Amerie was a social girl, her family said. She was a good student, but she loved lunchtime and recess, when she could spend time with her friends. She also enjoyed expressing herself through art. In her obituary, her family wrote, “A protector of her brother and as we now know her classmates.”


“You raised a beautiful, loving, caring little girl,” Father Morales said.

As the Mass ended, he prayed over her coffin.

“In peace let us take our sister to her place of rest,” he said. “May the angels lead you into paradise.”

The choir, accompanied by a piano and violin, began to sing, its hymn ushering Amerie to that place of rest, her relatives on to navigate their grief and the priest to many more days of imploring weary mourners to celebrate those who had been taken from them.

“If you are passing through the raging waters in the sea, you shall not drown,” the choir sang as the crowd filed from the church. Many of the mourners had tears in their eyes.

“If you walk amid the burning flames, you shall not be harmed,” the singers continued. “And if you stand before the power of hell, and death is at your side, know that I am with you through it all.”

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