A mother who lost her daughter in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School spoke on Megyn Kelly TODAY Thursday about forgiveness for the shooter’s mother on the fifth anniversary of the tragedy.
Sandy Hook mother honors her daughter’s memory with animal sanctuary
Jennifer Hubbard’s daughter Catherine, 6, was one of the 20 first-graders and six staff members killed by shooter Adam Lanza at the school in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, before he committed suicide.
Lanza also killed his mother, Nancy, 52, who was castigated by many for introducing her son to guns and failing to properly address his mental health issues. Five years later, parents who lost children have struggled with their feelings toward Nancy and her role in the shooting, but Hubbard has come to her own conclusion.
“Until I live in Nancy’s shoes and live and walk her journey, I have no right to judge her,” Hubbard told Kelly. “She paid dearly for choices that she made.”
“Unfortunately our family was impacted by choices her son made,” Hubbard added. “It’s not my job, thankfully, to judge him or the life they lived because I don’t want to be judged. If that means forgiveness, then yeah. I don’t want to carry that anger and that hatred.”
How one Sandy Hook mom discovered the power of forgiveness
Thursday marks five years since the shooting, and Hubbard admits that it does take her back to that time, but she refuses to dwell on it. She has never read the police report or gone back to the school since the shooting.
“It’s a struggle because it would be easy, even understandable, if I crawled into bed, put the covers up, and said ‘That’s it, I’m out,”’ she said. “And I think most people would say you have every right to do that.”
Her son, Freddy, 13, was a third-grader in the building at the time of the shooting but thankfully was not harmed.
“The simple fact that he has a life to live and he has every right to be a teenager and live his story is the reason that we don’t pull up the covers and we don’t relive it,” Hubbard said. “He was there. It’s his reality. And to dwell on it and stay focused on it is not where I feel like that’s healthy.”
Mom of slain Sandy Hook student: He saved lives
Jennifer and her husband, Matt, have started a 34-acre animal sanctuary in Newtown through the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation they created in her memory. Catherine loved animals so much that she even made up her own business cards that read “Catherine’s Animal Shelter” before her death.
While many Sandy Hook families chose to focus on gun control advocacy in the wake of the shooting, the Hubbards have put their energy toward the foundation in Catherine’s honor.
“We really feel like we know Catherine and her voice has a gift to give to the world, and so we are the only ones that can be that voice,” Hubbard said about their decision. “So we don’t want to dilute it. We want to stay focused on honoring her life and her love.”
Follow TODAY.com writer Scott Stump on Twitter.