Photo credit – Kristin Bauer
Take a deep breath, take a look around. Enjoy every day as if it’s your last. Life goes by too fast.
Rain showers are expected today and it’s supposed to be humid – I am guessing Logan Stiner had a hand in planning today’s weather forecast. He probably wanted it to rain a little so those who are mourning him and crying can do so without wondering if they are the only ones shedding tears.
That’s the way Logan was … he wanted everyone to feel loved and safe, no exceptions.
You see, Logan died on May 27 – just days before he was set to walk with his classmates at their graduation from high school. Before Logan’s death, the Class of 2014 agreed on Trace Adkins’ “You’re Gonna Miss This” for their song. It’s a song telling the story of a young lady who can’t wait for the next phase of her life to begin – high school, college graduation, marriage and kids. For Logan, this is what he would want for each of his classmates and it’s what he wanted for himself too.
The Keystone Class of 2014 was thrown a curveball when Logan died last week, but they handled it with dignity. They were forced to grow up far more quickly than other graduating seniors.
On Friday, they graduated. On Saturday, a benefit was held in Logan’s memory. On Sunday, the visitation at the funeral home went on for hours. Vehicles lined the parking lot, street and grass. Everyone who wanted to say good-bye to their friend did. Today, the Stiner family is lying to rest a son, brother, nephew, grandson and to Morgan, her boyfriend.
As a journalism student at Bowling Green State University, none of my professors taught us newbies how to cover deaths. There was no clear cut way to make a phone call or walk up to a house. No one told me it would be the hardest job assignment of your life. No one told me how to approach a family whose loved one died. But, you can’t teach compassion. It’s learned.
But on the evening of May 29, I became much more than a reporter as I sat on the garage floor, listening to 20 teenagers tell stories of the one they grew to love and admire over the course of 18 years. I became a sounding board.
I heard stories of Logan being terrified of spiders. I learned he loved chocolate milkshakes – minus the whip cream and cherry. He loved to fish in a local pond. To avoid edging grass at the golf course where he worked, he played, “rock, paper, scissors” with his co-workers – “BEST TWO OUT OF THREE.”
And, I learned he met the girl of his dreams one year and six months ago.
“She was his world,” a close friend said of the couple.
My hope is that Morgan carries the love she had for Logan in her heart forever, but that some time down the road, she lets a new love in. It’s what Logan would have wanted for her. And he will be with her through her life journey – never too far away – he will be there, because he wouldn’t want to miss it.
“These are some good times, so take a good look around … You may not know it now, but you’re gonna miss this”