"A friend called me as I was heading to kickboxing class and told me to - advised I should stay out of Newtown because there were lots of police going on and she didn't know what was happening,"
What was happening was beyond comprehension. Adam Lanza - a young man obsessed with mass killings was carrying out one of the deadliest on U.S. soil. Armed with a rifle, he gunned down 26 people - 20 of them innocent children. When Nicole heard about the shooting she went searching for her two young boys , 8-year-old Jake and 6-year-old Dylan.
"We were told in the early afternoon that if we were still waiting for someone, basically they weren't coming back," she said.
Jake made it out alive, but Dylan did not.
"It's impossible to reconcile the fact that it will be a year I would've last held him," Nicole said. For the Hockleys, the journey after this massacre has been a challenging one.
"The only apple he would eat is red delicious apple. I can't buy them now or I can't buy Cheerios anymore because he used to have that every morning for breakfast. It's the little things that catch you unaware," she said.
But Nicole has turned her grief into action - helping to launch Sandy Hook Promise - a non-profit dedicated to addressing gun violence. She has become an outspoken advocate on gun control and has lobbied Congress to pass gun reforms, although the last attempt at expanding background checks failed in the Senate. Despite that setback, she is not giving up on national gun legislation.
"No, no. For me, it's a matter of when, not if," Nicole said.
While this unfortunate anniversary in the midst of the holidays marks a painful reality, Nicole says she still has a lot to be thankful.
"We're thankful we had Dylan in our lives. We're thankful for the love and support people have shown us the past 12 months. And we're thankful we've found a way to help honor him by saving the lives of others. We miss him but we're going to find our way forward," she said.