Pictured above: Jesse Lewis’s mother, Scarlett Lewis.
The last time that Scarlett Lewis saw her son Jesse, he was writing the words ‘I love you’ on her frosty car door before he went off to school.
The mother-of two captured the six-year-old grinning next to his handiwork, a picture that she now holds close to her.
A portion of an interview with Jesse’s father, Neil Heslin, aired on Wednesday night, where the visibly shaken dad talked about how his young son was so excited about Chrismas.
“I don’t have much family so it’s kind of a quiet time for me, he made Christmas happy for me and joyful and I said to him,”Jess, we’ll made it as best we can” and the next day the tragedy happened, it occurred and I thought “Boy was he wrong about that,” Mr. Heslin said on CNN.
Jesse’s mother holds on to her final- and favorite- memories of her son, which include the times they spent cuddling up together to read a book before bed, drifting off to sleep holding him in her arms.
She told People,” With Jesse, I have absolutely no regrets. I loved him to pieces, he knew it, and I knew he loved me to pieces. That is a blessing. Jesse was a gift.”
Ms.Lewis, who did not live with Mr.Heslin, had planned to leave work early on Friday so that she could go to school to make gingerbread houses with her youngest son, who was excitedly awaiting the Christmas tradition.
The mother first heard news of the shooting at around 9:30 AM on Friday when a friend texted her but she was not initially worried.
However, she decided to follow Jesse’s father to the school. When she arrived, the roads were backed with traffic as desperate parents tried to find their children.
Ms.Lewis told the magazine of her rising panic when she could not find Jesse anywhere. Amid the confusion, the mother ran to a house next to the school where she had been told some children who escaped had been taken in. Jesse was not among them.
Ms. Lewis and Mr. Heslin returned to the firehouse for the agonizing wait to find out what had happened to heir son. She told People: “I just kind of knew. All the other kids were gone; we’re just sitting there.”
Jesse’s extended family began to gather- uncles, aunt, and grandparents. Ms. Lewis’ other son, 12-year-old JT, arrived are being collected from school. The boy sobbed as he waited for the news of his younger brother while Ms.Lewis said she somehow found the strength to reassure her son.
The family waited for hours as daylight faded, hugging each other for support and holding on to hope while they waited for news. Ms.Lewis have authorities a description of Jesse- his cropped, brown hair, jeans, stripy shirt and sneakers.
A doctor finally broke the news to the family that there had been no survivors among the missing children.
Jesse Lewis was one of the first-graders who had been hidden in a closet by teacher Victoria Soto when the first gunshots rang out at the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
When the gunman entered the classroom looking for the children, he came face-to-face with 27-year-old Miss Soto who tried to throw him off by saying the children were in the auditorium at the other end of the building.
However six of the children then tried to run from their hiding place and were shot dead by the gunman. Miss Soto and a teacher’s aide were also killed.
Mr. Heslin was told by state troopers that from the way his son Jesse had been found, it was clear the six-year-old had run into the face of danger to help other children get away.
The father told the New York Post: “I wish my kid stayed put. But that’s Jesse. I can see him making that choice and just doing something. My boy died the way I would have died if I was in that position. Jesse grew up on a farm. He’s tough. That would be my little guy to try to get out of there.”
Neil Heslin continued,” I dropped him off at school at 9am. He went happily. That was the last I saw of him. We were supposed to make gingerbread houses at 2:30pm in his class. He was just a happy boy. Everybody knew Jesse. He was going places in life. He did well in school.”
Mr. Heslin condemned gunman, Adam Lanza, as a coward for shooting himself. He said: “The way he died- by killing himself like that- was too good. It was just a cowardly way. For what he did to his victims and the way he went into the school, he picked victims that couldn’t defend themselves against him. These were helpless little children. The question is why- and I guess it’s something we’ll never know.”
Jesse Lewis mcCord
Jesse McCord Lewis, 6, was an amazing child, full of light and love that was unmistakable in his presence. He was June 30, 2006. Jesse died December 14, in Sandy Hook Elementary School.
He brought joy to the world with his infectious and radiant smile. He was smart and compassionate beyond his years. Jesse died bravely trying to lead other children to safety. He ran into the hallway to help when he heard the shots. His family knows in their hearts that was the way he lived his life-fearless, full of courage and strength.
Family and friends take comfort in knowing what a brave child he was. His actions were consistent with the way he lives his life; passionately embracing everything, a perfect combination of courage and faith, like a little soldier, his favorite toy. The love they shared was abundant and all encompassing. He slept in his mother’s arms almost every night of his precious life, with her thanking God for him.
Jesse left an indelible mark on the hearts of all he met. The picture that remains etched in family’s souls is one of him in his boots, no socks, ripped jeans, and a t-shirt, an army helmet strapped to his head, a smudge of dirt on his cheek, tromping through the pasture on his way from one adventure to another.
Jesse is continuously loved by his dear, precious older brother, JT, who was and will always be his loyal protector, who looked after him with tender care and devotion.
It is and will remain forever unbelievable to all who knew him that Jesse is with Jesus now and blessing those in heaven.
His mother, Scarlett Lewis; his brother, JT Lewis; his father, Neil Heslin; his grandparents, Maureen Lewis, Bob Comfort, and David Lewis; his uncles, aunts, and cousins, Trent, Sasha, and Hayden Lewis, Jordan, Becky, Christian, and Everett Lewis, Coulter, Kristy, and Quinn Lewis; and as many dear friends as the stars survive Jesse.
“God’s love is triumphant.”
Friends may call at the Honan Funeral Home, 58 Main Street, Newtown, Thursday, December 19, from 9 am to noon. All other services and interment in Zoar Cemetery, Sandy Hook, are private.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Voice for Joanie Inc, 5 Glenwood Road, New Milford, CT 06776 or at www.voiceforjoanie.org.