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Reflections from people close to Newtown tragedy

NEWTOWN, Conn. — A year later, inside the big house on Berkshire Road, dolls fill the shelves of a living room and flowers and rainbows decorate a kitchen window, next to a little girl's name: Avielle.

Outside, Christmas lights shimmer again. But so, too, do the 26 bronze stars that sit atop the local firehouse, one for each adult and child gunned down at a school one unimaginable day.

In so many ways, this is a place frozen in time. Ribbons of green — the Sandy Hook Elementary School color — stay tied to mailboxes and storefronts, just as a curly-haired girl smiles from a framed photograph that remains atop a mantel inside Jeremy Richman's home.

People might assume the hurt fades with time. But, says Richman, who last Dec. 14 lost his only child, "I miss Avielle more every day."

It's been a painful and frenetic year, for the Richmans and for all of Newtown. From horror came despair and, soon, attempts at moving beyond one of the nation's deadliest shootings.

Now, the people of Newtown are bracing for the day everyone here simply calls 12/14.

"For us, it's not an event. It's something we live with every single day of our lives," says Newtown First Selectman E. Patricia Llodra.

"We can't change what happened to us," Llodra says, "but we have a choice in how we respond."

And so they will balance trying to remember with wanting to forget, and help one another cope with seasons' worth of grief few outsiders can fathom.

Avielle Richman, center, with parents Jennifer Hensel and Jeremy Richman. Avielle was among the 20 children killed Dec. 14, 2012, in Newtown, Conn.

Family photo

Avielle Richman, center, with parents Jennifer Hensel and Jeremy Richman. Avielle was among the 20 children killed Dec. 14, 2012, in Newtown, Conn.

Reflections from people close to Newtown tragedy 12/10/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 11:36pm]
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