My experience with death caused by measles

My story about vaccinations and measles is in today’s Guardian. Here is an excerpt:

If your fear is autism, you know that condition isn’t a death sentence; not immunizing your children from deadly disease possibly is. I have memories to prove it.
One of the few vivid moments I remember from my early childhood is seeing my best friend and cousin, Junior, laying in his tiny coffin motionless but peaceful, with his hands resting together on his chest. He was 6 years old when he died from German measles (now called rubella).
I was just 3 years old myself, but I have other distinct recollections of his funeral, which I spent hand-in-hand with Junior’s 15-year old sister, Nancy. With adults all around me in an entry way to the funeral home, I remember tugging at Nancy’s skirt to get her attention, then asking her in my native Krio, “Why is Junior in that box?”.
“Shhhh shhhh shhhh,” she hushed at me.
Tug. Tug. Tug.
“What? What?” she whispered, bending down again, slightly annoyed.
“Will he play with me tomorrow?” I asked, having no concept of death and its permanence.
I don’t remember ever being given an answer. My memories of that day and of Junior end there; I am left with old photos and stories that my mom and other relatives tell me.
He came in and out of this world by surprise: Junior’s parents waited 11 years after Nancy was born to be blessed again with a baby, and almost gave up. His dad, my mom’s Uncle George Panda, was so happy to have a son that he named Junior, after himself.
Read the REST HERE!

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