DULUTH, Ga. — Dozens of families whose loved ones died from homicides and vehicular homicides gathered Thursday evening for the Gwinnett County District Attorney's Annual Candlelight Vigil to remember and grieve together.
Tori Lang's parents were one of the families there. The 18-year-old was shot and killed at Yellow River Park last year.
Her family could easily be spotted in green, her favorite color, inside 12Stone Church in Duluth for the vigil. Tori's parents often forget what day it is as their healing process continues more than a year after her death.
People, pictures, and candles packed the auditorium with an understanding of the pain others are going through.
“We feel like we’re part of a club that we didn’t want to be part of," Teresa Lang said.
Teresa Lang, Tori's mother, remembered her daughter's bright smile as she clutched a candle closely.
“I’d give anything just to hold her again and just kiss her pretty face, her beautiful face. I’d give anything in the world just to have one last time, one more time, just one more," Teresa said.
Torrey and Teresa Lang lost their 18-year-old daughter in 2021 to gun violence.
“By it being around the holidays, it’s more intense. It’s a little emotional," Torrey said.
They find in an ending a new beginning, by healing with other families whose grief is all too familiar.
“We try not to think about her absence taking us to a dark place," Torrey said.
The Langs never thought they'd lose their only child and have a message for parents.
“I tell other people with children love them, hug them, and give them flowers every day because going to that gravesite and talking to a memorial is hard," Torrey said.
The pictures on their shirts are different, but the sadness they feel is the same, as the families came together to remember those gone too soon.