He was an average 17-year-old young man, preparing to start his senior year of high school. My son loved basketball. Anywhere there was a court he was playing, especially this one. He also enjoyed hanging with his girlfriend and being a natural protector of his family.
In the blink of an eye, my worst nightmare happened. Someone took him from us.
Marquaan was murdered on August 12, 2015. It’s so crazy to talk about him in the past tense, but I love to talk about him. It’s therapeutic for me. It’s my way of grieving.
My youngest son woke me up saying, “Ma, they say Marquaan just got shot!” My husband and I were sleep, so I wasn’t processing what he was telling me. Ten minutes later someone is beating on the front door. A neighbor/friend notified us that our son had been shot, and told us hospital that he was at. I arrived at the hospital, entered the family room, and dropped to my knees. He was already gone.
It was surreal. How do you go from him mowing our lawn on Monday to being at the funeral home making final arrangements? The days don’t get easier; they become manageable, because it’s not easy to know that he will never walk through our door again.
The biggest thing I’ve learned is that you have to embrace grieving. If you don’t’ you will be angry, and sad all the time. The hardest part is watching his siblings grieve. What do you say to your husband who’s buried his oldest son? What do you say to his siblings who are grieving? What do I tell myself to keep pressing forward?
Prayer and Exercise eases my mind, and honestly helps me get through the days. You have your good and bad days. In the beginning, I can say when he was murdered I felt as though my soul was taken out of my body. I’ll never look at things the same anymore. That was a big learning process for me with grieving. When something like this happens you have to step outside of your comfort zone because you wouldn’t imagine anything like this to happen to you.
His classmates have been so supportive. There was a page in the yearbook dedicated to him. His principal spoke at his funeral, and acknowledged him during the graduation ceremony this year. We were presented with his diploma, and his classmates placed balloons on his gravesite the day of graduation. I would say that’s also their way of dealing with his passing. They made sure that the memories of him would never fade away.
There’s nothing wrong with counseling. I’m honestly excited to go to counseling sessions. I may be having a bad week or day, and my counseling sessions is where I release it all. I know he’s in a better place but it breaks my heart to say it.
I’m just thankful that they continued to work on his case and someone is in custody.
These days I’m focused on being happy. My son doesn’t have a bucket list anymore, so therefore we have to choose life. We do what we can to keep his memory alive.
Everyone loses when someone is murdered. My family, the suspect’s family, friends; everyone loses. Let me say that one more time. It affects EVERYONE!
In the black community we don’t embrace grief, and I want to be able to help someone else. A grieving mother or father. I want them to know that it’s hard but we have to keep going. My son was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I want these children to know that they have to stay focused. Be mindful of your surroundings, and the friendships that are blossoming within our children’s lives. It’s not always gang related or a bad kid when a child is murdered. My child was preparing for the future. He wanted to leave Grand Rapids, and go to college. One bullet killed my son, but as a community we can help to save another child’s life.
Some say the first year is the hardest, and they weren’t lying.