Mother hopes to one day forgive man who shot her daughter

Mother hopes to one day forgive man who shot her daughter

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - The family of 17-year-old Rachel Lewis is mourning their loss as they plan the funeral services. Rachel Lewis was


in the Bass Pro Shop parking lot by a 20-year-old North Carolina man, apparently by accident.

The Lewis family explains they are leaning on one another to stay strong. Rachel's mother, Angela Lewis, explains Rachel was the baby of the family and was loved by everyone who met her.

"You never think something like this will happen to your child," Angela Lewis cried. A mother's worst nightmare is reality for Angela Lewis.

"I go through these different stages right now, where I feel numb but I know she's in a better place. I know she doesn't have to worry anymore,"

Angela talked about how Rachel had a bright future with a lot she wanted to get done. She said she was high-spirited, and doing better than ever in school.

"I wanted so much for her, but I can't do anything anymore," Lewis said. Understanding it was an accident, Lewis says they don't have any hard feelings towards Zackary, but that won't bring Rachel back.

"He needs to know that, that was so, so, so, foolish, what he did. I think they call that showing off and I think things like that are ridiculous, and you don't show off things like that because a gun ain't nothing to show off," Lewis explained.

Angela hopes she can one day find the strength to forgive the young man who took her daughter's life. She says she knows Zack will have to live with what he's done for the rest of his life, and so will they.

"Every morning when I go in that bathroom, I can smell her. I smell her on her shirts. I take them, and smell them because they smell like her," Lewis cried.

What keeps Angela and the rest of the family strong is remembering Rachel, and her passions.

"She was an artist, she loved art, she could draw some beautiful pictures. She loved her family, she loved family and what she wanted to be, was a veterinarian, to graduate and be a veterinarian, she loved all animals," Lewis said as she went through old baby pictures of Rachel.

Rachel's funeral services start Tuesday and even though the family doesn't have the money for burial, that isn't stopping Angela from making it special. Monday, she bought Rachel an outfit to wear, something she  knows she would have loved.

"That broke my heart, because I know I'll never be able to buy her anything again, I'll never be able to comb her pretty hair. We'll never be able to watch our T.V. shows again together... like we used to do.. I'm going to miss that... a whole lot," Lewis sobbed.

Angela is thankful the last words she said to Rachel as she walked out the door that night, were 'I love you.'

"I know it will get easier, but it doesn't seem that way right now," Lewis said.

Rachel's services will be Tuesday with visitation from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Johnson Funeral Home in Aynor. Her funeral services will be the following day, Wednesday, at 2 p.m. also at the Johnson Funeral Home. Her burial will follow at Hillcrest Cemetery.

Angela Lewis feels the last thing she can do for her daughter is give her the special services she deserves.

Rachel's aunt, Donna Manneraak, has set up a Rachel Nicole Lewis Memorial Fund at the Anderson Bank in Conway. The donations will be going to the funeral home for Rachel's final expenses.

Manneraak says the funeral home will also be taking donations.

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