JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The mother of Tristyn Bailey said her heart is broken. She is devastated after the loss of her daughter. And she’s made a promise to keep her memory alive.
“I was going to make her name shine above all the evil that has happened,” said Bailey’s mother, Stacy.
On Tuesday, she and Bailey’s father, Forrest, thanked the community for an outpouring of love and support that has come during a dark time for the family. They spoke during a celebration of life for the 13-year-old at Celebration Church in Jacksonville.
(Click below to watch the full, uncut celebration of life)
Pastors, coaches, Bailey’s school principal and her siblings each took time to speak before the whole family -- known as the “Bailey 7” -- took the stage together, missing one important piece.
Bailey’s mother remembered her daughter’s fiery personality, saying how determined she was to be “front and center.”
“She had a drive in her soul to be the best and always give 100-percent to achieve her goals,” Bailey’s mother said.
She spoke about her daughter’s love for cheering and how over the years, her passion for cheerleading grew. Bailey made new friends and formed unbreakable bonds.
“We are forever changed as a family, but we will always be the Bailey seven. For now, I will follow what Tristyn has always said: ‘Get it together. You got this mom!’ Always and forever my cheerleader and my sweet baby girl,” Bailey’s mother said.
Bailey’s father said the family has been blessed with words of love and support from all over.
“We had people bringing us food. We had the messages,” he said. “An entire school wore white on Monday. We had an entire walk. A vigil 3,000 people attended.”
The father also spoke about the teal bows tied around trees in their St. Johns County neighborhood. He thanked everyone who has helped out -- the volunteers, firefighters and deputies with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.
“When you give someone your thoughts and prayers, you are giving everything. There are no words. There are no words that will heal it,” he said. “All of the messages that poured in from people all over the place, they helped us.”
As the service ended, he counted down from three.
Together the crowd cheered: “Tristyn Bailey strong!”