Public memorial held for Petaluma's Alyssa Byrne


"And try and figure out how you say thank you," said Alyssa's father, Kevin Byrne. "The two words just aren't enough."

Kevin fought back tears and expressed his deep gratitude to hundreds of people at Saturday morning's memorial for his daughter, Alyssa.

They donned pink, turning the Casa Grande High School gym into a sea of Byrne's favorite color and shared memories of the 19-year-old.

Alyssa's friends say their grief has come in waves as they fluctuate between sorrow and joy, they know Alyssa would want them to choose the latter.

"I think that's how Alyssa would want to be remembered. She would want us to laugh and she would be like 'I don't want you guys to be sad anymore' you know?" Jordyn Enes said.

"I hate to say that this brought us together, but this has brought us all together as a community, as a family, our friendships, it's been amazing," Denise Nichols said.

The already tight-knit community of Petaluma has grown even closer as they reminisce on the girl remembered as lively and outgoing, bringing people together after her death as she did in her life.

"I said this to a bunch of kids last night -- you know, my wife and I lost a daughter, but we've gained, I don't know, 150 kids?" Kevin said.

Alyssa is being cremated and will be laid to rest privately by her family.

A concert in her honor will be held Saturday February 23, with proceeds going to the KlaasKids Foundation.

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