Town Heals and Remembers

Newtown Mom Describes Struggle for Forgiveness, Peace After Son's Death

Wednesday, Oct 30, 2013  |  Updated 11:27 AM EDT
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Scarlett Lewis lost her six-year-old son during the Sandy Hook school shooting. Now she's sharing the story of her son's final act of bravery as well as how she learned forgiveness in a book, "Nurturing Healing Love: A Mother's Journey of Hope & Forgiveness."

Lewis' son Jesse had urged his classmates to flee the school after seeing his teacher shot, investigators learned after gathering accounts from survivors. Six children escaped before 20-year-old Adam Lanza reloaded and shot Jesse.

"He shouted, 'Run!' before he was shot," Lewis told TODAY.

In the face of tragedy, Lewis said she learned to forgive the shooter, in part due to the final message Jesse wrote on their kitchen chalkboard: the words "nurturing," "healing" and "love."

"I knew that forgiveness was possible… It's taking your power back. Not forgiving doesn't feel good," she told TODAY.

Eleven students from Jesse's classroom, led by teacher Victoria Soto, survived. In the classroom led by Lauren Rousseau, only one child survived. Both teachers were killed.

A report on the Newtown shooting by investigators is due to be released soon, the Associated Press reported. Investigators have not disclosed a possible motive for the massacre that killed twenty students and six staff members Dec. 14, 2012.

In addition to the book, Scarlett recently began the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation, which promotes ways for communities to "choose love over anger, gratitude over entitlement, and forgiveness and compassion over bitterness."

"I believe that Jesse was put on this earth to do what he did… I'm proud of him. I believe he left a message for me: nurturing, healing, love."

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