(NEWTOWN, Conn.) — The parents of Jessica Rekos, a 6-year-old girl who died during the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., said they are committed to keeping their daughter’s memory alive despite their pain.
“We will talk about her every day, we will live for her,” Krista Rekos told ABC News. “We will make sure her brother knows what an amazing person she was.”
Richard and Krista Rekos say that talking about Jessica, who loved horseback riding and whom they called the CEO of their family, brings tiny moments of comfort.
“Jessica loved writing, and she would often leave us little notes all over the house,” Rekos said. “They would just say, ‘I love you so much.’
“She was a ball of fire, she ruled the roost,” Krista Rekos said.
When the call came Friday morning that Sandy Hook Elementary was on lockdown, Krista Rekos rushed in disbelief through the town where she and her husband were raised, a place they had always felt safe.
“I was running, and I kept thinking, ‘I’m coming for you honey, I’m coming,'” she said, choking up.
Richard Rekos said they initially had little information on what had happened.
“We had no idea at that point,” he said. “We thought, OK, the reports are that one or two people may have been injured and taken to hospitals. There was still hope, that the children were hiding, there was still so much hope at that point.”
The couple said that they walked around the firehouse, thinking that maybe Jessica had been taken there.
“I knew exactly what she was wearing, and I was hoping to see her little ponytail run around the corner, and her jacket and her black glittery Uggs that she had on that morning,” Krista Rekos said.
Finally, around 1:15 p.m., everyone was asked to sit down, and a police officer said 20 children had been killed.
“We couldn’t get a straight answer,” Richard Rekos said. “There’s so much panic and confusion when that announcement was made, the life was just sucked out of the room. And you know, I just point-blank found a state trooper and said, ‘Are you telling me that standing here as a parent that my daughter is gone?’ And he said, ‘Yes.'”
The Rekoses were asked to stay at the firehouse to identify their daughter’s body but, overcome with grief, they left in disbelief. The couple went home, and got into their daughter’s bed, staying there until about 1 a.m., they said.
At that point there was a knock on the door and a police officer said that Jessica was dead.
“It just confirmed the nightmare, it’s not real,” Krista Rekos said. “It’s still not real that my little girl who’s so full of life and wants a horse so badly, and who was going to get cowboy boots for Christmas, isn’t coming home.”
The couple said the pain is just settling in. But equally strong is their commitment to keeping their daughter’s memory alive.
The parents said that their 6-year-old family powerhouse, with an enormous heart, will forever be their angel who left behind love notes that are still being found.
“This morning I found a little journal, and it was exactly what I needed, because it says, ‘I love you so much momma, love Jessica,'” her mother said. “It was like she was telling me she was watching us and she knows how hard this must be for us, and she wants us to know she loved us, and she knows how much she was loved.”
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