A Life-Changing Loss

Social Media Reveals News of Death of Family Mentor


Freshman Justina Coronado displays her necklace on a book that relays a message she truly feels is in her heart. I miss Aundre Rawlins more and more each day. “It’s her way of remembering everything he did,” freshman Chandra Rice said.

August 1, 2015. The day that God gained another angel, little did I know … but my news feed held the truth.

I will never forget the day I received the news that changed my life. I remember it like it was just yesterday.

I was eating at a Schlotzskys with my youth group in Oklahoma City, getting ready to go to Frontier City. As I was scrolling through Facebook on Tuesday, Aug. 1, I came across a “RIP” post. Typically, I just scroll past those because they’re sad, but this time, the name caught my eye. I remember seeing “Aundre Rawlins” and completely freezing up.

The first thing that came to mind was, “No, that can’t be my Aundre, that’s not possible.”

Sure enough, it was exactly what I wished it wouldn’t be. Before I knew it, my eyes began to water.

My breathing increased, and my body felt completely numb.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, but that wasn’t the worst part.

The worst feeling in the world is when you’re trying not to cry, then someone comes up to you and asks, “What’s wrong?” I couldn’t take it.

I started hysterically crying, and I couldn’t breathe. I could barely get the words out. That’s when it started to feel real. Saying the words, “My cousin, he died,” made every emotion hit me like a bus. I was shaking. I felt like my whole world came crashing down on me. Before I continue, I should tell you a little about my cousin, Aundre.

Aundre, or Dre, was my older cousin, only 21 years old. He had blue eyes and a smile that could light up the world. Everyone who knew him loved him. He had a heart for people. He always tried to help people as much as he could, you could always count on Aundre.

Losing him was one of the hardest experiences I’ve ever been through. We may not have seen each other or talked all of the time, but we kept each other close at heart. When he passed, he took a piece of me with him.

People come up to me and ask, “Why do you always wear that necklace?” Or, people whom I’ve never met before compliment it and ask where I got it. Well, to answer both of those questions, I got it from my aunt, and I always wear my necklace because it holds some of his ashes – my last part I have of him.

“Time heals all wounds.” This was not the case for me. I personally don’t believe that is true, but I do believe that life can get better. Some days are unbearable, but nonetheless, I get through them. I just have to remind myself that he is at peace now and that he will forever be in my heart and will be watching over me.