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9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
By Aidan Kasner, Senior Staff Writer • 7:31 pm

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9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
By Aidan Kasner, Senior Staff Writer • 7:31 pm

Opinion | Death made me realize that happy memories triumph sadness

Opinion+%7C+Death+made+me+realize+that+happy+memories+triumph+sadness
Carrington Bryan | Staff Illustrator

I’m scared of dying, and the thought of death has scared me since age 11. 

I’ve dealt with death before, when my uncle was gunned down in 2013. At 11, I felt that my world completely changed when he left the world. I was so confused, always questioning, “Why is this happening to my family?” And I’m still questioning at the age of 22. 

Three weeks ago, my world changed once again. My grandfather, one of the people everyone in my family adored, is now gone. My grandmother called me a week earlier to let me know that he was admitted to the hospital and was terminally ill. It was only a matter of time until he died, as doctors said they couldn’t do anything for him anymore. 

My family and I received the call mid-afternoon on Sunday, Jan. 28,  that it was time, and he was going to die within the next few minutes. I was hysterical on the way to the hospital and became even more hysterical when I learned that he passed away a few minutes after the doctor called. 

Forcing myself to look at my grandfather’s body on the hospital bed and knowing he passed was something I never thought I could do. I felt that a piece of me vanished when I saw his deceased body sprawled on the hospital bed. I wanted him to open his eyes and speak again, but knowing that can’t happen again makes me tear up. 

The past three weeks, I’ve been able to process his death, which changed my perspective on life and the aftermath of it. I’ve been able to think about what kind of person my grandfather truly was and what he had to offer. 

My grandfather was a kind man. He always supported my cousins, my sister and me when we had games or music concerts. He made sure to sit front and center, making sure that we knew he was there watching us. He supported us in everything we’ve done and I will never forget how that made younger me feel. 

My grandfather wasn’t perfect, but I appreciated everything he did for me. He created our family’s motto, “McLaurins are never quitters,” and that has been instilled in my head since as far back as I can remember. He taught me some of my biggest life lessons about friendships that I still carry with me today. 

I feel that the grieving process of my uncle’s death and my grandfather’s death never differed from each other. I will always be sad that they both won’t be able to come to my college graduation or wedding. It hurts to know those things won’t happen, but those memories I have with them will live on forever. 

I have to remind my grandmother every day that her memories she has with my grandfather will never go away. She had been married to him for 55 years, and it would’ve been 56 on Feb. 11. She has to struggle with losing a second important person in her life within the past 10 years. Yet, I remind her that he would be sad if she only reminisced on his death and not their longtime marriage full of memories they made together. 

I’m realizing that the memories with my grandfather will never fade. I never wanted to stop making memories with him, but I’m glad I was able to be an addition to his life and legacy. I realize that I impacted him in his life before he passed and that he impacted my life. 

Death is something that shouldn’t only be about sadness. It’s sad to know a loved one you have won’t be with you physically anymore, but being sad about them passing away shouldn’t triumph over memories you made with them. It’s good to remember the positives of what that person brought to the world and to not let their passing overtake their character. 

I type this as I am sitting here at his funeral celebration of life. My family decided to have a celebration of life to gather his family and friends together. They wanted to not only celebrate his legacy, but to remember that he lived an amazing 78 years that were very fulfilling in every way. I was crying while my family went through a PowerPoint showcasing his life. Yet, I kept reminding myself that he would be sitting beside us and smiling, knowing that we were going down memory lane. 

Death can be very scary to think about. We all have to pass at some point. It’s very worrisome to think that my life will end, and I don’t know when or how I will end my time living on this planet. I don’t want to die, but I know I will, and I want to fulfill my goals as much as I can like my grandfather did. 

Now, don’t get me wrong — I am still scared of death. I mean, I think anyone would be scared, especially when that moment of realization hits that their loved one is gone. 

Yet, it’s good to think how a loved one that passed positively impacted your life. I always spoke highly of my uncle, alive and deceased, and now my grandfather has been added to the list. I miss them, and I know they’re looking down from above, reading this and smiling. 

Ashanti McLaurin primarily writes about Black culture, human injustices and gives life advice. Write to her at [email protected].

About the Contributor
Ashanti McLaurin, Staff Columnist