- Ursula Ward talks about the shock and pain of her son's murder
- Odin Lloyd's sister said her brother's death has felt like 'a bad dream'
Watch "Downward Spiral: Inside the Case against Aaron Hernandez" tonight at 9 ET.
(CNN)Ursula Ward kept repeating her son's name -- Odin.
She steadied herself against the podium in the Fall River, Massachusetts, courtroom and occasionally paused. She was tired after more than two years of pain, punctuated Wednesday when her son's killer, Aaron Hernandez, was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Odin Lloyd was her first born, her only son. "Odin was the backbone of the family. Odin was the man of the house. Odin was his sisters' keeper," Ward told Judge Susan Garsh, before Garsh sentenced the former pro-football player.
Lloyd was 27-years-old and working for a landscaping firm when he was killed in June 2013. He played football for the Boston Bandits, the oldest semi-pro team in Boston and the winner of four championships in the New England Football League, according to the team's website.
His mother, sister, uncle and cousin described him as a champion of family, a gifted athlete and a hard worker with a sense of humor.
They said he rode his bike several miles to get to work. He went to all of his niece's recitals.
"Odin was my first best gift I (will) ever receive," his mother said. "I thank God (for) every second and every day of my son's life that I spent with him.
"The day I laid my son Odin to rest," she continued, pausing to maintain her composure, "I think my heart stopped beating for a moment. I felt like I wanted to go into that hole with my son, Odin."
She can still hear him talking to her: "'Ma, did you cook? Ma, go to bed. Ma, you're so beautiful.'"
Ed Lloyd followed Ward to address the judge.
Odin Lloyd's uncle thanked everyone who worked on the case against Hernandez.
His nephew, he said, "meant a lot to me."
"To see how he grew, the respect he had, the toughest thing for me is that I won't get to see him have a child...," Ed Lloyd said.
He loved watching his nephew and his son together. "A lot of people won't see from the outside the value and the riches (Odin Lloyd) had," he said.
"I'm sorry for where I stand today but I know that all the time I had with him was special and he'll always be with me."
Odin Lloyd's sister Olivia Thibou wept as she explained what it has felt like to lose her brother.
"These last couple years have been the hardest of our lives," she said, recalling that she was asked to writer her brother's eulogy. "I got to write all the great memories I have of him."
She laughed, recalling his insistence on wearing the same Adidas flip-flops until the soles wore away.
He was "prideful," she said. He would take her car out and just when she was starting to angry, he'd pull in with the car shining and clean, inside and out.
He taught her daughter how to ride a bike. His murder, she said, "feels like a bad dream."
Ward told the court that she constantly thinks about her son.
"I miss my baby boy Odin so much," she said. "But I know I'm going to see him again someday and that has given me the strength to go on."
She has also apparently gained strength from the act of forgiveness.
"I forgive the hands of the people that had a hand in my son's murder," she said. "I pray and hope that someday everyone out there will forgive them also."