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Selena's sister opens up 20 years after the singer's death

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Danny Bollinger/WireImage; Pam Francis/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

It’s been approximately 20 years since Tejana singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez was murdered at gunpoint by the president of her fan club, but her family will always remember her as an vibrant, gifted and charismatic young woman.

“She is always with me, even in the smallest of things. I speak with my mother about it, and together we remember her,” says her sister, Suzette Quintanilla-Arriaga. “We still feel so much pain about losing her, although now it’s a different kind of pain. Some days I feel fine speaking about her, and other days I can’t.”

But on April 18, Selena’s name will be on many lips with the announcement that the Quintanilla family will participate in a special tribute to honor the memory of the deceased singer during the annual Fiesta de la Flor in Corpus Christi, TX.

“Although it’s been 20 years since she died, we’re fortunate that the public and the fans still care so much for Selena. That means so much to me and my family”, says Suzette. “It’s wonderful that she’s become such a positive role models for us Latinas.”

There’s no doubt that Selena’s music is beloved by multiple generations. When Ones, a compilation album of the Texas-born singer’s music was released in 2002, it catapulted to the top of Latin music charts and remained there for several weeks.

“I’m so proud when I hear our music on the radio, and I think, ‘We’re timeless.’ Twenty years later, and we still sound cool. I can still play technocumbia and make it sound current. That makes me so proud and happy,” says Suzette, who accompanied her sister on the drums in their band, Los Dinos. “It doesn’t feel as though it’s been 20 years. It seems crazy to think that much time has passed.”

Now, it’s up to Suzette and other family members to honor Selena’s legacy—even as they continue the healing process following her death.

“When Selena died, a friend of my dad said ‘Time heals the heart.’ At the time, I thought ‘this guy has no idea how I’m feeling and he has no idea what kind of emotions I’m dealing with, It actually made me really upset to hear him say what he did,” recalls Suzette. “But I learned that it’s not really that time cures the heart. Rather, it’s that time helps you overcome what’s in your heart, and deal with the roller coaster of emotions you feel when you miss the person you lost.”

This story orginally appeared in Spanish on EW’s sister site, People En EspañolFor more special content honoring Selena, click over to People en Español.