Four years after the unimaginable Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, parents of victims like Ana Marquez-Greene, 6, were sharing their memories and their anguish over their loss.
Little Ana's death reverberated as far as Puerto Rico, from where her grandmother, a former teacher in Connecticut, hails. Ana was the grandchild of the sister of the Mayor of Maunabo, Puerto Rico, Jorge Marquez.
Nelba Marquez, Ana's mother, posted an emotional and poignant essay to the Remembering Ana Márquez-Greene Facebook page.
"My son should still have a sister. My husband should still have a daughter —Jimmy broke my soul open yesterday as I read his recollection of his last evening with our kids. I wailed so loudly — I scared my son. It just brought everything back."
Marquez was referring to a previous post by Ana's father and her husband Jimmy Greene, a well-known jazz saxophonist, composer and bandleader.
Greene posted his thoughts on Tuesday night on the eve of the anniversary. On Facebook he shared a detailed, heartrending description of his last evening with his late daughter, who was one of the 20 children and six adults killed in the shooting.
In the post he shares the last time he heard his daughter sing, as well as the last time she hugged him.
"As we prepare to wake up and face another December 14th, our 4th without Ana, I am reminded of every detail of the last day we were whole as a family, December 13, 2012," Greene writes. "My heart aches and my eyes swell with tears each and every day, missing Ana like crazy and knowing that our family won't ever be whole again."
About two years after the shooting, Greene conceived and produced an album named "Beautiful Life" in honor of Ana.
"I want the music to reflect the way that Ana lived," Greene writes.
On Wednesday's post, Ana's mother ended in a note of hope and healing, despite her intense grief, to reach out to others touched by tragedy.
"As believers we know that Sunday is coming," Marquez wrote. "As humans we know that Friday was dark. It is okay to mourn the Friday while believing in Sunday."
On December 10, the Marquez-Greene family held a fundraiser called “Love Wins! A Celebration of Music to Benefit the Ana Grace Project and the Ana Márquez-Greene Scholarship at WCSU,” which raised money for a scholarship at Western Connecticut State University.