Family, friends recall student's life (video)
A crisp breeze whispered through the air Wednesday night in Victoria as a small group gathered to remember their friend - for a moment the weather was perfect.
Joann Ramirez, a mother grieving for her son, took joy in the weather shift, and through her tears, she smiled. "It was raining the day he died."
June 19, 2012, Jacob Guzman was riding passenger in his friend's, Mario Garcia's, red Camaro.
Garcia lost control of the car on U.S. Highway 87 North, causing it to veer into oncoming traffic before crashing head-on into a Chevrolet Tahoe.
Guzman was pronounced dead at the scene.
The next Sunday, Guzman was buried and his family and friends gathered at a pavilion in Victoria Youth Sports Complex to celebrate his life.
A year later, they gathered again at the park to look for closure.
"Tonight, it's not about sorrow," Ramirez said. "It's about joy."
About 40 family members and close friends stood in a circle and shared memories about the street they grew up on and how Guzman touched their lives.
Adriana Sierra said Guzman's death hit her hard a year ago.
"Even though it's a year later," she said, "it still hurts."
Sierra dated Guzman briefly, and she said she holds on to a lot of memories, especially his goofy grin.
"I just want to let him know that he's still important," she said, "that we're still thinking of him."
John Lara said he cannot believe it has been a year since his brother-in-law died.
"The thought of it still hurts," he said. "But we're not sad for him."
Lara said he's happy his brother is in a better place.
"The world today is not the best place to live," he said. "Him not being here causes all of us to live our lives to the fullest."
Ramirez said that is the exact message she wants all of her son's friends to take away from his death.
That, she said, is what her son would want.
"Please live your life to the fullest," she cried out to the group, asking them to stop posting about the death on Facebook and instead find closure.
Purple and gold balloons were released as a final goodbye.