Jenni Rivera memorial: Her children recall ‘perfectly imperfect’ mom
The children of the late Jenni Rivera remembered their mother as loving, hard-working and "perfectly imperfect" at her memorial Wednesday at the Gibson Amphitheatre.
Family members, all dressed in white, spoke before a crowd of more than 6,000. Rivera's ruby red casket was at the front of the amphitheater, amid dozens of white roses. A single microphone stood nearby, unused.
"We're not here to mourn her death, we're here to celebrate her life," said Rivera's son Michael Rivera, 21. He described the event as the "graduation of a singer, entertainer, philanthropist and more than anything a mother, the best mother."
Her daughter, Jenicka López Rivera, said she loved her mother for who she was, flaws and all, and thanked her for raising her.
"My mom was beautiful and she had a giving heart," Jenicka said amid her tears. "And I'm sorry for not being an obedient daughter, a respectful daughter. I can say mom that you are my warrior, you are my rock."
Rivera's youngest son, 11-year-old Johnny Lopez Rivera, said that even though he only got a few years with his mom she did her best to show him what a role model looked like.
"I've never seen a mom work so hard to accomplish anything," Johnny said, the crowd cheering him on. "It's a real honor to say that Jenni Rivera the person everybody is talking about is my mom and that she still lives in me."
Pedro Rivera Jr., a pastor and Rivera's brother, said his sister overcame many obstacles in her life and rose above them all.
"Because she had the courage and power inside her," he said in Spanish. "She said she would never give up and was victorious. … My sister, Jenni, died in a plane accident, but it was not an accident," he said. "God has a purpose for all of us and God gave let us borrow her for 43 years and enjoy her."
-- Adolfo Flores
Photo: Soledad Hernandez comforts her granddaughter Edlin Mendez, 6, as they watch a memorial service for Jenni Rivera on a large screen monitor in the heart of Universal's CityWalk. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times