Son saved by mom in Orlando massacre breaks down as she's laid to rest: 'I haven't stopped crying'

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Son Breaks Down at Funeral For Mom Who Saved His Life During Orlando Massacre

The beloved mother who was fatally shot while protecting her son during the massacre at the Orlando nightclub Pulse has been laid to rest, as family and friends tearfully said goodbye during an emotional service for the woman who gave her life to save those she loved.

Read: Stories Emerge of Heroes Who Died Shielding Loved Ones in Orlando Massacre

Mourners gathered together at First United Methodist Church in Orlando Monday for Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, who was out dancing with her son when Omar Mateen opened fire, killing 49 people, including the much-adored mother of 11.

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool (Facebook)

"My mom was the best mom ... Everybody who knew my mom knew she was the mom everybody wanted," her son Isaiah Henderson, 21, said during a heart-wrenching eulogy. "She always took everybody in with open arms. She loved everybody equally, no matter what."

Isaiah Henderson and his mother Brenda Lee Marquez McCool (Facebook)

Henderson watched as his mother was gunned down June 12 in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. McCool saw the gunman open fire and pushed her son and a friend out of harm's way before she was killed, witnesses said.

See more from the heartbreaking funeral:

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A mourner arrives for the funeral of Pulse shooting victim Brenda Lee Marquez McCool at First United Methodist Church on June 20, 2016 in downtown Orlando. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Sons Michael Marquez, from left, Isaiah Henderson and Robert Presley grieve during the funeral of Pulse shooting victim Brenda Lee Marquez McCool at First United Methodist Church in Orlando, Fla., on Monday, June 20, 2016. Henderson, center, was in the nightclub with his mother, Brenda Lee, when she was fatally wounded. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
The family processes with the casket of Pulse shooting victim Brenda Lee Marquez McCool during her funeral at First United Methodist Church in Orlando, Fla., on Monday, June 20, 2016. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Sons Anthony Jones, Monte Lindsey and Robert Presley grieve at the casket for their mother and Pulse shooting victim Brenda Lee Marquez McCool at First United Methodist Church in Orlando, Fla., on Monday, June 20, 2016. The three performed several songs during the funeral. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Pallbearers carry the casket as the family processes from the funeral of Pulse shooting victim Brenda Lee Marquez McCool at First United Methodist Church in Orlando, Fla., on Monday, June 20, 2016. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Isaiah Henderson, Tatiana Harris, center, and Khiana Marshall watch 49 white balloons after they were released during the funeral for their mother, Pulse shooting victim Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, at First United Methodist Church in Orlando, Fla., Monday, June 20, 2016. Henderson, left, was in the nightclub with his mother, Brenda Lee, when she was fatally wounded. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
A friend holds up an American flag as the hearse drives away following the funeral for Pulse shooting victim Brenda Lee Marquez McCool at First United Methodist Church in Orlando, Fla., on Monday, June 20, 2016. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Pallbearers carry the casket as the family processes from the funeral of Pulse shooting victim Brenda Lee Marquez McCool at First United Methodist Church in Orlando, Fla., on Monday, June 20, 2016. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
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"I never thought her life would end right in front of my eyes," he said, breaking down as he paid tribute to the mother he said was "crazy," but in a good way.

Michael Marquez (left) and Robert Presley (far right) join their brother Isaiah Henderson (center) as he sobs during their mother's funeral. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)

"I didn't want to speak, because I knew this was going to happen," Henderson said as he cried, leaning on two of his brothers for support. "But I knew I would have regretted it if I never spoke.
"I haven't stopped crying since this happened," he continued.

McCool was a two-time cancer survivor who moved from her native Brooklyn to California and then to Florida, where she was reportedly working toward her real estate license before she was killed.

Read: Anderson Cooper Gets Emotional as He Reads Names of Orlando Massacre Victims

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer declared Monday a citywide day of mourning in honor of McCool, who he said was an "outstanding citizen" held in high esteem by all who knew her.

"She was a fighter, full of energy and full of life," he said. "Our community will be stronger because of Brenda."

After the service, mourners gathered in front of the church and released 49 white balloons in the air in McCool's honor as her body was placed in a hearse.

Isaiah Henderson, Tatiana Harris, center, and Khiana Marshall watch 49 white balloons after they were released during the funeral for their mother, Brenda Lee Marquez McCool. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)

"She always told me that when she passed away she didn't want us to be sad, she wanted us to party and celebrate her life, because my mom — she never had any regrets," her son Robert Pressley said after McCool was killed.

"My mom is in a better place," he continued. "And I know that she passed away but... she passed away doing what she loved — supporting her kids and having fun with her kids."

McCool's brother Michael Marquez, Jr. honored that wish, saying during her funeral that while her death has left a huge hole in his heart, he knew that there would be more dancing in heaven now.

"Tell Jesus," he said as the congregation laughed, "to step up his salsa game."

Remember the Orlando shooting victims:

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ORLANDO, USA - JUNE 13: Pictures of one of the massacre victims left at a make shift memorial at Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, USA on June 13, 2016. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, USA - JUNE 13: Pictures of one of the massacre victims left at a make shift memorial at Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, USA on June 13, 2016. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
People wave rainbow flags and hold portraits on the Place de la Comedie in Montpellier on June 13, 2016 as they pay homage to the victims of a shooting at a gay nighclub in Orlando. / AFP / SYLVAIN THOMAS (Photo credit should read SYLVAIN THOMAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Since he was a boy, Anthony Luis Laureano Disla loved to dance. Early Sunday morning, he was dancing and laughing with his friends at Pulse nightclub in Orlando when a gunman stormed and shot him. Laureano Disla was 25. His obituary is linked in our bio. #PulseShooting #OrlandoUnited #PrayForOrlando #OrlandoStrong
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon moved from Puerto Rico to Vero Beach, longtime friend Daniel Gmys-Casiano said, and was immediately promoted to manager at a shoe store. He was a protector, confidant and hero, Gmys-Casiano said. Wilson-Leon died in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. He was 37. His obituary is linked in our bio. #PulseShooting #OrlandoUnited #PrayForOrlando #OrlandoStrong
Enrique L. Rios left his home in New York to spend the weekend celebrating a friend's birthday in Orlando. He was killed in the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub Sunday. He was 25. His obituary is linked in our bio. #PulseShooting #OrlandoUnited #PrayForOrlando #OrlandoStrong
To Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, good living was all about looking, smelling and feeling his best, loved ones said. He and his longtime partner, Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, were together at Pulse nightclub early Sunday, and both were among the victims who died in the shooting. Perez was 35. His obituary is linked in our bio. #PulseShooting #OrlandoUnited #PrayForOrlando #OrlandoStrong
#PulseShooting victim Mercedez Marisol Flores lived "her life way she wanted to" https://t.co/UvRbZGXrkR https://t.co/XUavmANlgV
#PulseShooting victim Javier Jorge-Reyes had "a caring heart" https://t.co/nj8mHDAzj5 https://t.co/zEsCirT0tv
#PulseShooting victim Darryl Roman Burt II: The kind of person always willing to help https://t.co/XWZUMK3v96 https://t.co/P34dZLLTMI
#PulseShooting victim Jerald Arthur Wright: part of a tight-knit Disney family https://t.co/9VDSBbAtlM https://t.co/bqIHItjzMx
#PulseShooting victim Juan Chavez Martinez remembered as kind boss https://t.co/Q9LoBEzR9a https://t.co/750dJv1k9O
#PulseShooting victim Edward Sotomayor Jr.: Travel site brand manager mourned https://t.co/4WvuWpf1WO https://t.co/WnmtowrNv0
#PulseShooting victim Stanley Almodovar III: "Amazing person with a good soul" https://t.co/TptiBAC0F4 https://t.co/A8uTHkdIUv
#PulseShooting victim Kimberly 'KJ' Morris: Bouncer at nightclub always wore a smile https://t.co/Qhc11pIm7x https://t.co/xv6btN6fJt
#PulseShooting Juan Ramon Guerrero: Clubgoer went to Pulse with boyfriend https://t.co/2O1PtMLd7N https://t.co/ARI2JrhUNe
#PulseShooting victim Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz called "wonderful cousin" https://t.co/2AimnbgmRl https://t.co/6HdUFZLxab
#PulseShooting victim Luis Vielma: Theme-park worker was "true friend" https://t.co/2ndLrp6fZ4 https://t.co/ZCHPkqdD9M
#PulseShooting victim Eric Ivan Ortiz Rivera: Always willing to help https://t.co/u4y9djGfjO https://t.co/50wYaYsxbi
#PulseShooting victim Eddie Justice texted his mother he loved her during shooting https://t.co/ncpWg3bTM8 https://t.co/3z9QlnfU0x
#PulseShooting victim Shane Evan Tomlinson had band performance just hours before he died https://t.co/V2FzgWVDL1 https://t.co/04nrIfjBr8
#PulseShooting victim Miguel Angel Honorato was Apopka father of 3 https://t.co/pL3ODPKbRl https://t.co/CWGl3RWl7s
#PulseShooting victim Jason Josaphat was a soft-spoken teen excited for the journey ahead https://t.co/CGfustjw4R https://t.co/0mB4Lw60ok
#PulseShooting victim Amanda Alvear wouldn't want hate spread in her name https://t.co/jlck4GCni6 https://t.co/gGcewMqAT4
#PulseShooting victim Brenda Lee Marquez McCool was a mother of of 12 https://t.co/9g6UQvQody https://t.co/8KxnRPduPH
#PulseShooting victim Christopher Sanfeliz was a bank worker from Tampa https://t.co/NmZVLzkNn0 https://t.co/kaNE6htcrm
#PulseShooting victim Simon Carrillo was a good boss who loved to travel https://t.co/TjVwcyYxPS https://t.co/HfBeklS9gJ
Shooting victim Jean Carlos Nieves Rodriguez: 'Whatever you needed, you could count on him' https://t.co/AzS8r3WAgm https://t.co/mcTW41S1Pp
#PulseShooting victim Christopher Leinonen was a gay rights activist https://t.co/C9pcRIBWPt https://t.co/uRM6d1zWGM
#PulseShooting victim Jonathan Camuy: Great employee of @LaVozKids on @telemundo https://t.co/5yiEe8CplH https://t.co/xx5Gg5ekBm
Soft-spoken teen #PulseShooting victim Jason Josaphat was excited for the journey ahead https://t.co/YBi6yenkPP https://t.co/JwckpTI6Yq
#PulseShooting victim Gilberto Silva was "light, life" of family https://t.co/yhWMunChQ4 https://t.co/nrw6SqEJFV
#PulseShooting victim Oscar Aracena returned from vacation a day before he died https://t.co/V2nomox0ax https://t.co/XWQc98bCMg
#PulseShooting victim Tevin Eugene Crosby was a hardworking business owner https://t.co/D9qYDR0Y6z https://t.co/40nqriye7J
Leroy Valentin Fernandez was a natural performer. His zeal for life spilled offstage and f… https://t.co/KBjpemnGZZ https://t.co/IsN5w1DHJz
The last image friends have of Omar Capo shows the 20-year-old doing what he loves: Dancin… https://t.co/BiW5QRJLnY https://t.co/DvVjDt1tUS
Shane Evan Tomlinson sang with his band Frequency Saturday night at Blue Martini nightclub… https://t.co/m1Q0oQGKRG https://t.co/wSQnGsiT7G
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 "He was the type of guy who goes along with anybody." https://t.co/zpe4iKKR74
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33, worked at a blood donation center and "loved to dance salsa" https://t.co/VyBRWl9l6t https://t.co/wRhlZrIrPC
#PulseShooting victim Angel Luis Candelario-Padro was in Orlando to start a new life https://t.co/FkaTvfPMIs https://t.co/DqvGJpGiKB
YOU MATTERED❤@TheTalkSoup: Cory James Connell, 21, #PulseNightclub #Orlando #victims https://t.co/nyEsvomYgx
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32, worked at Pulse, her aunt called her murder "senseless" https://t.co/VyBRWl9l6t https://t.co/pf9vQjWRCB
We won't let you go unheard, Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old #PulseShooting https://t.co/nsODtqcACR
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old. Rest in Peace. 🌈❤️ https://t.co/GsIWQRyASa
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32, was with his boyfriend, Juan Guerrero, 22, at the club https://t.co/jnYLtN81jR https://t.co/aq5vjFpLBU
Akyra Murray -- 18 -- Just graduated. Star basketball player (1,000 points in her career). #6of49 #WeSpeakYourName https://t.co/YxPQmYXAtj
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32, "was always trying to do stuff to make you feel better" https://t.co/VyBRWl9l6t https://t.co/wXdWWe9eaq
#RIP Martin Benitez Torres, 33, from Puerto Rico was in Orlando with family. https://t.co/mPS4myjcaz #WeAreOrlando https://t.co/k4DOxGUaS3
R.I.P. Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old #PulseShooting https://t.co/B0C4xnZ8Zq
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35, had a son and worked at Disney Live! https://t.co/jnYLtN81jR https://t.co/g7fMhsC2ui
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37, was the owner of D’Magazine Salon and Spa: https://t.co/jnYLtN81jR https://t.co/zbClVeAGBO
#RIP Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 and Luis Conde, 39, were together 13 years. https://t.co/mPS4myjcaz #WeAreOrlando https://t.co/lONiiHf735
#Remembertheirnames Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan https://t.co/Bjt30oeTJl #OrlandoStrong https://t.co/H0D4GY0e2A
Be thou at peace: @USArmyReserve CPT Antonio Davon Brown, Iraq/Afg vet, killed in #Orlando https://t.co/Zgg9v6TMye https://t.co/DPVtlDUuD6
Rest In Peace handsome, Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old #PulseShooting https://t.co/b69fXb2j7L
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Watch: Orlando Attack Victims Describe The Shooting: He Showed No Mercy

Orlando Attack Victims Describe The Shooting: He Showed No Mercy

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