GRAYSON, Ga. - Family and friends of Paul Sampleton, 14, gathered for a memorial service Thursday evening.
Stephanie Stone, Sampleton's mother, said she struggles to find the words to describe how she has felt since her son was killed.
"I never thought dropping him off at school December 19 at 6:50 in the morning would be the last time I would see my child alive. Never thought that," Stone said. "That's my only baby, that's my only child."
Stone said the past week has been like a nightmare she can't wake up from.
"I'm just waiting on somebody to say, 'Wake up now.' And I guess that's not going to happen," Stone said.
Police are still trying to unravel what happened at the family's Grayson townhome eight days ago.
Paul Sampleton was bound and shot to death inside the home. His father had gone looking for him when no one heard from him after school.
"I can't even describe, I'll never be able describe it. I'll never get that vision out of my head. It's something I'll have to live with forever," said Paul Sampleton Sr.
As family and friends flocked to the Gwinnett County memorial service, Sampleton's parents graciously took time out to talk to Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh about the child they lost just days before Christmas.
"He never got down. He always found the bright side of everything," Sampleton Sr. said.
He said he is truly seeing now how many lives his son touched.
"People we haven't seen in years have stopped me and said, 'We love Paul. We love that big smile. He brighten(ed) up the huddle,"
They said Paul loved football and baseball, and dreamed of playing at a division one school. Those dreams have been cut short.
The parents said they are so grateful for the community that continues to give them an abundance of support.
But they fear what will happen when the commotion subsides and the quiet sets in.
"I keep getting all of this, 'You're not alone.' But I am. I feel alone," Stone said.
Sampleton will be laid to rest Friday in Macon, his mother's hometown.