'Celebration of Life' service for Pulse victim Brenda McCool

- Brenda Lee Marquez-McCool, one of the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting, was remembered in a Celebration of Life ceremony Monday afternoon at the First United Methodist Church in downtown Orlando. 

Two-hundred people came to pay their respects, many of the folks filling the pews, her large family.  “I just want to say that my mom was the best mom out there.  I never thought that her life would be ending right in front of my eyes,” said Isaiah Henderson. 

You could feel the pain in Henderson’s voice as he spoke to the crowd. “I kept so positive that she was going to make it,” said Henderson, as he talked about watching the last moments of his mother’s life at Pulse nightclub. 

Henderson was so overcome with emotion, two of his brothers got up to stand by his side so he could talk to the crowd that came to say goodbye to 49-year-old McCool.  “Everyone who knew my mom knew she was the mom that everybody wanted, she always took everyone in with open arms.  She loved everybody equally, no matter what,” said Henderson. 

McCool had 11 children.  One by one, here’s what each said about their mom.  “She had no regrets.”  “She was a warrior.”  McCool was a two-time cancer survivor.  “The thing she was afraid of the most, she beat.” 

The children, range in age from nine to 24.  They described their mom as being loud, funny, over the top.  Each is confident in the love McCool had for them. They say she loved to dance, which was one of the reasons she was out supporting Henderson at Pulse that night.    “I wouldn’t trade my mom for the world,” said Henderson. 

McCool’s oldest daughter told the congregation that her mother was her best friend and leaves quite the legacy behind.  “She always told me she was proud of me, no matter what I did. I just want to thank her for teaching me everything she taught me. How to be a woman, how to be a mother, how to be a lover, how to be a fighter and how to be family oriented, because that’s what I am now. I’m a better woman because of my mother,” Khalisha Pressley, McCool’s oldest daughter.

A beautiful life cut short in an instant and while she may be gone, this family made it clear Brenda Lee Marquez McCool will not be forgotten.

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