Then she laid it down and slept on it.
"There was nothing else for her to hold," Riss said.
An unexpected snowstorm fell on Littleton yesterday, blanketing the area.
Officials erected tents in Clement Park to protect the makeshift memorials of hundreds of flowers, poems, balloons and teddy bears left by students to their fallen classmates.
And elsewhere across the community, the families of 14 teen-aged students and one heroic teacher at Columbine High School struggled to hold onto memories of lives half-lived - and find comfort in the dreams of what might have been.
"I could never be what he could have been," said Michael Shoels, father of slain student Isaiah Shoels.
They were straight-A students and varsity athletes and outdoorsmen. Actresses and debaters and poets. An aspiring music executive and an aspiring Navy pilot. A coach.
Sons and daughters and brothers and sisters and friends - destined to share an epitaph with two profoundly troubled misfits.
Isaiah Shoels overcame two heart surgeries as a boy and went on to play for the Columbine Rebels football team, where he was known as the only player who could lift twice his weight.
He was huddled under a table in the library with friend Brian Scott when he was shot in the head because he was black, said witnesses. Scott, also an athlete, survived by playing dead. But Scott's sister, Rachel, did not escape. She was an aspiring actress and member of the debating team. She had recently starred in the school play, "Smoke in the Room," and attended the prom over the weekend.
Fellow Forensics Club member Dan Mauser was a straight-A student. The affectionate, 15-year-old sophomore also ran cross country, and had recently been to France with the French Club. "He wasn't a kid who was shy about hugging his mom," said his father, Tom Mauser.
Kelly Fleming had just enrolled this year after living in Arizona, and had dreams of being a musician.
John Tomlin had been places, too. The 16-year-old sophomore enjoyed off-roading with his Chevy truck and had recently returned from Mexico, where he helped build houses for the poor with his church group.
"He was the perfect son," said his father, John.
Corey DePooter was the perfect friend to Austin Eubanks. They were inseparable, sharing a love for fly fishing. DePooter, 17, quit the wrestling team this year to find a job. "He was working to save up to buy a boat with me," Eubanks said.
Matt Kechter was working to secure a place as a tackle on the varsity football team, said childhood friend Matt Katzenmeier.
The 16-year-old sophomore was in the library and going to help Katzenmeier with a paper when the two teen-aged gunmen ended his life.
"He was the nicest kid on earth," said Katzenmeier, who came to the outdoor memorial yesterday to place his baseball jersey on a picture of his friend.
Steven Curnow was a soccer player and Star Wars fan who dreamed of being a Navy F16 pilot.
The sky was the limit for Lauren Townsend, captain of the varsity basketball team, National Honor Society member and a straight "A" student who was in the running for valedictorian with just 17 school days left in her Columbine career.
Cassie Bernall had lived a darker side of life not dissimilar from the killers before becoming a born-again Christian and becoming actively involved in her church group.
Her tastes shifted to Bible study, music and Mel Gibson. "Cassie was a ray of sunlight," said friend Justin Boggus.
Little could be learned about Kyle Velasquez beyond the tragedy and untimeliness of his death.
And so much has been said about teacher and girls' basketball coach Dave Sanders - and it is not enough.
Sanders was one of the Columbine heroes, who ran into the cafeteria to help students and was fatally shot in the chest. Even as he lay bleeding to death in the science lab, he protected his students, who tried to stop the bleeding with their T-shirts.
His daughter said Sanders had thought about retiring at the end of the year. But at the end of his life, all he could think about were his daughters. His dying wish: "Tell my girls that I love them."
The killers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, also had a dying wish. A note recovered by police at one of their homes reportedly asks people not to blame anyone else for their actions.
"This is the way we wanted to go out," it reportedly says.
For 13 other victims, it was no way to die.