Alumnus offers takeaways from sudden loss

By: Andrew Koerner – Alumnus, Class of 2015

My name is Andrew Koerner. I am a member of the class of 2015 as well as a local Daytonian. I’ve written various satirical articles over the past year. Since I’m not that far removed from college, you may even know me from class. Regardless, I’m taking a break from satire this issue to shed light on something different.

A month ago, my mother died suddenly at Miami Valley Hospital. Her death was unexpected, and it was exactly as hard on me and my family as you can imagine. I could write a novel about her influence on my life and how painful this period of my life has been, but that’s not what I’m writing about.

As I mentioned, I am a local Daytonian and up until I graduated from UD, I never knew a home other than Dayton. As a result, when I went to college I had the privilege of being 10 minutes away from my parents, as well as a good portion of my immediate and extended family. During this time of adjustment, I’ve reflected on how fortunate I am to have been in that scenario.

Even after I graduated, I only moved an hour away to Cincinnati, and I’ve been able to visit home frequently; the last time I saw my mother was just after Christmas and from that point until her death had been the longest stretch of time I’d gone without seeing her in a three-year span. Both of my parents moved away from their hometowns around my age, and many of my closet friends are hours away from their immediate family, as well as where they grew up. It’s hard for me to imagine what that must be like.

The love and support I’ve received over the past four weeks has been overwhelming at times and every effort each person has made has meant the world to me. In addition to my immediate family, many of the friends I made during my time at UD have been at there for me during the most difficult portions of this ordeal. In addition, they’ve shown me the same sort of love that a mother shows her child. With UD being a Marianist university, I believe that is no accident.

So the point I’m trying to make is that if you are far away from the ones you love, every minute you spend with them goes a long way toward a lifetime of peace; I know that not everyone has the same sort of scenario as me, where I got to see my parents on a regular basis for my entire life. It’s hard for me to imagine living eight hours away from home and only getting to see family a couple of times a year.

I can’t tell you who the people who matter most to you are, but my mother was not only my mother–she was my best friend. I miss her every day but rejoice in knowing I spent so much time with her throughout the course of our lives. If tragedy does strike, do not be afraid to ask for help. I can guarantee you that there are more people that love you than you realize. The day after my mother’s funeral, I got a call from the university: I was informed of a monthly mass of remembrance of those members of the UD family who have died. They went on to say they would honor her again in March because of how sudden her death was but also simply because “they wanted to.” Never forget the big picture–there’s an entire family of Flyers here for you. I can testify to this.

Dedicated to Barbara Diane Koerner

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