An 18-year-old began firing in a classroom, killing nineteen children and two teachers only days before summer break, raining violence not seen in a US school in over a decade. What usually is the happiest time of the year for kids quickly devolved into misery.
Felicha Martinez, mother of 10-year-old Xavier Lopez who was killed in the shooting said that Xavier’s death has brought insurmountable amounts of pain and grief to the household.
The Lopez home was filled with children’s laughs and singing, with 10-year-old Xavier cracking jokes and dancing much of the time.
“He was funny, never serious, and his smile, that smile I will never forget. It would always cheer anyone up,” Martinez told The Washington Post in a breaking voice.
She described Xavier as “full of life” and a “bright light” for the family. He wouldn’t shy away from the camera, swaying his hips, waving his arms, and passionately dancing in the house with his brothers – occasions of happiness recorded by Martinez for her TikTok account.
Xavier was a sports fan in school, especially soccer and baseball, and he was enthusiastic about painting, his favourite subject. “He loved any activity in which he could be creative and especially get to draw,” she added.
Xavier was coming towards the end of his last year of elementary school, and he was eagerly counting the days before he could start Flores Middle School in Uvalde.
“He really couldn’t wait to go to middle school,” she added.
Martinez took a photo of Xavier just hours before the shooting. Before embracing him, she told him that he makes her proud. She called him “mama’s boy” and told him that she loved him before bidding adieu.
As Xavier’s name was called to get his certificate, Martinez was there to cheer him on during the honour roll ceremony in Robb Elementary School.