The daughter of Eva Mireles, a fourth grade teacher who was one of two educators at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, who were killed in Tuesday’s mass shooting, has written a touching tribute in memory of her mother.
Adalynn Ruiz shared her emotional letter on both Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday. For her Twitter post, Ruiz wrote, “My sweet mommy, I will miss you forever,” alongside a white heart and a dove emoji.
In the letter, Ruiz addressed her mom as “the half that makes me whole.”
She said, “Mom, I have no words to describe how I feel right now, tomorrow, and for the rest of my life. I never thought that I would be here writing this type of post for you.”
Ruiz called Mireles her “hero” and said she is trying to tell herself that the massacre, in which at least 19 children and two adults were killed, didn’t happen.
“I just want to hear your voice,” she wrote before recalling hearing her mom play with the dogs in the morning. “I want to hear you say ‘Nanis wake up already man!’ Because I keep snoozing my alarm. I want to hug you one last time and I want to feel the calluses on your hands because you were not only a teacher during the day, but the most hardworking cross fitter in the afternoon.”
She shared that her mom called her every day after she left work. Ruiz expressed wanting to be able to see her mom sitting on the couch, to send her TikToks, to sing karaoke together and do more of their favorite activities.
Ruiz then wrote, “I want everything back. I want you to come back to me mom. I miss you more than words can explain. My beautiful mom, thank you for the funniest memories. Thank you for the best times of my life. Thank you for being my bestfriend. Thank you for being the best mom anyone could ask for.”
She said that the world now knows her mother’s name and what “a hero looks like.” She added that she doesn’t “know how to do this life without you,” and promised to take care of her father.
“I will take care of our dogs and I will forever say your name so you are always remembered, Eva Mireles, 4th grade teacher at Robb Elementary who selflessly jumped in front of her students to save their lives,” she said. “My heart will forever be broken. My bestfriend, my twin was taken from me.”
At the end of the heartbreaking letter, Ruiz thanked her mom for being an inspiration and told her they would see each other again.
In the Facebook post, she also recognized everyone who has offered their condolences and sent her support to the other families who lost a loved one.
“God bless you all and please hold yalls mommas tight for me,” she concluded.
Mireles’ death was confirmed by her aunt, Lydia Martinez Delgado, who spoke to The New York Times on the phone Tuesday. She told the publication that her niece died while trying to protect her students.
According to the Robb Elementary School website, Mireles had been an educator for the last 17 years. The website also says that her husband is a Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD) officer and that daughter Ruiz is a college graduate.
Amber Ybarra, Mireles’ cousin, spoke about the shooting during a video visit to TODAY on Wednesday.
“No one walked into that school yesterday knowing that anything like this was possible,” Ybarra shared.
Like Ruiz, she also referred to Mireles as a hero and said she was not surprised that her cousin risked her life for her students.
“She was absolutely vivacious,” said Ybarra. “She was definitely an adventurer. You know, it breaks my heart. I just saw her for Christmas this last December, and ... her cooking was amazing, her laughter was contagious.”
Ybarra, who grew up in Uvalde, described the town as a “tight-knit community.” She added, “I hope that we could support each other in this very tough time, and see what we can do to rise up as a community and be there for each other because these families need it.”
Fellow fourth grade teacher Irma Garcia was killed in the shooting as well. Garcia and Mireles had worked as co-teachers for five years.
NBC News spoke with Garcia’s son, who said law enforcement told him that his mother also died while shielding her students from the gunman.
When speaking with NBC News’ Morgan Chesky, a friend of Garcia’s praised the teacher for being “just a beautiful soul” and “someone who loved children. Someone you respected because she was just a good human being.”
The suspected gunman, who was fatally shot by police, was identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos during a news conference Tuesday with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Tuesday’s massacre marked the deadliest school shooting since the Dec. 14, 2012, attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.