GANSEVOORT, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Being present with family is what the holidays are all about. Sometimes though, not everyone is able to be present, like 20-year old Abby Jenks of Ganesvoort.

So her family got creative with a celebration right at home for their angel. “It is about Abby for us but it can also be about anyone who needs healing,” says mother Mary Jenks, “anyone who wants to light a candle can come and remember their own loved one. I think it just provides that healing aspect for everyone here and the community as well.” 

Abby’s mother set up a table with candles, ornaments of angels, and even artwork from her daughter to share with family and friends who gathered Sunday evening. “So people can remember Abigail by and then on the back is her picture as well.” 

Abby Jenks was a soldier with 82nd Airborne who died during a training operation this April. “For a long time, I was in denial,” Abby’s mother says, “even though I went through all the events. The burial and everything. I just kept telling myself this cannot be real. I know it’s not real.” 

For Abby’s family it’s not a question of how do you keep her memory alive, rather, “the question is ‘how could you not’?,” says her great-aunt Diana Jenks Klementowski, “she was so much a part of our lives. She was so important to us. She was so alive and so excited. And so beautiful. She was just so full of joy.”

At the end of the memorial, friends and family went around telling stories of Abigail, remembering their angel.