On the day she was laid to rest, friends and family were doing everything in their power to focus on the love Patricia Alatorre brought into their lives.
Alatorre, who at just 13 years old was brutally murdered earlier this month, was remembered as a kind, bubbly and loving person by those who spoke at a funeral service held for her at Greenlawn Funeral Home Southwest on Saturday.
"Patty is just a star that shined and brightens up your day," family friend Jesus Flores said during the service. "If your day is going down the gutter, she's the one who (brought) the light. If you had a chance, even a second with Patty, you would understand the pain we go through today."
Her impact on the community was clear by the service's attendance. The funeral parlor was packed to capacity, with heavy overflow traffic leaking out into the adjacent hallway.
"I know everybody here, she's touched your lives in some special way," officiant Daniel Valenzuela said. "She loved with a heart of gold. So I urge you guys to continue that love."
For some of the mourners, such a practice is proving difficult at the moment. Emotions were understandably high both at the service and the burial Saturday, with friends and family acknowledging they are struggling to come to terms with Patricia's shocking death.
"Imagine the potential she had in front of her," Flores said. "I don't want to be mad or anything, but I am mad. I'm upset. I'm pretty sure a lot of people feel the same way."
Knowing that Patricia, who attended vacation Bible school for seven years, was a person of faith, Valenzuela encouraged family members to take solace in the belief that she was "in heaven (with) a complete happiness, a joy, peace and perfect love."
He also expressed his own feelings of anger to the person who took her life, but said it was best for mourners to "leave room for God's wrath."
Most importantly, he urged the hundreds of attendees to lean on each other as they worked through their immeasurable grief.
“I know it’s a time that’s very hard and there’s going to be a process that each and every person’s going to go through," Valenzuela said. "Grieving invades every part of our life, our mind, our body, our soul and our spirit. So how do we deal with grieving? We love each other, we cry with each other, we love each other."