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Facing Grief

As a teenager, I never thought much about accidents. Cuts and bruises are part of growing up in a small, midwestern town. However, when someone you love is in a serious accident, your world changes, and your mind becomes engulfed in anxiety. 

My uncle was one of the kindest people I ever met. I have vivid memories of horseback-riding with him when I visited his hometown in China. Two years ago, he retired right before the pandemic, feeling like the luckiest man alive. My uncle was living his life to the fullest: rising at the peak of dawn to buy fresh groceries at the street market and preparing dumplings for all his loved ones. 

The news of his fall came as a surprise to everyone. One moment he was reaching for a can of sardines on the top shelf of the refrigerator, the next he was on the floor unconscious. At the hospital, the doctors ran a CT scan and found that the back of his brain had a severe hemorrhage. Throughout his life, my uncle has battled high blood pressure and obesity, taking small doses of aspirin each month to prevent cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, this meant that doctors were unable to perform any type of operation, due to the risk of my uncle bleeding to death. 

My uncle was promptly placed in an intensive care unit. Despite all the medical resources, he continuously flutters between comas varying in length. To this day, he still hasn’t made a full recovery. He remains in the hospital. 

This accident pushed death to the forefront of my entire family. It made me reconsider my own mortality. It’s strange how happiness is so easy to share, yet grief is so often faced alone.

Ray Zhang
Troy, Michigan

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