Alice Isaac says her son, Cris, was just beginning to find his way in life, discovering a passion by delving into the universal language of music.
Having learned to play at the age of 15, Cris was playing guitar in a band, hanging out with friends and hitting the road to play music and visit cities all around the country. One tour even took him all along the western coast of the United States, Alice says.
Then, on one fateful night in June, it was all cut tragically short.
Cris was killed in a fatal car accident June 5 after 18-year-old Clayton Johnson allegedly crashed into the vehicle Cris was driving. His best friend, Seth Waid, was a passenger in the vehicle and was seriously injured. He suffered a serious brain injury and is currently in a rehabilitation hospital.
Johnson was indicted recently on intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault charges for allegedly causing the crash and is facing up to 30 years in prison.
That night was two months ago, but the loss has affected the family in the many ways grief usually does, Alice says. There is anger from Cris's father, brother and sister at the man sitting in jail who may have killed Cris, and sorrow at the fact that the typical Sunday visits he used to make after moving to Corpus Christi will not happen again.
It may be hard for some to believe, Alice says, but she feels no anger towards the young man who may be responsible for the accident. The reason is simple.
"I know (Cris) would not want me to use my energy for that," she says.
Vader, Cris's black schnauzer, still wanders the home and readily comes up to anyone who may be in the house, anxious to get to know the new person who has just walked in. In that way, Vader is somewhat of a reflection of Cris, Alice says.
"He never looked down on anyone and that was who he was," Alice says. "He just cared about a lot of people."
How many people Cris cared about was obvious, Alice says. He always had friends on the phone or ready to go hang out with. But it wasn't until his funeral that she really saw the magnitude of the impact her son's short life had.
"There must have been about 1,000 people at that funeral," Alice says. "I just couldn't believe it. It was so amazing to see that."
Condolences for the family have been steady since that day, she says, but it was a recent gesture that has really shown Alice how far Cris's impact has reached. A soldier based out of Iraq, Elise Tamez, sent the family a wooden case she designed that had an American flag and a certificate of honor encased within it.
A letter from Elise was also enclosed, explaining to the family that the flag was flown at Camp Striker in Iraq in honor of Cris. A photo was included with the letter, showing an unidentified service member saluting the flag after it had been raised.
Elise, who said she attended school with Cris and would attend his bands' practices because of her then-boyfriend, also told the family in the letter the reason behind her gesture.
"I would like you to know that Cris was very special to me and left footprints on my heart," Elise writes. "He would always joke with me at shows and practices when I attended and I loved that most about him."
Alice says she cannot find the words to describe the gesture made by Elise, and wishes she could thank the young soldier personally, but adds that it comforts her to know her son had such an impact in the lives of so many people. There is still pain, she says, but she takes solace in knowing he accomplished many things during his young life.
"He did more in his 20 years than most people do in a lifetime," Alice says. "Look what he did in such a short amount of time."