GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - Hundreds turned out to celebrate the life of a teen who drowned while swimming in the South Fork Catawba River this week.
Family and friends say 16-year-old Makenna Warlick was loved and will be sorely missed. On Wednesday, they came together to pray and to mourn the life of a young woman lost too soon.
Loved ones call Makenna a bright star who was selfless, deep and someone who could make you laugh on your worst day.
"We would just laugh," said friend Megan Workman. "That's all I can tell you. We were laughing, always,"
No one thought they would be where they are one week ago, cherishing memories they shared with the young woman.
"Whether it was a good day or a bad day for them, she made it the best day it could have possibly been," Makenna's cousin, Haley Huss said.
Makenna's absence was felt all around the vigil as emotions poured out.
"One minute, everything's fine and you're texting and the next minute, she's gone," said friend Montana Thompson.
For those who knew her, the world will never be the same, but Makenna gave her friends and family something to hold onto: Hope.
"She was saying that at some point, she had been close to God throughout her life, and that makes me feel good to know that," Workman said.
"Not a moment of letting her go, but to know that where she is now is a much better place," said Huss.
Family is having visitation tomorrow night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Warlick's Funeral Home. She'll be laid to rest Friday at Trinity Lutheran Church at 3 p.m.