Rain fell from the sky like tears from the clouds hovering above St. Margaret's Church Wednesday Dec. 1 as family and friends of Jenni-Lyn Watson, 20, of Liverpool, gathered to pay their final respects.
At some point during the nearly two-hour-long service to celebrate Jenni-Lyn's life, that rain turned to snow - and blanketed the area in a white as bright as the bed her body laid in.
Father Francis Pompei said during the homily that he didn't know Jenni-Lyn and it was only a week before when he met her family, just five days after the Mercyhurst dance major disappeared.
"What do we have in common from this past week and a half?" Pompei said. "You and I have experienced the devastating and overwhelming power of death. ... They told us this, the death of Jenni-Lyn, would be unbearable. They told us death is final."
But death is not final, because, "God gives life," he said.
After a week of questions from a hundred and more people, most asking, "Why?" and "Why did God take this beautiful and gifted young woman?" Pompei had an answer.
"God wanted me to tell all of you he doesn't take life. He didn't take Jenni-Lyn."
And for those who asked him where God was, Pompei told the hundreds gathered God can be found in the day we learned to walk - a child will take a few steps without a parent's hand to guide them, first feeling abandoned and then learning to trust.
During their time of need the Watson family and friends of Jenni-Lyn put their trust in God as He was in each of them.
"God was in every tear we shed," Pompei said.
And in the midst of the fear and despair and doubt, Jenni-Lyn's family was able to take a baby step toward focusing and trusting in the Lord.