this aren't forgotten. The town will be haunted by grief and survivors guilt for two more generations at least.

    April 3, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
  14. Joe Smith

    There are simply no words to describe the pain I feel for these families. To see a mother clutching a brown coat of her child that was senslessly gunned down during the holiday season just causes me intense pain. This was just an absolutely horrific experience and no parent should have to go through this.

    I wish there was something I could do but all I can do is keep these families in my mind and hope that this never happens again. What a sad day. I know it is not as many lives lost as 9./11 but this one sticks in my mind just as much as that day.

    April 3, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
  15. Nicholas Smith

    A few notes on Gun Background Checks.

    A Russian Officer once said that, "...The only reason we didn't attack you was that you can't get

    two Americans to agree on anything, and you're all heavily armed."

    Gun Background Checks would probably be acceptable to the anti-gun control folks if it could be

    guaranteed that the weapon serial numbers are not included in the Gun Background Checks.

    What is a "Gun Background Check?" A Gun Background Check is a request for buyer personal history

    information from the gun dealer to the law enforcement agency of the Federal Government Bureau of

    Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). The purchaser and dealer complete a Federal Form 4473, and

    NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System). If the person wanting to buy the gun is

    cleared by the ATF then the gun dealer is by law allowed to sell them the gun.

    The problem for anti-gun control folks is that the Gun Background Check is tied to the serial

    number of the gun, and the anti-gun control folks believe that the government cannot have that

    information that they consider a violation of their 2nd Amendment Rights.

    This is worth repeating.

    Make no mistake, Gun Background Checks are de facto Gun Registration. The dealer keeps the Gun

    Background Check Forms, but the gun serial numbers are forever tied to the buyer through these

    Forms, and in case of invasion, the first thing the enemy would do is to get those Forms then to

    get the weapons. Just like in the movie "Red Dawn." And, a disarmed public is an enslaved public.

    Now, if you doubt this Gun Background Check information, call your local gun dealer and ask about

    it.

    Gun Registration is unconstitutional, therefore de facto Gun Registration Gun Background Checks are

    unconstitutional. QED.

    April 3, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
  16. Sue

    The class and courage shown by these parents of murdered children shines. As an example to all of. Us who believe in the basic goodness of civilized people. Just wish the NRA and their followers had some of these qualities rather than their own greed and paranoia.

    April 3, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
  17. Martha

    As a parent, it is heartbreaking to even imagine their grief. I hope and pray that the compassion of the world expressed to them is a small comfort

    April 3, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
  18. Nate

    I'm certain that there are charitable/remembrance efforts associated with the other families who lost children (and adults) in this tragedy, not just the ones who agreed to participate in this People magazine article. It seems like it would be appropriate for CNN to provide links to them all, corporate synergy or not.

    April 3, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
  19. Sharon

    I am so impressed and It moves me deeply to see how each of the bereaved families honor their beloved children with so much love.
    There is a long journey ahead and I wish all of the families much strength and peace.
    'in thoughts of the families from: Sharon (bereaved Mom, to Beloved Son Joshua).

    April 3, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • Sunil

      Dear Sharon – so very sorry about your loss.

      April 4, 2013 at 12:20 am |

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