An Unseen Angel: A Mother's Story of Faith, Hope, and Healing after Sandy Hook

An Unseen Angel: A Mother's Story of Faith, Hope, and Healing after Sandy Hook

by Alissa Parker


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As the mother of one of the children who died at Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, Alissa Parker had her world shattered by a mass murderer's rampage. She was left to make sense of her daughter's life and death and to rebuild, seeking a deeply spiritual path to carry on with her life and find new meaning and purpose.

As a co-founder of, a touring national advocacy group that helps people take action to make schools safer, Alissa has talked to hundreds of parents around the country about her ordeal and how she was able to endure the unspeakable horror of Sandy Hook.

An Unseen Angel takes readers though Alissa's complete journey, chronicling the moment-by-moment account of the day that began with every parent's worst nightmare: hearing, "There's been a shooting at your child's school." It follows her faith-filled spiritual path to coping, healing, forgiving, and eventually feeling gratitude for the life and love of her daughter Emilie. She describes a bond of love between a mother and daughter that is so profound it transcends the physical body and touches Alissa and the people who loved Emilie who feel her presence every day. And she articulates her deep Christian faith, which guided the answers to Alissa's gut-wrenching, post-tragedy questioning:
  • "Where is Emilie now?"
  • "Can love transcend the physical body?"
  • "How can I know that Emilie is in a better place?"
  • "How do I deal with the 'here and now' when the pain and anger I feel is so overwhelming?"
This is the first book about the school-shooting tragedies with a focus on faith and spirituality. As we learn Alissa's story, we are introduced to a special little girl who was wise beyond her years and whose lessons about life and the transcendent power of love continued even after she had passed away.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781629722795
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Publication date: 04/04/2017
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 513,294
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Alissa Parker is the mother of one of the twenty children who died tragically in the Sandy Hook school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.

After Emilie's death, Alissa began TheParkerFive blog as a tool to express the emotions she and her family experienced throughout the grieving process. She is also the co-founder of, which helps people take action to make schools safer, and The Emilie Parker Art Connection, a charity helping local community art programs for children.
  • The Parker Five Blog ( 3.5 million p/v; Visitors: 922,689
  • The Emilie Parker Art Connection ( 297K Facebook followers
  • Safe and Sound Schools ( Since 2013, 200K+ visitors to the website, 100K people have downloaded free online materials for use in their school or professional community, more than 30,000 people have attended a speaking engagement or workshop, 6K+ social media followers. Organization has also visited schools in 31 states.

Read an Excerpt

Writing a book about losing Emilie wasn't something I had planned to do. To begin with, I'm very private and reserved. Also, after Emilie died I couldn't bear to think about what had happened to her, much less write about it. Nor, I believe, do most people want to read about something so sad. But violence, grief, and loss are not what this book is primarily about; at least, I prefer not to look at it that way. Although it contains tragedy, my story is ultimately not tragic. The story I feel compelled to share is one of help and healing. It is a story of how God's love and protection surrounded me during my darkest hour.

I have always believed that family is eternal, that we are bound with our loved ones by a tie that outlasts disaster and death. But when Emilie died, my faith in this principle was put to the ultimate test. I asked God again and again to help me feel Emilie's presence, to confirm that she still was with me and that our family was and is forever connected. In His own time, he gave me this reassurance. I was granted very sacred personal experiences that allowed me to see and feel Emilie in the small and simple occurrences of daily life. I have no doubt whatsoever that Emilie lives, that she is still a part of my family, and that we will be reunited in God's time.

As I have pondered my experiences in writing this book, I have come to realize how truly blessed I have been. I can clearly see that God was indeed faithful to his promises to me the day Emilie died. His help has radically changed my life. I have finally come to the understanding that Emilie's story is one of joy.

Emilie had six wonderful years on this earth. She made every day beautiful. She saw the world in color and spent every moment she could trying to capture that beauty in her artwork to share with others. Through all the pain, I have come to feel this truth with every fiber in me: Emilie's was a beautiful life. I feel honored to have been a part of it. God loves Emilie, and, even now, Emilie has a happy life, even if it didn't follow my plan for her "happy endings."

This is her story.

Table of Contents


Book I: Before
1: My Forever Family
2: Going on Ahead
3: The Unthinkable
4: I Hope You Believe in Heaven
5: Pink Ribbons
6: Say Good-Bye, Say Nothing

Book II: After
7: God's Hands
8: A Mother's Prayer
9: He Told Me His Name
10: Look Toward the Light
11: To Help You through Your Pain
12: Alone in the World
13: Face to Face
14: Hairy Monsters and Tiny Teacups
15: A Bigger God
16: Blessings from a Blog
17: Purple Blossoms
18: Streams of Mercy
19: Angels Round About You
20: The Other Rider
21: Everything Is Connected
22: Emilie's Shady Spot
23: Butterflies from Emilie
24: An Angel to Others
25: A New Life



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