Remember to smile and say ‘I love you.’
That’s what friends and family of Alyssa Dawn Wiles are choosing to do and that was the message delivered Thursday during a candlelight service held in her memory.
Alyssa’s best friend, Sally Pollock, read a poem and released lime green balloons during the tribute. She and many others wore lime green T-shirts with a photo of Alyssa on the front. Alyssa, 14, died Monday at her home. She is the daughter of Brad and Angela Wiles and little sister of Zachary Abbott.Kaitlynn Young, girlfriend of Abbott, wrote the poem.
The memorial service was held at the Duncan High School baseball stadium and several members from the Patriot Guard Riders were there to hand out copies of “Alyssa’s Poem” printed on lime green paper. While it wasn’t written by Alyssa, it described all the things her loved ones remember her for.
“She was a free spirit ... she could always make you laugh ... she made people grin ...”
And each person who spoke, talked of Alyssa’s big grins. At one point, the crowd in the stands were asked to turn and look at those closest to them and share a smile.
Pastor Mike King was one of the speakers and he provided words of comfort for the crowd, which ranged in all ages and from all walks of life — children, Alyssa’s co-dancers from Heartbeat Dance Studio, and even Patriot Guard Riders, of which she was a member, along with her grandparents, Randy and Sharon Gilreath.
“No doubt, there are a flood of emotions flowing .... from sorrow to anger ... despair to numbness,” he said.
“Enjoy your friends, but choose them wisely.”
And there was also the reminder that there is no promise of tomorrow.
King shared personal stories of Alyssa, and said memories of her laughter have helped him get through this week.
“Lean on those around you.”
A Duncan Middle School teacher, Kim Mays, also shared memories, emphasizing that the last words she and Alyssa exchanged were “I love you.”
Others who spoke were Stephanie Gregston, Alyssa’s dance instructor, and Duncan Public School Superintendent Sherry Labyer.
Funeral service for Alyssa will be 10 a.m. Saturday at Parkview Baptist Church. Patriot Guard Riders will escort the processional to the Duncan Cemetery for her burial.
Remember to smile and say ‘I love you.’
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