At just 8 years old Soundview resident Javon Cabarrus lost his mother and was adopted by his grandmother Linda Vaughn. Sadly, she passed away Jan. 14 at the age of 63.
Cabarrus, 26, a veteran of the Marines, is devastated. For more than two decades Vaughn was his mom, dad and everything.
Vaughn lived in the Bronx for more than 40 years and made Cabarrus the man he is today.
“She is all I had left in this world,” Cabarrus explained. “She would always put me first. Even when it came to this Christmas, she saved what she could to give it to me, instead of putting it on her rent.”
Life has not been easy for Cabarrus. In the early 90s his dad, Sebastian Cabarrus left and in 2003, his mom Lucinda Ware died. His grandfather Luther Ware is in jail, but Vaughn remarried after her daughter died. Unfortunately, her husband Larry Walton also passed in 2007 from cancer.
So, in a four-year span, Vaughn lost her daughter and spouse.
Vaughn raised her grandson in Morrisania and always made sure he stayed out of trouble and focused on school. The two of them were close and Cabarrus told the Bronx Times her age difference never bothered him.
“She was a strong woman,” he explained. “She buried her family. She always had a smile that lit up the room.”
It was quite hard for Cabarrus to talk about the departed in the past tense. He recalled how he even though he could not dance, she would put on the Temptations and spin him around like they were at the disco.
Vaughn worked as a home health aide for many years, yet always found time for her grandson/adoptive son. She loved going to church, taught him how to cook and clean and bought him clothes and basketball tickets even if she could barely afford it.
In his eyes, she was “super woman.”
“If you were to meet her you wouldn’t have thought any of these things happened,” he explained. “She would never tell me she was struggling.”
Vaughn cared about her community. She was a poll worker since the 80s, volunteered and would always give her last dollar to someone else.
“She was just a loving person,” he said. “There’s not much bad I can say about her. She was a great woman. She never let anyone hold her back. I know she had dreams, but she sacrificed that to take care of me.”
According to Cabarrus, his grandma wanted him to go to college, but in high school he met a recruiter and joined the Marines at 17.
When he came home he stayed with Vaughn from 2016 to 2018 as he dealt with anxiety and mental health issues after a few of his friends died during his time in the service.
Even when he moved out and began to work at a law firm he always stayed close with his grandmother. They talked and spent time together.
However, when the pandemic hit he lost his job and things got tough. He saw her for Christmas and as much as he could throughout the last year, but in the first week of January, Vaughn told him she was going to the hospital for chemotherapy for ovarian cancer.
He was shocked.
“She said don’t worry about me, God got me,” he recalled. “She hid it from me because she wanted to enjoy the holidays.”
While she had planned to undergo 15 days of chemo, her body didn’t last. Cabarrus discovered Vaughn got the cancer diagnose last summer, yet kept it to herself.
Still distraught, he is hoping to get financial assistance to fund her funeral and is asking the community for help.
“Please help me take care of her one last time and send her home to God the right way,” Cabarrus said.