Christina Grimmie’s parents share how they are dealing with their tragic loss
The assassination of American singer Christina Grimmie while she signed autographs following a performance at the Plaza Live in Orlando in June, shocked the music industry but was absolutely devastating for those who knew her personally.
The 22-year-old, who was a finalist on The Voice 2014, was shot on June 10, 2016 by Kevin James Loibl and taken to hospital in critical condition. The gunman shot himself on the scene, after he was tackled by the singer's brother.
A week after her death, in a public memorial service held in her native New Jersey, thousands of family members, friends, and supporters remembered the talented young woman.
"Christina, I am so proud of you," her aunt Kathy said during the service. "I love you girl. I love that you're walking with Jesus on streets of gold. I'll see you later."
"She was a woman who sought truth with all her heart," a childhood friend shared. "She cared deeply and she loved wholeheartedly." A cousin took the stand saying Christina's joy in life was contagious.
The star's parents wept as they addressed the church, and explained how they were finding the strength to keep going after their daughter was cruelly taken from them.
"I want to share what I've shared with several people here," Albert Grimmie, Christina's father, said. "And that's— there's this gigantic hole in my heart that I know is never going to go away.
"God showed me He's way bigger than that hole," he added.
"The three things that have kept me walking upright, otherwise I would just be a crumpled up mess in the corner, are: that I know I'm going to see her again; I know she's better off now, she's more alive now that she's ever been, she's not going to hurt anymore; and thirdly - and this is where I'm wrestling - is that God's plan is better than my plan."
Christina's mother Tina said she wanted to be strong but wasn't dealing with Christina's death well and was completely dependent on Jesus for strength.
"I don't have too much to say," she began before breaking down, as an eyewitness told US magazine. "To anybody who says I'm strong, I want you to know that I'm the weakest person here, and I declare my dependence on Jesus Christ because I don't have anything else. It's just so much."
Christina was discovered on YouTube in 2010 by Brian and Mandy Teefey after they watched her cover of Miley Cyrus' Party in the USA.
Her career took off as she performed in the UNICEF charity concert, sang backup vocals for Selena Gomez & The Scene, performed alongside Taio Cruz at the 2011 American Music Awards, and released the EP Find Me in 2011 and her album With Love in 2013.
Her second EP, Side A, was released in February this year, and Christina had expressed in interviews her desire to release a second full-length album by the end of the year.
Christina's cover of the song In Christ Alone was played at the start of the memorial. She had posted it on YouTube for Easter 2012 with the accompanying caption: "Owl City's cover of this inspired me to sing this for you guys. Easter is one of my faaaaaavorite holidays! Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour and I'm not at all ashamed of it."?