Dealing with Loss

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My friend Meagan Blanco was a dancer and a band member. She was a really kind and funny girl. She was beautiful, smart, and very strong in her faith. Her life was so blessed and full of joy, but her health took a tragic turn in her senior year of high school. After performing in the first pep rally of the year, Meagan’s ankle began hurting very badly. She went to the doctor and after running various tests and getting second opinions, the doctors determined that she had cancer. Megan went from being a normal high school senior to fighting against leukemia.

Leukemia happens when the body produces many abnormal blood cells, which are usually white blood cells, and then go into the bone marrow and spread into the bloodstream. It is often referred to as the cancer of the blood. It was in the beginning of the year when this terrible disease hit Meagan, and she was forced to leave school to stay in a hospital day and night. I was in shock. She had such a normal life. Her parents were some of the kindest people you could meet. She had a twin sister Reeda who she shared so many similarities with. She had a lot of friends and an awesome boyfriend. The whole school was in shock. We all wished and hoped for Meagan to get better. A few days after she had been diagnosed, the school dedicated a day for Meagan’s well-being; everyone came together and wore orange, the color for leukemia. Many of Meagan’s friends made shirts with her name on it and came up with the phrase that would eventually turn into the motto of the school: “Knights don’t fight alone.” As soon as they allowed her to have visitors, the hospital remained full of people.

When I went to visit her, I remember being nervous, as I had never thought about Meagan getting sick. My friend Lynette and I went one Friday afternoon with a card and balloons. We gave her a few different nail polishes so she could do her nails while she was there. It made such a big impact on me when I saw Meagan. She had decided to shave her hair, but that was not what I was shocked about. I was surprised to see her so calm, in control and happy. We talked with her only for a while, and she was so accepting and strong. She had an attitude of being ready to fight the cancer which had altered her life so greatly.

Meagan’s unforgettable personality and her tough situation touched so many people’s hearts. From her family and close friends, to acquaintances and people who knew people who knew her, she made a huge impact. Her unbelievably strong and positive attitude left many people in awe. Meagan’s determination and faith were extremely admirable as she fought to get better. In fact, she was such a strong fighter that she was fortunate enough to attend very special events such as her senior band night, prom, and her high school graduation on June 8, 2012.

On June 22, 2012, a week before getting her bone marrow transplant, Meagan finished her battle with cancer and passed away. It has a huge loss for the many people who she touched. It was unbelievable and very heart-breaking for me and everyone around her to think that this wonderful person would no longer be among us. The news was devastating and made hundreds of people shed so many tears.

When I was going into the funeral Meagan’s dad came over to hug me and he told me, “My God how you girls have all grown up.” That moment was when I knew that I would not to be able to hold in my tears like I had been determined to.

Reeda, Meagan’s sister, played the guitar and sung “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry, dedicating it to Meagan. When she talked about her sister, she made it very funny and entertaining as she recalled silly memories of them together. Their mom shed no tears as everyone went to hug her and give their condolences, and their dad went around asking people, “Why are you crying?” Although they had hoped for the best, her family was accepting and at peace with what God had determined for Meagan. I could not believe it. Their strength was unbelievable and out of this world. While Meagan was alive, she moved so many people. And with this story, and their amazing attitude, I know that Meagan and her family taught all of us at the funeral to look at the glass half full, and appreciate all the good things in our life. I know the Blanco family will keep on touching the hearts of people, as Meagan still lives on in the hearts of everyone that was fortunate enough to know her.

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