A mother who lost her son in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School reached out to help another grieving mother who lost her children after a deadly drunk driving crash.
"There was that moment when we realized people are missing and they're not coming," said Michele Palmieri who is the great aunt of five year old Tatiana and eight year old Lorenzo Cruz, who were both killed when the car they were riding in in Meriden was struck by a drunk driver last month.
Now as the family preparesfor Christmas, Scarlett Lewis, who lost her six year old son, Jesse, when he murdered inside Sandy Hook Elementary School nearly one year ago, is stepping forward to help the Cruz-Schroder family.
Scarlett Lewis said, "I can totally understand the misery that they're feeling. I think I underestimated what the year anniversary, how hard it would be."
The friendship between Palmieri and Lewis began shortly after the Newtown tragedy. Palmieri did not know the Sandy Hook families, but still wanted to pay her respects and went to Jesse's grave. Scarlett saw her there and the two instantly connected. Last month Palmieri called to say her own family was heartsick.
Palmieri said, "there's no coincidences in life. I don't believe in that. Jesse definitely had a hand in all of this."
Lewis wanted to help raise money for the family and held a fundraiser in Meriden Wednesday night, now, now each woman takes turns leaning on each other.
"Compassion is feeling someone's pain but then here's an action component as well. That is doing something to ease another's pain," Lewis said.
If you would like to help the Cruz-Schroder family you can donate at Cruz & Schroder Memorial Fund, care of David R. Cavanaugh, vice president, People's United Bank, 1310 Silas Deane Highway, Wethersfield, CT 06109.
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