Growing through Pain

December 31, 2008
By Elizabeth dixon, Palm Bay, FL

Waking up that morning was excruciating after a late night at the gym. I showered slowly under the hot stream of water, grabbed a waffle and ran out the door to the awaiting bus. It went on to be a pretty normal day. I aced my bio test, cracked a few jokes and ate lunch next to my best friend Keaton. I winked at the girls who stared at my attractively humble self, made fun of my gym teacher in the locker room and laid the ground work for a homecoming date with Nicole.
Humidity wave hit like a ton of bricks as I stepped off the bus and while reflecting on my day, I started the five minute walk to my house. I waved to my neighbors, who like so many of the people in my development had a flawless manicured lawn that anyone would be terrified to chase a stray ball in for fear of stepping on a scary garden gnome or hideous gargoyle.
Rounding the corner, I glanced up from my Converse clad feet and there on my driveway was a tinted black car. I dropped my gym bag where I stood, then raced to my front door. I hesitated before going inside. I wanted to turn around and never face what I knew in my gut was true. But I stumbled in and sure enough on the couch crying her eyes out, was my mom defeated and sobbing. Across her two Marines rigidly stood and politely waited for her to stop.
The school had offered two weeks off school, but I knew that meant just more makeup work, so I dragged my body out of bed Monday morning and set off to school. And after a painfully awkward and silent day I showed up at basketball practice. My friends started warm up and practice officially started. We ran suicides, dribbling exercises and with fifteen minutes left, started a scrimmage. It felt good to have the ball in my hands, the rough leather rubbing every pass and shot. I released all my anger into that game and after 17 fouls, my coach sat me out. After a few minutes of sitting, I strode purposely to my coach and started chewing him out. My yelling was filled with sometimes unintelligible profanities, but mostly questions like: why are you doing this to me, I am the best player you have and just because my… I stopped there. My coach hadn’t said anything, he just looked at me under his grey eyebrows and I walked out of that gym, feeling my teammates looks on my back, with the door slamming as I left.
Through a veil of tears hymns were sung, flowers tossed and a nearly dead priest mumbled on in his foreign language of Latin. Marines flooded the church in full color; they stood with their glistening silver swords hanging by their sides. His casket was shut due to the condition of his unrecognizable state and there it stood, clothed in red, white and blue.
Relatives, I had never met, kissed me, and friends from school unsure of how to comfort me, the usual tough guy who was a baller on court, came up and shook my hand. Nearing the end my dad’s Marine chaplain stood and strode to the podium. Into the mike he asked if my mother and I could come up there. My mom was so overcome by tears and the overwhelming reality her husband’s death she couldn’t move. So I took her arm and together we hobbled our way up there. The chaplain proceeded to hold up a folded American flag for all to see and held it out to my mom who just fell helplessly against me, overcome. I didn’t know what to do, so I stepped forward, all 5’10 inches of me and trying to bite back my tears in front of everyone. He looked me straight in my quivering eyes and quietly asked if I was willing accept the flag for which my dad had given his life. I slowly nodded and received the folded flag. I then turned to embrace my mother. There we stood just my mom and me, holding on to each other as if for dear life. She had lost the love of her life, and I had lost my best friend, my hero, my dad.
I didn’t get through it by myself. I had family, friends and especially God. And through it all He was there not only comforting us, but also running next to my dad attempting to dodge the mortar bomb. He was there in the hospital when the doctors tried to stop the bleeding comforting my dad with the promise that He’ll be with him wherever he goes, and what’s so amazing is He will be with me too not just at a funeral, but wherever I go every step of the way. My neighbors and people just like them all over the world, with jade green lawns and perfectly pruned shrubs, don’t see or care that men and women are fighting for them every single day, willing to lose their lives for the country and people we love. The United States of America is free because of their blood and the blood of my father.

"Due to our deep desire to finish the job we started, we fight and sometimes die so that our families don't have to. Stand beside us because we would do it for you. Because it is our unity that's enabled us to prosper the nation,"

-Marc Golczynski (my dad)

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This article has 1 comment.

Dixon840 said...
on Jan. 11 2009 at 3:33 am
Very touching story. I am amazed how a young lady could have such a deep understanding of very tough issues of war and peace, of someone's sacrifice so other's may live in peace.


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