Legacy of a loved one

Remembering the impact of our loved ones had on the world eases grief

Justin Diep, Editor in Chief

Driving past the 72nd and Grover Street intersection brings memories of my cousin, Michael Tran.

He was very much like me. Michael walked through the same halls I did here, he sat in the same classrooms I did, and we even shared some teachers. But he would never hear about those things we shared. A few months after he walked off the Civic Auditorium stage in his green cap and gown he was hit and killed by a drunk driver on his way home from work. A life taken too soon. He was just 18 years old. The Omaha World-Herald described him as on the ‘cusp of life’.

This last October marks 10 years since his passing. It is hard to imagine how the past decade of my life would have been had Michael been in it especially since he left when I was so young. Only vague memories of him come to mind of random family outings so it was difficult for me to remember him for something other than the car crash.

When family talks about him more times than not it’s about the crash. This past June my parents and I went to a family friend’s funeral. He was around my age, and my dad told me after the funeral that he reminded him of Michael. At that point, it dawned upon me that I am near the age where Michael passed. It sparked my interest more on who he was.

I looked at his Facebook profile and some of his friends still posted every few months on his timeline, especially around his birthday and death anniversary. I figured he must have meant something to these people, so I reached out to them to figure out why.

I was surprised they were more than happy to share who Michael was to them. His friends described him as a funny, welcoming person. His fellow lifeguards at CoCo Keys admired his work ethic. His teachers also remembered him for being funny. Michael left an impact on those he met. One of his best friends decided to honor Michael by using his name as their son’s middle name.

In those short 18 years of Michael’s life, he left a legacy behind. His legacy will be all I ever know of him, but it makes the drive past 72nd and Grover easier knowing he touched the hearts of those he met.