A Bittersweet Birthday Celebration

By Latrice Murray

(Editor’s note: Latrice Murray is a core member and volunteer for KC Mothers in Charge. Her son, Darreon Murray, was a senior and star basketball player for Hogan Prep High School when he was murdered on March 7, 2009. Darreon was in a vehicle with three friends when someone shot into it. One young man was paralyzed and two were physically unharmed. The murder has not been solved.)

Latrice Murray Sharing about her son Darreon Murray

Latrice Murray Sharing about her son Darreon Murray

On March 18 we got together at Blue Ridge Lawn Cemetery for the birthday of my son, Darreon Murray.

You know, it was kind of bittersweet. On March 7 it was eight years since he was killed. I didn’t do anything to observe that. Then came his birthday. It’s hard to rebound from the 7th to the 18, but I decided to have a birthday celebration to celebrate Darreon’s life and his memories and have my family and friends come together. It’s hard for them just like it’s hard for me.

So we gathered at the cemetery where he’s buried. We went over some of the memories, some of the good times, some of the crazy things he would say and do. We talked about missing him and we just kind of came together as a family.

Darreon, he was very open to people. He loved being around people. He was just kind of laid back, the class clown. He was a pretty good kid, I never had any trouble with him. He was respectful of his elders and very, very well mannered.

He loved basketball. He’d been playing since he was 3. He played for Hogan Prep for four years. He played all summer. He played for the YMCA, all the summer leagues. Basketball was his life. He had so many trophies. But that wasn’t why he wanted to go to college. He had several scholarship offers, he wanted to study architecture. He hadn’t said anything but I think he was working to get his scores up so he could go to MU. That’s a big reason why my daughter went to MU.

The day of the celebration it was nice and sunny. We released 26 red balloons, because that’s how old Darreon would be. I had bought a extra balloon that sings Happy Birthday when the wind blows. We had cupcakes --with red icing and emojis. There were maybe 25 people there. It was a nice crowd.

I felt a kind of peace come over me. It felt real good ‘cause I told him I wasn’t gonna be sad on that day. I said, we gonna celebrate like he’s here. On this one day, we’re not gonna be sad.

Family and friends celebrating Darreon Murray's 26th Birthday

Family and friends celebrating Darreon Murray's 26th Birthday