Ashlyn Rayborn stood up in front of hundreds of people to share her thoughts of her late sister, Ansley Rayborn that died in a car accident last week. She shared childhood memories of playing with Ansley and looking up to her as if she was the older sister.
“Ansley was not only a sister, but my best friend,” Ashlyn said with tears streaming down her cheeks and her voice cracking, “Having her as a sister was a privilege and I wouldn’t change that for the world.”
The story of Rayborn’s death is still in question. On Thursday, the funeral at Wildwood Church had standing-room only as many classmates, teachers, friends, and family remembered the Chiles High freshman.
Ansley’s classmates leaned on each other for support as many hugged each other or hung their heads. Some had to step outside as the emotion of this tragedy was difficult to overcome.
Summer Maskevich described her actions when she heard the news to that her best friend was gone. She sat down and looked a blank sheet of paper and wondered what to write about Ansley. She then realized that no words would be ever perfect enough to describe her.
“One simple word won’t leave my head, ‘why.’ Three letters, one word that we all will never get used to.” Maskevich said. “Her beauty and amazing personality is indescribable. We have a beautiful angel looking over us.”
Ansley’s mother, Christi, and father, Sean, oldest sister Ashlyn, and youngest sister, Averey, sat in the front row wearing shades of blue in honor of her blue eyes. Days after Rayborn’s death, students at Chiles High School did the same for the fourteen- year-old in honor of her family.
Madison and Austin Rayborn spoke highly of their cousin. Madison told the packed crowd that she grew up with Ansley.
They shared swimming lessons, birthday lessons, and preschool together. When turned to Austin to speak, he stopped briefly as he fought back tears describing a family vacation at a beach house.
Steve Rayborn, Ansley’s uncle, found out about his niece’s death at a softball tournament with his daughter Madison. A coach asked if he was related to the Ansley, then broke the news. As Madison and Austin accompanied Steve, he stressed to the audience to not take granted of their loved ones.
“Love is forever, but can be short,” Steve said. “There’s nothing uncool about showing your love.”
The funeral closed with Todd Veleber, pastor, delivering a eulogy about the beloved.
“I can’t answer you why such a beautiful young person’s life being cut so short,” Veleber said. “However, I can tell you that God loves Ansley. He heals everything, and helps us with our sadness.”
The pastor ended the service with a prayer and a slide show of Ansley with her family, teachers and peers. Before the casket was taken to the grave, tearful teenagers and family let go green, white, and pink balloons in the sky.
The common topics that were used to describe Rayborn were her kind heartedness, laughter, and her beauty that stunned anyone that came in sight of her.
“She may be gone physically, but the happiness she brought to everyone she talked to will last throughout time.” Ashlyn said.