Family of Saugus shooting victim holds celebration of life ceremony

A guest wearing a "Saugus Strong" jacket embraces a fellow guest at the memorial service of Gracie Muehlberger Saturday afternoon. November 23, 2019. Bobby Block / The Signal.
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The family of Gracie Muehlberger, one of three students killed during the Saugus High School shooting Nov. 14, held a celebration of life ceremony at Real Life Church Saturday.

The event was attended by a few hundred members of the community, along with the Muehlberger family and close friends. As people walked into the church, they could take a pink paper heart to write a kind message to the family on.

“She was always doing kind acts and fun things,” said Bryan Muehlberger, Gracie’s father. “Every story we’ve heard has been just that: her bringing laughter and joy to peoples’ lives. And I just want her to be remembered as that.”

Bryan Muehlberger embraces a church official after giving a statement to press following the memorial service for his daughter Gracie at Real Life Church in Valencia. November 23, 2019. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Guests at the memorial service for Gracie Muehlberger, one of the students killed in the shooting at Saugus High school hugged following the service. November 23, 2019 Bobby Block / The Signal.

Guests at the memorial service of Gracie Muehlberger, one of the students killed in the deadly shooting at Saugus High School, wrote messages on heart shaped note cards for family members to read after the service. November 23, 2019. Bobby Block / The Signal.

During the ceremony, the song “Cinderella” by Steven Curtis Chapman was played and heavily referenced. According to Gracie’s father, he and she used to dance around the kitchen together to that song, sliding around the floor in their socks.

“She was a girl that liked to have fun, and wanted to make a difference and do good things for people,” said Muehlberger. “I don’t ever recall her hurting a soul, I never heard about her getting into a fight with anybody.”

Videos were played during the ceremony that showed Gracie dancing with herself or with friends. Her favorite phrases were recited, and a moment was given where her family thanked the community for helping support them during their time of grief.

Between worship songs performed by a lone guitarist people could be seen visibly holding one another or wiping away tears. After Bryan Muehlberger stood up and spoke to everyone on behalf of the family, recounting his 15 favorite stories about his daughter, people in the audience were allowed to come to the front and share their own favorite stories about the 15-year-old Gracie.

Toward the end of his time talking about his daughter, flanked by both of his sons on stage, Muehlberger shared a journal entry from Gracie’s diary that he said encapsulated his daughter’s life.

Muehlberger read from Gracie’s journal entry, “You only have one life to live so why not live it great, real and fill it with memories and experiences.”

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