A mother of a Sandy Hook shooting victim said she's healing and finding hope in a new book on store shelves Tuesday.
Alissa Parker's daughter, 6-year-old Emilie, was one of the 20 students killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
While describing her daughter, she can't help but light up with joy. Emilie was the oldest of her three girls.
"She was rainbow in true life," Alissa Parker said. "She just exuded all of the excitement of life and she was compassionate. She was messy. She was fun-loving and thoughtful."
Emilie was killed on Dec. 14, 2012 when a gunman stormed into the school.
About two years later, Alissa Parker said she was compelled to write her book, An Unseen Angel.
In it, she gave a raw and painful account of the last moments of her daughter's life and how they would become the first steps in her family's journey of coping and forgiveness.
"I didn't realize how much her life would be an example to me in going through this process," Alissa Parker said.
It was a process that eventually led her and her husband Robbie Parker to face the gunman's father.
"He began to explain this history," Alissa Parker said. "I couldn't help but listen, and in some ways it humanized his son for me, and it changed him from this one-dimensional monster he was that day, to see kind of a larger picture of his life."
"We're still forgiving, and that's kind of what allowed us to go from one step to the next," Robbie Parker said.
Alissa Parker said writing the book has allowed them both to celebrate their daughter's life and make some sense of her death.
"What happened to her was ultimately tragic, but her life wasn't tragic. Her life was beautiful," Robbie Parker said.
"If anything, it just gives people hope that there is light in the darkest times," Alissa Parker said.
A portion of the book sales will go toward the Emilie Parker Fund, which helps fund arts in schools and communities.
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