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Celebration of Life: Nonfiction

Senior Mackenzie Langley

Senior Mackenzie Langley

Photo courtesy of Michele Cardamone

Photo courtesy of Michele Cardamone

Senior Mackenzie Langley


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This flash fiction piece was written by Mackenzie Langley in Creative Writing.

Dear Sawyer,

The time has come; you have lived a beautiful life, one worth remembering.

Please gather your close friends and family for your upcoming celebration of life.

Please come to the town center on August 10 to relive your best moments with

the ones you love, while the opportunity is still available.


The Elders

I have known this day was ahead since my grandmother’s celebration of Life

when I was seven. It’s a beautiful ceremony, filled with love and joy. It turns a solemn

time into a time of joy. Instead of looking towards the melancholy future, our elders have

created a system so that we can remember our life with the ones we love. This turns

pathetic attempts at sharing vague past memories into a look at first hand experiences.

This way people can truly experience a day in the life of me. Through my eyes and with

my thoughts. People are so blinded by the joy of the past, they can’t foresee the dark

loss ahead. By seeing the impact of a person’s lifetime, it helps their loved ones find

peace for what is ahead.

When we arrived at the center a red carpet was rolled out to my door. Lining the

pathway were vibrant flowers. I looked around in disbelief of the grandness. I opened the

door and an Elder gestured for my hand. He grabbed my hand and led me toward the

Room to Remember.

“Welcome, Sawyer Lee and your loved ones, The Celebration of Life ceremony is

broken down into two sections. First the public memories will be shown to you and your

loved ones. These are the memories you shared with the people you love. Next will be

personal memories. These are your experiences that your mind has kept secret. When

we plug you into the projector your mind will automatically divide which memories belong

in which section. With no further ado, let’s begin!” His words may have been rehearsed,

but he did his best to still show his compassion.

Getting set up was a bit uncomfortable. They grabbed long thick wires from the

projector and lugged them towards me. “This may sting a bit, but this pain is just a small

sacrifice for the greater good to come.”

“Sawyer please lift your hair into a bun. We need to access your electric port.” I

did as they suggested and they began to plug in the wires to the outlet in my neck.

“Greater good to come, greater good to come, “ I repeated to myself trying to

drown out the pain.

Once my body relaxed into the simulator, the lights were dimmed and the

memories began to roll. First I saw my eyes fixated on the mobile above my crib and I

gasped. It was a beautiful sight: being inside the mind of a baby. A memory that, prior to

this, had vanished from my immediate thoughts.

Next came my first steps. Seeing the joy in my mother’s expression as she

celebrated this milestone brought tears to my eyes. I glanced over at her to see the

mirror image of the expression displayed on the screen. As we re-lived my perception of

the memory on the screen, my mother re-lived her perception of this memory in her


My best moments were highlighted on the screen. My life was portrayed as a

never ending smile. No dark times were included. This was a good feeling. A perfect way

to bring an end to my life. At the end the lights brightened and an elder stood front and


“Thank you for your memories Sawyer.”

As the elder looked down at his note card an expression of disbelief fled his face.

“Sawyer you have affected so many in your brief life time of 21 years. I’m shocked at the

amount of lives you have touched in such a short time. You have left this world more

beautiful than many people who had double or even triple the time you have had. You

have a large and selfless heart that has done so much and I can’t thank you enough for

that. Please go in peace and do not mourn the end.”

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