The time fraught with pain, Newtown couple perseveres

Michele and Bob Gay have re-created Joey’s room in their new home in a Boston suburb.
Michele and Bob Gay have re-created Joey’s room in their new home in a Boston suburb.Credit: Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff

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A year ago today, Josephine Gay turned 7. She was thrilled about her upcoming birthday party. The invitations had been sent, and the cupcakes would have purple frosting, Joey’s favorite color.

The party never happened. Joey was among the 20 students and six adults killed Dec. 14 in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, then shot himself.

Nearly a year after the Newtown tragedy, the agonizing work of carrying on continues for the victims’ families. For Michele and Bob Gay, the effort to stay afloat, to resist being dragged down by grief or anger, takes many forms.

Michele and another Newtown parent, Alissa Parker, launched a school safety initiative and in June traveled to Columbine High School to speak. Bob has turned to a less public role, setting up a fund for autistic children in Joey’s name.

More challenging is the day-to-day business of moving forward, of giving their two older daughters, now 10 and 12, and themselves, as normal a home life as they can. To remember Joey without letting their lives be defined by her heartbreaking loss. To take “the journey from loss into hope,” as Michele puts it.

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