I was honored to be given the opportunity to have an open, honest and raw conversation with Nelba Marquez-Greene, who lost her 6 year old daughter Ana Grace in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT on December 14, 2012. We had many mutual friends in common, attended the same high school in Hartford CT, and I had been following Nelba along in our social media lives before Sandy Hook, feeling like we were ‘friends’ even though we had never met. Then Sandy Hook happened and her life became something akin to watching a movie, that in all honesty, I didn’t want to see. I didn’t want to watch this happy, warm woman go through the worst thing a parent could ever experience. I hated seeing her hurt, so sad, and lost day to day in her life. Yet she was so eloquent with her words, and her grief. So open and raw, and I found myself drawn to her and her story, her words, her pain. I shielded myself from all of the news coverage on Sandy Hook, I couldn’t watch any of it. But I watched Nelba. I prayed for her and her family, I thought about them constantly. The opportunity came up to sit with her and have a face to face conversation about life, and loss. About the worst day of her family’s life.
She was so open. So honest about where she has come from and where she is now on her grief journey. Grief is a beast, and it is not a one size fits all thing. We all experience it differently, but in the end, it is still comforting to hear that we are not in this alone. Thank you Nelba for opening your heart and sharing your story with us all.
Check out Jimmy Greene’s Grammy nominated album ‘Beautiful Life’ available on iTunes. You can check out an article on NPR about his process of writing an album dedicated to her daughter’s memory HERE.
If you would like to donate to the Partners Schools Initiative that Nelba speaks about in the podcast, you can send a check here:
c/o The Partner Schools Initiative
PO Box 3332
Newtown, CT 06470