Tears mixed with laughter as Christina Grimmie's friends and family recalled a girl beyond the stage Friday: The one who never forgot a birthday, loved ginger-bread cookies, wanted to marry a man like her father, and underlined verses in her Bible.
"My friend, she's not dead," Sarah Luebkemann, who met Grimmie in kindergarten, told mourners in the crowded sanctuary of Fellowship Alliance Chapel in Medford, N.J. "She's more alive than she ever was."
"It happened so fast," said Grimmie's brother, Marcus, who tackled the gunman who fatally shot his sister last Friday.
The former contestant on The Voice was greeting fans after a concert in Orlando, Fla.
His sister's arms, he said, were open toward her fans as she signed autographs.
"She saw Jesus next," he said. "Her arms were open for him."
About 1,500 people came to the chapel Friday evening to remember Grimmie's life at a public memorial service. It followed nearly five hours of visitation, during which a constant influx of fans, friends, and others came - amid heavy security - to pay respects to Grimmie's family.
Grimmie, a Marlton native who moved to California in 2012 to tour with Selena Gomez, was buried Thursday in a small private ceremony for the family in South Jersey. At the service Friday, her parents spoke emotionally.
"There's this gigantic hole in my heart that I know is never going to go away," said her father, Albert "Bud" Grimmie. He predicted, however, that he would see her again. "God's plan is better than my plan. I know that for a fact."
Grimmie's mother, Tina, recalled that when Christina was a baby, she did not talk - she "La, La, La'd" instead.
"I always told her to sing for Jesus," her mother said.
"It's just so much," she said, shaking her head. "I always told her I loved her."
Police said Kevin James Loibl, 27, of St. Petersburg, Fla., shot Grimmie, who was rushed to a hospital, where she died. Loibl shot and killed himself when Marcus Grimmie tackled him.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said Loibl may have been a deranged fan, but police were still investigating a motive Friday.
At the service, two large screens showed videos of Grimmie singing her track, "With Love," and her version of "In Christ Alone." The music blasted throughout the room.
"We need people to cry with," said Marty Berglund, the senior pastor. "We need people to laugh with. It's part of the grieving process."
Then he led a prayer: "We're confused and we're hurt deep. We need your help."
Even before the chapel doors opened around 3 p.m. for people to pay respects, about 200 mourners stood outside. Guards wanded and checking people as they entered the property. No one was permitted to bring a bag inside.
Among those who appeared was Evesham Township Mayor Randy Brown, who said he had "cried every day" since Grimmie's death.
"When one person has made such an impact in a community like Christina has, today's a day not just to mourn her, but today's a day to celebrate the life that she had," Brown said, "and more importantly the difference she has made in people's lives."
Eileen Waldin, of Lindenwold, said she served as the florist for the funeral and went to the same church as the family. She said she had known Grimmie since she was born.
"She was just a beautiful person, inside and out," she said. "Faith was the basis and foundation in her life."
There were 150 volunteers from Fellowship Alliance to help with traffic and offer assistance to the crowds. Some handed out tissues and water bottles to the line that continued to form outside the chapel.
Among family and friends, some fans also joined the line wearing T-shirts with Grimmie's image on them.
One of Grimmie's fans, Shana Wilson, 17, came in from Illinois on Thursday to get to the service Friday.
Wilson said she had connected with the singer through YouTube. She had heard Grimmie's cover of the song "Hallelujah," began following her on Twitter, and met her in 2013.
"She was a great person, she was the best, she was just the most genuine person," Wilson said. "She was close with everybody, she was nice to everybody. It didn't matter who you were."
Grimmie attended Cherokee High School through 2010. About six miles from the memorial service Friday night, Cherokee High School had its graduation.