"When we left, we were like: She's fully stocked," her mom recalled.
Her father said that "thinking of her smile, her spark, her brightness" helped guide the family through this most difficult time. Telling Grace's 12-year-old brother Jack what had happened, he said, was the "toughest thing to do."
The McDonnells, like the other grieving families, met privately with President Obama when he visited Newtown last Sunday. Lynn McDonnell said his visit brought reassurance. "He's just a dad coming in to meet a dad and a mom and a son -- and we really felt that."
Grace was a budding artist. The family gave the president a painting of an owl she had drawn. He told the family he would treasure it.
The parents say they're comforted by the fact Grace died with her friends. "She was at a place that she loved," her mother said.
"We have so many angels and so many bright stars shining over all of us in this town right now," the father said. "They will teach us how to go on and how to live through them."
They have no hatred toward the shooter, a point they've emphasized to their surviving son.
"The thing that Grace taught us is that you've got to live for the future," her father said. "You've got to live for happiness, peace, and to not divert your energies to hate, anger. That wasn't her. It's not us."
That, they say, is their daughter's lasting legacy.