HOUSTON -- A small group of Stay family friends gathered in a home in Spring Wednesday morning, just three miles from where the Stays lived. But they did not want to talk about the horrible tragedy that happened in the Stay s home one week ago. They came together to talk about their friends' lives.

The family was wonderful, said friend Don Guthrie.

He and three other friends talked about the family's strength.

I just know that if Katie were here she d say quit crying and go do something, Thomas Mixon said.

Katie Stay was shot to death with her husband Stephen and four of their children last week.

We did not hear their alleged killer's name once at the gathering of friends. Instead we heard about 4-year-old Zach.

He would call his sisters his girls, said friend Moriah Davis.

They also talked about how much the girls loved to dance: 7-year-old Rebecca, and 9-year-old Emily.

She loved to hug, said Davis.

And they remembered the girls brother 14-year-old brother Brian's happy spirit.

I ve never known a soul that would smile as much as Brian, said Guthrie.

The friends say the children were a testament to their parents' love.

They were always constantly trying to improve and treat everyone better every day, said Mixon.

That s an example the friends will hold on to as they carry on.

I try not to remember and think about the horrible things that happened to them, but instead think about their beautiful lives and how they touched ours, said another friend Crystal Ross.

Guthrie added, You can either focus on the bitterness, or you can choose to set that aside.

That's a lesson 15-year-old daughter Cassidy, the only one to survive the mass shooting, seems to have learned, too hard and too young.

I think she epitomizes the Stay family, said Guthrie. It was just incredible the way she radiated peace.

One light now left to speak for a family, but never left alone.

Just love and just remember the family for who they were, said Davis.


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