Lifestyle & Human Interest

Sandy Hook Mom Writes Tribute to the Son She Lost: 'My Butterfly Is Gone But Never Forgotten'


Nicole Hockley has been counting the days since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting with fear and dread growing in her heart.

Her son, Dylan, was one of the 20 first graders who was tragically killed that day.

“Today it’s been 2,474 days since Dylan was murdered at Sandy Hook. 2,474 days since he’s been gone from my life,” she tweeted on Sept. 23. “He was only in my life for 2,473 days. I feared today.”

The mother worried the day that marked her 6-year-old son “being gone longer than he was here” would mean she would forget him.

“I am sad today, but I no longer have fear. I have forgotten nothing,” she continued.

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After the Sandy Hook shooting, Hockley co-founded Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring victims of violence and to “teaching how to know the signs of people at risk of hurting themselves or someone else.”

According to Hockley, the mission of Sandy Hook Promise transcends political debate about gun control due to the organization’s focus on the “human side” of gun-related violence.

Sandy Hook Promise believes that these incredibly heartbreaking acts of violence can be prevented if others are able to recognize the correct signs.

“Dylan is with me every day in my heart,” she told People. “Sadly, the more I learned about his death and the person that took his life, I recognized there were all these signs in advance and there had been multiple opportunities for intervention.”

“That’s something that drives me — to know that Sandy Hook was preventable.”

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Hockley said that helping found Sandy Hook Promise was her way of keeping Dylan’s legacy alive.

“My son lives on in my heart, in my soul, in the memories of our family and friends and in the work of me and his Daddy,” she wrote on Twitter.

“We will always love him and miss him. My butterfly is gone, but never forgotten, no matter how many days go by.”

Dylan’s nickname, “butterfly,” comes from the Butterfly Effect theory.

“There’s a theory that if a butterfly flaps his wings on one side of the world, it can cause a hurricane on the other,” she told People. “Dylan is my butterfly. When I visit schools and look at the kids, I see butterflies.”

“They’re the ones who are going to create the change that will change our country.”

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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