SAN ANTONIO — Friends and family of Jessica Ghawi remembered the 24-year-old as a free spirit who loved life, a good time and, of course, hockey.
The Community Bible Church was packed on Saturday morning to reflect on the short yet inspiring life of the San Antonio native who was killed in the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado.
Those who spoke on her behalf painted Ghawi as a hilarious, clumsy and abrupt "kid" with a gigantic heart and a hunger for helping others.
An aspiring sports broadcaster, Ghawi especially loved hockey. Those close to her recalled a story of when the young intern walked onto the ice at the AT&T Center and could barely stay on her feet.
It seems as if an "invisible banana peel" was always a step ahead her, said Larry Ramirez, a San Antonio sports anchor. He also recalled a text message he received shortly after Ghawi moved to Denver about a year ago: "I effing miss your face."
Ramirez admitted he censored the actual text message for the crowd.
Other speakers hit on Ghawi's "you only live once" and "you can sleep when you die" sort of attitude. She was a fiery redhead and headstrong Texas woman.
Each speaker sparked laughter, but would always end with tears, reminding the audience how wonderful Ghawi was and how much they will miss her.
Brother Jordan Ghawi, who had flown to Denver after the shooting, made an unscheduled appearance at the podium. In a broken voice, he admitted to the audience he didn't know what he was about to say.
"If this coward could have done this with this much hate, imagine what we could have done with all this love," he said.
The second point he wanted to make was one that his sister had expressed in a recent blog she wrote after coming chillingly close to a mass shooting in a Toronto mall only a month earlier.
"If you're putting your dreams on hold, stop that right now," Jordan quoted her as saying.
Nobody knows how long they have to live, he added... don't live with regrets.
"Take what my sister had to say," he said.