Mother of teen killed in Freeman shooting reflects on the time since she lost her son

SPOKANE, Wash. — A piece of closure for a grieving mother: Ami Strahan has spent years in a courtroom, looking at the boy who shot and killed her son. Caleb Sharpe killed 15-year-old Sam Strahan and shot three other classmates at Freeman High School on Sept. 13, 2017.

On Thursday, Sharpe pleaded guilty to Sam’s murder and other charges. It has taken four and a half years to get to this point.

“It’s done. He said he was guilty and this piece is finished,” Ami said. “That’s a relief because that’s what we’ve been waiting for so so long.”

The chapter is closed and Ami had to go through it alone, without her rocks. Ami does have Emily, her daughter. She says she does not know what she would do without her through this process.

Ami’s husband died three months before the shooting, leaving her, Emily and Sam.

“He really was rising to the occasion,” she said. “He was rising to something pretty amazing.”

Sam’s bright future was cut short. All Ami has left are the memories of her quirky son.

“He had soup one day and all they had was forks, and so Sam said ‘life is soup and I’m a fork,'” she said.

She has that phrase on a bracelet and has not taken it off since his death — 1,577 days ago.

He may not be physically here, but Sam and Ami’s husband are here in another way.

“I have a necklace with his ashes in it also with me and also my husband’s ashes with me,” she said. “Things that I carry with me everywhere I go.”

It is a piece of them to comfort her as she goes through some more hard times ahead. Ami will soon be given the opportunity to speak directly to Sharpe; to speak for her son.

“I just look forward to my day to kinda address him [Sharpe] and just make sure he knows what this has done to me and to my family,” she said. “I’ve been thinking about it for four years, for four and a half years.”

She does know one thing — Ami wants the maximum sentence possible.

“Losing my husband — I thought that that was the worst thing,  but when I lost Sam, it just ruined everything,” Ami said. “We had a life that is no more.”

Doing this alone is hard for Ami. Forgiveness is also tough, which Ami says might happen someday.

“Maybe when this is all said and done and I can work through creating something new, maybe then, but not yet,” she said.

As Ami prepares for what will likely be another emotionally draining day, all she can think about is Sam and all the memories they made together.

“I just hope that he would be proud and feel like I didn’t let him down and that I showed up every time,” Ami said. “I would just tell him that I love him and that I hope I did right by him.”

Sharpe is expected to be sentenced on Jan. 18.

READ: Freeman school shooter pleads guilty to murder, attempted murder

RELATED: Judge denies Freeman shooting suspect’s motion to plead not guilty by reason of insanity