Even as a steady stream of mourners filed by ones and twos into a memorial service on Thursday night, Gabriella Silver, the sole survivor of a plane crash that claimed the lives of her brother, father and grandmother, lay in an intensive care unit.
Less than a week before, the single-engine plane crash just off the runway of the Collegedale Municipal Airport killed Suzanne Silver and Gerhard Silver on impact. Todd Silver, the pilot and father of Gabriella and Gerhard, succumbed to his injuries several days later.
In the wake of the tragedy, the memorial service began with a steady stream of family and friends pouring into the sanctuary of the Collegedale Seventh-day Adventist Church.
As they entered and found their seats, they walked by a projected photo collection of the deceased, smiling and happy. A few murmured to one another, but most stared up as the pictures appeared, one after another, while a pianist plucked out the notes to a rendition of "It is Well."
They came to stand together. To sing and cry and remember those who had passed and hold those who remained behind, grieving after a shocking, unexpected loss.
Fighting back tears, Kelly Silver spoke about her father and said, regardless of how those gathered knew him, "I'm sure he made an impression."
She said he always found time to show love for his family, even as he built his own plane canopy manufacturing company, designing a machine that produced canopies, setting a world standard for craftsmanship.
"He created this machine that does not exist anywhere else in the world," she said. "He even used some fabric from my baby crib and explained it was good for insulation."
Her sister, Amelia Silver, said, "I love my dad, and you only get one. He loved the speech I gave at my sister's wedding and I hope he is looking down on me loving this one too."
"I love you dad, I miss you dad, and I'll never stop thinking about you."
Other family members gave sketches of Todd, Suzanne and Gerhard's life, recounting anecdotes or telling memories they shared with them.
Kristi Young, Suzanne's granddaughter, spoke about her grandmother's sense of humor and love for travel, but halfway through the tears began to fall and she had to step away to let someone else finish her speech.
"She even traveled to Russia four times to learn new massage techniques," the woman read to the crowd.
A family neighbor, Leon Mashchak, gave the homily and asked the crowd "What is resurrection?"
He said Jesus Christ told his disciples and those who trust in him for salvation that he was and is the resurrection. The one and only hope for salvation.
Mashchak said Christ's message was simple: "Get up. Love the lord your God with your whole life. Your whole being."
With the hope of resurrection — a chance to be reunited with Todd, Suzanne and Gerhard — the congregation sang out in sorrow, with the hope of a joy yet to come.
"On that day when my strength is failing, the end draws near and my time has come. Still my soul will sing your praise unending."
"Ten thousand years, and then forevermore."
Contact staff writer Emmett Gienapp at email@example.com or 423-757-6731.