South River Senior Josh Mackin Died on Sunday After Extended Illness
South River High School senior Josh Mackin died on Sunday after an extended illness. His funeral is scheduled for Friday at Kalas Funeral Home in Edgewater.
For Mackin’s friends, many of them South River High students, social media was the place to express their thoughts and feelings about his passing. Around 1 p.m. on Sunday, tweets like: “RIP Josh Mackin” began to show up in Twitter feeds. There, fellow students from South River tweeted prayers for the Mackin family and other tweeted and retweeted expressions of grief.
On Facebook, students and friends posted on Mackin’s personal page, expressing their sorrow and leaving personal messages for Mackin:
I just heard the news. Holy cow! I’m still trying to wrap my head around this… I just met you in AP Lang last year and I remember every day you had the biggest smile on your face. You were honestly one of the nicest guys I know. I will not forget you. Say hi to Chris and God for me. R.I.P.
I have many fond memories of Josh Mackin, but what I’ll always remember most was his ability to light up a room with his kindness, his smile and his laugh. It’s sad to see another kid I grew up with go so young. RIP Josh, your loved ones are in my prayers ♥
Social media is now the first place people, especially teens, learn of tragedies both private and personal as well as public.
After the outpouring of grief, a new Facebook event page was created for an upcoming bonfire to honor Mackin’s memory.
Parents can help their teens by talking with them about loss and grief and reaching out for help if needed. The Anne Arundel County Public Schools’ website offers tips for parents on how to talk to a teen about grief. From the counselor’s page:
Teens grieve differently from adults. They grieve deeply, but often work very hard to hide their feelings. They look for distractions rather than stay with the grief process long enough to find real relief. Teens can act as if nothing has happened while they are breaking up inside. Teens sometimes take on the role of caregiver to family and friends to avoid experiencing their own grief.
According to schools spokesman Bob Mosier, South River High School‘s counselors are available to students and staff on request. In addition, AACPS has “trauma teams” in place throughout the county to respond when there is a crisis, including the death of a student. South River’s principal Will Myers has the authority to call in additional counselors and psychologists to help students and faculty as needed.
Friends are invited to Josh’s Life Celebration from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday (Oct. 12) at the George P. Kalas Funeral Home, 2973 Solomons Island Road in Edgewater.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Holy Family Catholic Church, 826 W. Central Avenue in Davidsonville.
Interment will be at Baldwin Memorial United Methodist Church, 921 Generals Highway in Millersville.