Sadly, our Bay City Central Class of 1988 has lost another of our classmates too soon. After nearly eight months of battling a brain tumor, Rehana Khan-Brown is now at peace. She died Sunday night, July 9, at her home in Bay City—just a few days shy of her 47th birthday—surrounded by family and loved ones.
I was casually friendly with Rehana in high school. Thanks to Facebook, we were able to re-connect and, over the years, shared common interests and commented on one another’s threads. Occasionally, we’d exchange messages back and forth; usually dealing with something politics-related we read and wanted to talk about it. One time she even said I should run for president. I’m reasonably certain she was joking, but the sentiment wasn’t lost on me.
The thing I’ve learned the past few days is just how many people’s lives Rehana touched. The outpouring of sentiment she received on Facebook has been incredible to see.
I don’t pretend to be a close friend to Rehana. We were acquaintances, at best; certainly friendly with one another, but I’m way down at the end of the bench on this depth chart. That being said, I’m glad I was on her team. We were a part of a larger collective that holds together pretty tightly to this day. My heart is with those who knew her best; her closest friends and family.
One thing I always appreciated about Rehana is she co-organized our one and only official class reunion. It took place in 1998. It is my sincere hope that someone—or a group of someones—can come together to plan a 30-year reunion.
Maybe that’s trivial (and certainly the least of our worries today), but I think Rehana would like that. After all, what better way to honor her than with a celebration?
Years ago, Rehana posted to my FB wall, “You’re my hero!” We joked about it at the time. I don’t recall the context of that statement at all. I’m guessing it had something to do with the upcoming general election. Anyway, it made me laugh; including her insistence I “just take the compliment.”
Truth is, she’s the heroic one. Faced with the battle of a lifetime, she gave cancer everything she had for eight months. She fought for her life. She fought for her family. To this day, I marvel at her strength and courage to stare into that diagnosis and choose to never give up. To put yourself through that sort of fight requires strength, love and courage that I can’t even begin to imagine.
If you’re looking for a hero, THAT is a hero.
Anyway…I’m very sad that we lost Rehana this weekend. My sincerest condolences go to her family; especially her kids. This isn’t about me, but I know what it’s like to lose a parent too soon. So…yeah. I feel for them the most.
You weren’t here long enough, Rehana, but you packed an awful lot of love and living into your nearly 47 years. We all should live a life as full as yours.
Peace be with you on your journey.