All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Not any Random Number
A lot of the time, things come across us by accident and most of the time we only realize that they're there until they're gone.
The first time I looked into her eyes, I knew it was too good to be true, and when they told me that I wasn't able to see her or our newborn, I knew it was.
Kaitlyn. It was Kaitlyn we had agreed on, after her grandmother who didn't have the chance to see her beautiful face. And Cerise. Cerise after her mother, who was departed from her life in the tragedy of childbirth.
There was some complication, the doctor's wouldn't specify until afterwards' After I thought that my life had no purpose, no meaning. My Cerise was gone. What now?
But she wasn't. She left with me, our daughter. And engraved inside of her, Cerise was still there. In our Kaitlyn-Cerise Depaul, my wife still lived.
Mild Cerebral Palsy.
That's what the doctor's told me on Kaitlyn-Cerise's first birthday.
My mother moved in with Kaitlyn-Cerise and I after the accident and it was her; she was the one who caught up on the way she walked.
'She looks a bit floppy, don't you think, Andr'?' she would ask.
'M're, aren't you getting a bit out of hand. I'm sure babies are all like that'' I would then answer annoyed that I couldn't get any peace and quiet in my own home.
My mother decided to take her to the doctor on her birthday, the same day Kaitlyn-Cerise learned how to walk. One thing I did know was that there first steps were never accurate, but when her right leg completely dragged on the floor, I knew something just had to be wrong.
I didn't argue as my mother yelled at me to drive faster to Kaitlyn-Cerise's doctor.
'What can I do for you?' he asked as we arrived frantically and out of breath.
'Docteur, vous devez vous aider,' my mother yelled. I tried to comfort her, telling her that he would surely make things better.
It was one of the many times we ended up seeing Kaitlyn-Cerise's doctor, and of course the news only got worst.
'The good news is that her condition hasn't worsened since your last visit. The bad news is that these spasms are normal in patients with cerebral palsy. I understand the financial issue, and not being able to afford the therapy which will help her get better, but your daughter would really benefit from it.'
'Doctor, I am working three jobs and we still don't have enough money to finish paying for the last couple of visits.'
'Andrew, I know this must be hard for you, but your family needs insurance. I understand that you're under a lot of pressure with money, and that you recently moved to America from France, but the system there isn't so different, right? You need medical insurance for your daughter, if you want her to improve.'
We were then quickly dismissed and my mother wouldn't stop asking me what the doctor said. I was getting so aggravated translating everything for her.
'Why don't you go learn how to speak English,' I answered her angrily; more angry that I had to find the money to pay for insurance for my daughter as well as every other expense to put food on the table for my family.
I leaned on her crib, watching Kaitlyn-Cerise sleep. Those spasms that the doctor told us about were quite obvious and seemed to be more apparent and prevalent.
'I'm so sorry, Cerise,' I began to tear up. I had failed my wife with our only daughter. She had a neurological disorder, and it was most likely from my terrible parenting.
Staring at Kaitlyn-Cerise, I tried to find the part which most resembled my wife. After a few moments, I found them and relaxed. My whole body seemed to go a bit limp, as I felt a connection with my not-so-distant-wife.
So close. Yet so far.
Kaitlyn-Cerise had her mother's dimples; they were there only at certain moments. During times of peace. Where she felt calm and tranquil they would leave there strongest mark.
Cerise's dimples as well as her lips. So soft.
I picked Kaitlyn-Cerise up and covered her in her favorite yellow and blue blankets, cuddling her and making her know that I would always love her.
Just the way I loved her mother.
My dear Cerise.
'Cerise,' I whispered into her blanket rocking her back and forth. 'My dear Kaitlyn-Cerise. I am so sorry. For everything. That ever happened. That is happening. That will happen. I'm so sorry.'
And I broke down crying.
It was the call that pretty much gave me no hope.
The next two calls.
'Bonjour,' I answered.
It was my twenty-sixth birthday. Kaitlyn-Cerise was almost two years old. And I had saved up enough money for the first payments for Kaitlyn-Cerise's insurance.
Slowly but surely.
'Hello is this Andrew Depaul?' the voice came.
It was the fourteenth of January. A nice crisp day which wasn't full of much surprises. Or at least I thought.
This day was not only the day I was born, but the day I met my wife. My mother wanted to surprise me, and although I thought the day wouldn't hold any that morning she woke up speaking in English.
'My dear Andrew, how are you this wonderful morning?' she asked me. 'Kaitlyn-Cerise is awake, and we both made you breakfast, some waffles and eggs, American style. Come sit, I hope you like.'
I thought I was going crazy at first, but then I realized she not only did this for me, but for Kaitlyn-Cerise. She did this for us, as a family.
'Oui, this is Andr' Depaul,' I answered through the receiver.
The day which I thought wasn't going to be full of surprises, ended up surprising me. More than I knew.
I learned something about my mother, my English speaking mother, my English speaking mother who knew more about American culture than I did.
She was dead.
Just when I thought things were getting so much better, I had to take the money which I was saving up for my daughter's health care, and use it for a funeral service. The graveyard, the tombstone, the coffin, the same routine.
My mind flashed back to Cerise.
And I crumbled to the floor.
Thankfully while Kaitlyn-Cerise wasn't in my hands.
I couldn't stop crying and I realized that I was all alone.
Even more alone than before.
The second call was to tell me that my whole family qualified for insurance; health insurance, life insurance, auto-insurance, and homeowner's insurance.
The money which was supposed to go towards all of those, was spent elsewhere.
We were back in square one.
Except this time it was only Kaitlyn-Cerise and me.
On her fifth birthday, Kaitlyn-Cerise was put in a treatment center. After my mother's passing, it was harder to work three jobs and take care of my daughter, so it took double the time to do everything.
I was fired from one, because I never showed up on time, and the other two I just managed to keep. The managers knew what I was going through and took pity on me, I guess.
Either way, I was able to keep those jobs.
And on her fifth birthday, Kaitlyn-Cerise entered a treatment center.
It was a place which took in children with incurable neurological disorders, such as cerebral palsy, and at the end of the two-year program she would be almost brand new again.
I was able to see her on the weekends, and of course this meant everything to her. A lot of the times, she never noticed I was gone, and that broke my heart even more.
Was the reason because I didn't show her enough love?
I knew I loved her with all of my heart; I would do anything for her. But she didn't notice that either.
Selfishly, I prayed it was because of her disorder and not because of me. I wanted to be the best father possible, but sometimes I felt as if the effort was worthless.
It was the night before Christmas and I was allowed to take Kaitlyn-Cerise home for the week. She would be released soon from the treatment facility, and I was so anxious to see her. Since the beginning, there had been drastic and evident changes.
She was looking more and more like her mother and those special dimples seemed to be a permanent mark of her bliss.
In preparation for her return, I put up a Christmas tree, decorated it with the ornaments that she made. Hopefully I would bring her back to her home, and Kaitlyn-Cerise and I would be like the average American father and daughter.
There would be some quarrels in her later years, but from her age now she and I would share moments full of joy and happiness with no regret.
And I was sure that Cerise and my mother would be looking down proud of how far Kaitlyn-Cerise and I had come, since everything.
I woke up the next morning and lying down next to me, in my arms was Cerise. She had the same beautiful brown curls, and rosy pink cheeks. Her sparkling hazelnut-shaped hazel eyes caught me off guard as I took her in. This was the woman I had fallen in love with.
She was the same woman I married and believed that I would start a family with. She was the mother of our daughter.
She was Cerise.
She was my love.
'Why are you looking at me like that, Andr'?' she asked. I was so confused, why was she here? 'Andr', are you feeling alright? Do you want me to call your mother?'
'My mother?' I asked almost on the verge of tears. I couldn't bear speak of her without some form of emotion. She was my role-model in life and did everything for Kaitlyn-Cerise which made me love her even more.
'Andr', you're acting strange. Just go back to bed,' she said giving me a kiss with her soft pink lips. 'It's early you know, plus despite what the doctor's say tomorrow your mother says our baby Kaitlin will be born.'
My hand immediately moved to her stomach, which was as round as I remembered, and a smile encountered my lips.
'Tomorrow is Christmas,' I told her.
'Andr', tomorrow is not Christmas. Christmas isn't for another five months. I wish it were Christmas, though. Don't you remember, our first Christmas together?' she asked in the softest voice.
'How could I ever forget,' I began as I soothed the pains of her stomach. 'The snow, the kiss, the angel.'
'It was amazing,' she sighed thinking my very own thoughts.
'Cerise, je t'aime. Je ne veux plus jamais vous perdre. Ne laissez pas moi,' I sobbed into her shirt.
'Andr', je t'aime trop. You know I would never leave you. I love you too much.' I just held on to her and let the moments continue, not able to let go.
She was so real, but how could it? Why didn't everything seem like a dream? Cerise was with me again, pregnant with Kaitlyn-Cerise. I didn't want to give up another life with her again; I needed her to stay with me forever and stick to her promise.
It was Christmas morning when I woke up.
Cerise was gone. My mother was gone.
But I still had Kaitlyn-Cerise. My only link to the two women I've ever loved.
And today would be our very first Christmas together.
'P're, Merry Christmas,' she said when I arrived
I brought Kaitlyn-Cerise back to our apartment in her wheelchair; she was unable to walk. But I knew she was getting there. Slowly but surely.
'It's amazing,' she said when I let her open her eyes. 'Those are my ornaments I made you.'
'You have your mother's smile,' I told her with an even wider one across my face, happy that she liked it. That only made her smile even harder, and it was as if I was looking at an exact replica of Cerise.
'P're, you never tell me about M're.' This struck me, especially since I knew that it was true. It was too hard.
'I had a dream about her, last night. We were talking in bed, and you were still in her stomach, almost about to come out. We were talking about our first Christmas together and how we imagined the next with you would be'' I choked up and didn't realize that I was crying until I felt Kaitlyn-Cerise arms wrapped around me.
'Sorry,' I apologized. 'Today is supposed to be full of amazing memories. For you and me. Our best Christmas ever.'
'P're, it's already a great Christmas. I get to come home with you for a whole entire week. You can tell me all about your Christmas's when you were a kid. What's wrong?' she asked after a quizzical look ran across my face.
'It's funny. I don't really remember any Christmas's when I was your age. The only one that stands out to me is my first one with''
''with M're,' she finished. 'Well, then tell me about it.'
'I have an even better idea,' I thought as I wheeled her outside.
'It's snowing,' we said simultaneously. The crystals of snow were sticking to the ground and the lawn that lay in front of our apartment building was full of fresh clean snow.
I went over to Kaitlyn-Cerise and picked her up in my arms. She must have weighed an easy 25 kilograms.
'P're, what are you doing?' she whispered in my ear.
I placed her gently on the ground of the snow and lay right next to her. 'Follow me,' I instructed. 'Move your arms and legs as wide as you can up and down.'
'I'll try,' she said as we both made our very own. When we were done, I picked her back up and we took a look at them.
'Look P're, they look like angels. Snow angels,' she stated. 'I'm going to name my angel Ad'le, after Mamie.'
'And I'll name mine Cerise,' I told her.
'P're, they're beautiful. When I go back everybody's going to be jealous that we made snow angels.'
'Snow angels,' I said playing with the words on my tongue.
'Yes, P're. Snow angels. It's Mamie and M're. Our angels. We just made them from snow. '
We looked at our masterpieces in awe.
'P're, I think you should become a writer one day. You should tell everybody our story.' I looked down at her in amazement. How far she had come.
I was the proud father I aspired to be.
'I think that's a good idea. I'll write a book one day and tell everybody the story of our snow angel.'