To commemorate the anniversary death of Brandon Thornton, his family decided to have a ceremony and party today.
In January of 2018, Brandon was shot in the head outside of his aunt's home on Marinawoods Drive in Huntsville. Two days later, he died in the hospital.
"We have to live with this every single day. We have to wake up, knowing he's not here. We have to go to bed, knowing he's not here. It's a struggle to live," said Tammy Thornton.
Family and friends visited Brandon's grave site. They told WAAY 31, there's not a day that goes by when they don't think about him.
"When police tell you on the phone, there's been an accident, we had to break down your gate, you need to go to the hospital, you don't think of death," Thornton said.
Though Brandon died a year ago, his aunt Tammy Thornton said she still remembers his murder like it was yesterday.
"He was watching my dog for me at my condo and I was going to go away for the weekend to Decatur, so not far," Thornton said.
Brandon had a friend over with him. The 16-year-old friend is accused of shooting him in the head. Two days later, Brandon died in the hospital.
"We're a close knit family, so we were in contact with him up until an hour or two hours before it happened," Thornton said.
His best friend and girlfriend said they miss his positive energy.
"When I'm having a bad day, he's who I leaned on to help it be better. I miss him a lot," said Brianna Heaton.
The family said investigators are still looking into the murder. Madison County Deputy District Attorney Tim Gann told WAAY 31 a court date has not been set yet because he believes the teen has not been indicted yet. Until there's a court date and answers, the family said they can't begin to heal.
"We can't have him back. The next time I see Brandon will be when I go to heaven," Thornton said.
Brandon's mother plans to ask Grissom High School officials if they can save a seat for her son at his graduation.
He would have been a senior this year.