Aaliyah Rosa was just seven years old when she was killed. (Dignity Memorial)

‘I can’t believe she’s gone’: Loved ones pay tribute to Aaliyah Rosa

The seven-year-old girl was found dead in an apartment in late July

Hundreds of loved ones gathered at a Langley church on Tuesday to remember a seven-year-old girl who was a “once-in-a-lifetime friend” found dead in an apartment late last month.

Friends, family and caregivers packed the auditorium at the Christian Life Assembly, fighting back tears, to tell the story of Aaliyah Rosa’s too-short life.

The girl’s death has been declared a homicide after her body was found in the building near 200 Street and 68 Avenue in Langley’s Willoughby neighbourhood the night of July 22. A 36-year-old woman, who was taken into medical care at the time, is believed to have been involved, but police have not provided details.

Pastor Bill Ashbee asked for a moment of silence as he read a prayer for Aaliyah.

“In the middle of a puzzlingly evil act, God loves children,” Ashbee said.

He addressed the girl’s father, Steve Rosa, who was sitting in the front row with other family members.

“Steve, we’ve talked, and I understand some of the questions you have, all of the emotions… all of the whys. We’re here on this journey with you,” Ashbee said. “This is a safe place for you today, Steve. A safe place for all.”

Trish Wright, one of Aaliyah’s after-school teachers, spoke about a vivacious girl who brightened every room she walked into.

“She wore her heart on sleeve and let you know exactly how she felt,” said Wright. “Aaliyah would be the first one fighting with the boys over which Hot Wheels were hers… she stood her ground for what she believed were her truths.”

READ MORE: Online fundraiser started for dad of 7-year-old girl killed in Langley

With a constant sparkle of mischief in her eyes, Aaliyah was always the star of the show.

“Aaliyah loved to play ‘freeze dance’ with her favourite pop star Taylor Swift blaring from the stereo. The girls would all sing from the top of their lungs: ‘We are never, ever, ever getting back together!’” Wright said. “I’m shocked we didn’t wear that CD out.”

And no matter what, Aaliyah was forever “daddy’s little girl,” Wright said.

When Steve dropped off his daughter every day, Aaliyah would ask him to stay.

“‘Daddy, please just one more hug,’ she would beg. And Steve would always give it.”

Nadia Causley, the mom of Aaliyah’s best friend, Stella, talked about a girl with a contagious smile who made the Causley family her own.

“Aaliyah is a once-in-a-lifetime friend. She and Stella will always be besties,” said Causley.

The two girls met in pre-school, but Aaliyah quickly became much more than that.

“She became a part of our family… our rambunctious fourth child,” Causley said. “When she would come over, it would be full-on arguing and fighting with all of our kids with the familiarity and love of siblings.”

She paused, gathering her emotions.

“I can’t believe she’s gone,” she said. “Aaliyah was awesome. For those of you who didn’t know her… you missed out. The world missed out.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

COMMUTER ALERT: Serious pedestrian crash closes Pacific Highway

Traffic along 176th Street, 4th to 8th Avenue, is blocked while Mounties continue to investigate.

B.C. Sports Hall of Fame to give Giants owner Ron Toigo W.A.C. Bennett Award

Head of Langley-based team has been involved with junior hockey since the 1990s

Church invites all faiths to a labyrinth walk

The labyrinth at St. Dunstan’s church is inviting everyone to an interfaith gathering on Nov. 18.

Artist uses paint to tell stories from past

Detlef (Dick) Aporta tells stories of working at White Pine Sawmill in his exhibit Always Becoming.

VIDEO: Young Langley boy uses his grief to help other kids suffering loss

Thursday Langley Hospice hosts its Paint the Town Blue campaign to spotlight child bereavement.

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Tubing, skating, light display part of new winter festival in Vancouver

Set to open Nov. 23, the six-week festival will take over Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Centre

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Regulatory confusion over ‘toxic’ stink near Abbotsford school

Officials sniffing out which regulators responsible for enforcing compliance at neighbouring property

Most Read