Provided via Julie Elman

1. People I love Dying

Marisa Fernandez / Senior Writer

A correction has been appended.


very year since she can remember, Cheyenne Sears has gone to at least one family funeral. She loves to see her family in Kentucky, but when death is involved, it can be an unpleasant experience for her.

Within three and a half  years of each other, she lost both maternal grandparents, as well as an uncle on her mom’s side.

To Sears, the fear of her loved ones dying is rooted in the negative experiences she has had with death. When her grandma died, her grandpa was so distraught he didn’t even attend the funeral, and his health declined.

"He needed around-the-clock care with his dementia, and seeing my mom go through that is not anything that I want to experience,” she said.

A dying family member does not cause only sadness for Sears but also anxiety. Each day passes with her not knowing when her family members will take a turn for the worse, and there’s no way for her to control that. She may have to take care of her parents one day when they can no longer take care of themselves.

Sears' mother has vision impairments, which means at 23 years old, Sears may have to help her mom sooner than she thought. As a graduate student in linguistics, her research will require her to travel to different countries, but she is hesitant to go in case she has to drive home to her mom in Waverly, just over an hour from Athens.

“My mom’s issues (are) affecting how I’m planning my life,” she said. "If I plan on going abroad, I feel like I have to save a decent amount of money just in case I have to come back for long periods of time."

She worries about her family, but she still hopes to go out of the country for her research.

“It’s hard for me not being there all the time for her,” Sears said.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated when Cheyenne Sears lost three family members. Furthermore, this article has been updated to clarify how Cheyenne Sears feels when visiting her family's farm.

Development by: Seth Archer / Digital Managing Editor

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