Blog helps Utah family deal with loss of daughter in Newtown shooting

Published: Sunday, March 10 2013 4:10 p.m. MDT

Alissa Parker started a blog to help her process her thoughts and emotions over the loss of her daughter, 6-year-old Emilie Parker. Emilie was shot and killed Dec. 14, 2012, during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Alissa Parker

OGDEN — Just how much Alissa Parker misses her 6-year-old daughter Emilie Parker is evident from her blog.

“I feel her often. I feel her influence even now,” she wrote on the website called The Parker Five. She created the blog to help process her thoughts during a painful and confusing time.

On Dec. 14, 2012, a man shot and killed 26 people, almost all of them children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Among them was 6-year-old Emilie Parker, the daughter of Robbie and Alyssa Parker who grew up in the Ogden area. They buried Emilie in Ogden's Myers Evergreen Memorial Park.

The family titled the blog The Parker Five because: “We will always be together.” Alissa Parker said she is taking things one day at a time and knows it’s going to be long healing process for her and her family.

During a phone interview from Newtown, she told the Deseret News she had a growing desire to begin a blog, not for anyone else but for herself.

“I felt like there were things that I needed to process and there were things I needed to articulate," she said. "I enjoy photography a lot and I needed a medium that kind of would help me to express myself and I needed to be able to have time to kind of think and process what I was actually feeling and what I was going through.”

She doesn’t allow comments on her blog (theparkerfive.wordpress.com/about/) for a reason. It's about her process and about the things she is going through.

On a Feb. 11 entry, she wrote: “Emotions are powerful things. Sometimes it is hard to fully understand them. They come and go as they please, leaving a deep trail behind them. I sometimes try to understand my emotions but most of the time I don’t. I understand that it is because I have to feel what I need to feel and just let it out.”

On Jan. 22 she wrote about a time when she was 10 years old and felt depressed dealing with all the evil around her. Murders, beatings and anger seemed to be everywhere she turned. At that time, her mother gave her a picture with a drawing of three balloons floating together in the sky. Underneath the balloons were the words: “Rise above it.”

She said that she fell into a very dark place on the day of the shooting. “This was the deepest hole I had ever been in. I tried to look up and see a way out, but I could barely see any light. I felt this enormous pain inside as I realized a piece of me had been taken away forever, all by one person’s evil act.”

Parker felt she had to find a way to rise above the pain, but she had a difficult time.

“Each day for me seems to hold a set of new challenges that I can never seem to anticipate,” she wrote. “The emotions of grief are intense and hard. But every day, I feel the compassion from a loving God who sees me in my moments of need.”  

Parker shares her memories of her daughter on the blog. Days before the Sandy Hook shooting, they were buying a birthday gift for her friend Joey. The party was scheduled for the day after the tragedy.

On March 6 in an entry titled “Birthday in Heaven” she wrote: "We had been at Target for over an hour and Emilie was still pacing up and down the toy section. I sighed and asked her if she had decided yet. She looked at me with desperation in her eyes and said, 'I just don’t know which one to pick! It is so hard!' Emilie was invited to a birthday party for a little girl in her class. When Emilie got the invitation in the mail, I knew this girl was special to her. Emilie had this funny habit of getting so excited about something that she would begin crying 'happy tears.'"

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