Every once in a while, Megan McCormack would ask her friends about heaven. What was it like? Should she be afraid of it?
The questions were purely hypothetical at the time. But friends and family reflected deeply on those conversations after learning of her death last week at age 19.
“It just seemed so untimely and very unfair,” close friend Molly Sinnott said. “But Megan and I used to talk about heaven a lot … I know that she knew she would be safe in heaven. I always told her to not be afraid of it. I’m glad we had the chance to talk about those things.”
By all accounts, Megan was a happy teen who enjoyed playing video games, going to the movies and laughing at TV shows, especially Family Guy.
She was an honor roll student at Arundel High School with a habit of buying a new purse every two months or so.
Perhaps most importantly, she never allowed her autism and bouts with epilepsy to keep her from finding happiness each day.
It was this time of year that Megan would enjoy taking long walks and watching birds, keeping an eye out for her favorite, the cardinal.
“She was a really sweet, gentle-natured girl,” her mother, Renee, said.
Renee McCormack found her daughter unresponsive in her bedroom last Tuesday after suffering from a seizure. She performed CPR on Megan and paramedics rushed her to the hospital, but she died early Wednesday.
Renee McCormack said some of Megan’s organs were donated and tissues will also be used for autism research.
Megan attended Arundel High School as a special education student, and was on track to complete the functional life skills program there by age 21. She thrived at the school, where she was surrounded by supportive peers and an active Best Buddies program that partners special needs and mainstream students together.
Megan also thrived as a member of the Maryland City Volunteer Fire Company, where she helped with the company’s bingo fundraisers.
Sinnott was Megan’s peer buddy last year, and the pair made many trips to local malls to go shopping or see a movie. Megan enjoyed some scary movies, but was especially fond of comedies, even the crude ones.
Last week, Megan curled up with her mother on her bed to watch a movie. The film of choice? Jackass.
“She just cracked up,” Renee McCormack said.
Teachers remembered Megan as caring and very honest.
“She just had way of simply speaking the truth, and some of that was unintentional, but she had a great sense of humor,” teacher Mary McGuire said.
Natalie Little was Megan’s peer buddy this year, and made many trips with Megan to the mall, most recently to see The Hunger Games. She said the pair had planned to attend the Arundel Players Theatre Company performance of Bye Bye Birdie last week.
“She was just so happy…we had a lot of fun together,” Little said.
Megan McCormack is survived by her parents, two sisters and a brother.
Renee McCormack is seeking help in paying for funeral arrangements. Donations can be placed in her account at Sandy Spring Bank, 8721 Piney Orchard Parkway, Odenton.
Donations can also be made through Arundel High School.
Arrangements for Megan McCormack:
Wednesday, May 9, 5-8 p.m.
Loudoun Park Funeral Home, 3620 Wilkins Ave., Baltimore.
Thursday, May 10, 10:30 a.m.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, 1800 Seton Dr., Crofton.