BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Madysyn Garza would have graduated Tuesday from Ridgeview High School, cheered on by friends and loved ones, according to her mother Amber Morales. Instead, Morales sat in her daughter's place, honoring the memory of the child she lost.
Madysyn died in 2018 at the age of 14 when a drunk driver hit crashed into the family's vehicle. The crash also killed Madysyn's father Adam Garza, her brother Kaleb, and the drunk driver.
On Tuesday Morales sat in her daughter's seat as they called her daughter's name among the other graduates. Morales said she kept imagining what her daughter would be wearing on her special day, how she would have painted her nails, and most importantly what she would be feeling.
Morales and Madysyn’s friends said they’ve felt a wide range of emotions on this day.
"I'm emotional, I'm happy, I'm sad," Morales said. "I'm happy to see all the graduates and all her friends and all that they're gonna do but I'm sad at the same time because Maddy should be here to do that.”
Her friends said they think of Madysyn every day, and since her death, have learned to lean on each other for support.
“These girls give me a sense of Madysyn at the same time I give them a sense of her," Morales said. "It's a beautiful thing for us to go through our grief together.”
Morales said it was a long battle with the school just to get her name called at graduation, so she is happy they were able to honor her daughter.