December 18, 2007
By Maci Kelley, Marion, IL

I stand there in the cold, snow covered graveyard. I am looking at a headstone that says Alexander Samuel Zopith 1962- 1999. I place two red rose’s beside the grey stone. A tear falls from my eye and I slowly remember his face and his voice. My memory of him is still vivid in my mind.
When I was ten my dad Alex started a business. He was always stressed because the work he did was long days and it was very hard, so drinking seemed to relieve the stress. He would come home later and later each night. My mother Amy was always worried about him; however she didn’t want to ask him about it because she was afraid he would get mad.
One fall night when I was twelve my mom had gotten my older sister Bentley to bed, she came into the room and said “Night son, I love you.” Then she softly kissed my forehead. About ten minutes later the telephone rang. While it was ringing I was thinking “I wonder if its dad calling to say he was going to be late because it’s another late night at the office.” What I thought was totally different than what was really going on.
I heard my mom say “oh my goodness no! Is he okay? Yes officer I will see you there.” She hung up the phone. I walked into her room to see what was going on. Mom said “Get your sister and get into the car!” I wondered what could possibly be happening. In the car mom was very quiet, and was as pale as a white wall. She was very focused on driving. I asked her “Mom where are we going?” She said, “Your dad is in the hospital because he was drunk and in a car wreck. He will be fine though.” Right then my sister Bentley busted out into tears. I looked over at her and it made me cry.
We arrived at Savannah Memorial Hospital. I didn’t know what to expect. Mom Bentley and I were all waiting in the waiting room. A doctor with a comforting look on his face came in to talk to mom. I slipped out the door. I walked down the white walled hallway. I stopped at room 207. Through the window, I saw my dad lying there in a bed, all bruised up. He had a lot of different tubes and wires running across his purple and blue body. He didn’t even look like dad. I quietly murmured “alcohol”.
Alcohol was the reason my dad was lying in that hospital bed. It was the reason he never had time to play baseball with me in the yard. Alcohol was the reason dad never had dinner with Mom, Bentley and I. I wanted to find the people that sold him that alcohol and choke them. I just stood there looked at him and cried. Bentley walked up and gave me a comforting hug and said “Everything is going to be fine.”
When mom brought dad home from the hospital he was still feeling really sore. All he could do was lie on the couch and watch television. One night when I was laying in bed, the television in the living room came on. When I walked into the into the living room and saw my father lying on the couch watching old Gilligan’s Island re-runs, I walked over to him and sat at his feet.
I remember saying “Dad, I’m sorry about your wreck.” He looked at me with an odd glare in his eye and said with his deep raspy voice “Thanks son, I am going to be fine I just need some recovery time.” I looked at him for a while then said “Why was drinking so good for you at the time? You had me, mom and Bentley if you needed help.” Dad just said “It’s your bedtime pal, goodnight, I love you.” He turned off the television as I walked out of the room. I remember lying in bed that night and wondering if what I said had made a difference.

The next morning I walked into the living room and dad was sitting there. He said “Emmit come here.” I walked over to the couch. Dad said “I want you to know that I am giving up alcohol and what you said to me last night really caught my attention. You mom and Bentley are all I need.” I really didn’t know what to say back to him so I just said “good”, and left for school.
Well here I am now looking at this headstone. It’s my dad’s. Ten years after his wreck, he was hit by a drunk teenage driver and it took his life. The choices that my dad had made greatly affected his future. The kid that hit my dad has been in prison for eight years and is getting out in ten years. I have not yet been able to forgive him, but I hope to be able to one day. As I turn to walk away from the grave, I look back at the headstone and say “Alcohol”.

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