Ethan Chapin

The mother of Idaho murder victim Ethan Chapin is sharing her deeply personal reflections on losing a child, telling NBC’s “Today” that she has a message for parents and others about life forged from the heartbreak she and her family have endured.

Ethan was one of four University of Idaho undergraduate students stabbed to death in an off-campus house in Moscow, Idaho, last year.

Prosecutors have charged Bryan Kohberger, a 28-year-old criminology Ph.D. student at the nearby Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary in connection with the slayings. A judge in late May entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of Kohberger.

It is not clear whether police have identified a motive, but investigators believe Kohberger killed Ethan, his girlfriend Xana Kernodle, and their friends Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves in the early morning hours of November 13.

In an interview that aired Monday, Ethan’s mother, Stacy Chapin, shared fond memories of her beloved son, who was the firstborn of triplets.

Stacy said Ethan was very much like a firstborn child and was a leader of his siblings.

“He was definitely the glue that kept all of us together. He was funny and inclusive, and he always made sure that Maizie and Hunter were included and loved,” Stacy told NBC. “He was born with the kindest soul.”

Nearly seven months since Ethan’s death, Stacy has written a children’s book about her son entitled “The Boy Who Wore Blue” in an effort to keep his memory alive.

The title is a nod to the color that she and her husband, Jim, emphasized for Ethan when he was born. His two other siblings got different colors.

“You have to make sure that each has their own,” Stacy told NBC.

Writing the book has been an instrumental part of grieving and was “a huge piece of the healing process,” Stacy said in the interview. But the book also will help people learn who Ethan was.

“For the people who know him, it will confirm what we all knew about him, and it will be a reminder. But for the people who don’t know him, it will allow them to know him,” Stacy told NBC. “The bigger message . . . is to really, genuinely take a moment, be happy, include everybody and just live your best life. It’s the best message we could send through him.”

In addition to the book, the family has started Ethan’s Smile Foundation to provide scholarships to high school students from Ethan’s community who attend the University of Idaho. The foundation is funded from the sale of tulip bulbs at a farm where Ethan worked summers, according to KING-TV.

The family is doing its best to forge ahead while continuing to remember Ethan. In her role as a mother, Stacy said she feels a special duty to be there for Ethan’s surviving siblings.

“It’s a mom’s job,” Stacy told NBC. “I’m the soft place to land in our family . . . The foundation of our family has provided the strength for our kids to move forward.”

She added: “It’s a different dynamic in our home without Ethan, but we work every day on it.”

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[Feature Photo: Ethan Chapin/Family Handout]

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