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Lost at Sea

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The month was April and the weather was perfect. School would be out soon and the summer vacation with my family was drawing near. I could not wait to get to the beach and play games with my brother, JAS, and my sister, Nicolle. I loved the water. This must have been a trait I got from my father’s passion of the underwater world. He always went diving and brought back numerous pictures of fish and other marine life that proudly hung in our home. My love for the water was just one of my many traits and passions that I received from my hero, more commonly known as my dad.

As I said, it was April, mid April. JAS and Nicolle were in school, Nicolle preparing for upcoming exams and JAS getting ready for the school play. Since I was only learning script in school, I was chosen to go shopping with my dad. Well, that’s the excuse he told my siblings, because truthfully, I was the favorite. Daddy’s little girl. So, of course, we went to his favorite shop at the Riverwalk, the crazy sock shop. My father did not believe in a plain white pair of socks. Oh, no. They must reach his knee and be a bold expression of his personality. At the hospital he worked at, he was notorious for his extravagant socks, witty humor, selfless attitude, and outrageous costumes. For example, when I was born, he went to work wearing a diaper and It’s a Girl! pins covering his scrubs. Actually, that was one of his more subdued costumes. He believed laughter is the key to good health, so he made it his mission at the hospital to bring cheer and laughter to all his patients. Everyone knew him, admired him, and would never forget him. He was the man that walked into the room that made everyone smile. The smiles may have been because of the socks, but most of the time, it was because of the way he touched everyone’s lives. So it was no wonder that I wanted to be just like him when I grew up. Maybe without the socks though.

After we went sock shopping, my father and I returned home with our treasures from the store in hand. As soon as we got home, however, he had to begin packing right away for his scuba diving trip the following day. Scuba diving trips were a normal occurrence on weekends he had off from the hospital. Normally, my mom went with him and we stayed with our grandmother. On a whim, my mother decided to skip the trip and stay home to spend some alone time with the three of us. When it was time for him to leave, we hugged and kissed dad good-bye and made him promise to bring us home souvenirs from the sea. We were sad to see him go, but excited to spend a whole weekend alone with our mom. JAS, Nicolle, and I played in the front yard while mom caught up on laundry and cleaned inside. Although Dad had only been gone one day so far to explore the life underwater, we missed him tremendously. Little did we know, this feeling would only be the beginning.

Later that day, we noticed a police car pull up in front of the house. Nicolle and JAS were curious and stopped playing, but I was unaware of what was going on. I continued to play until the quizzical expression on their faces alarmed me. When I asked why a police officer was at our house, they told me they did not know. Curiosity took us to the side door and we quietly stepped inside and watched as mother opened the front door. Immediately, we knew something was wrong. With an apologetic tone, the officer confirmed our suspicion and told our mom the worst possible news to be spoken. “I’m sorry to inform you, but there has been an accident on the boat your husband was on.” The rest of the conversation was a blur as we watched our mother fall to the ground. JAS quickly ran over to her as Nicolle embraced me to protect me from the horrible news that surrounded us. A scuba diving accident. Oxygen tank malfunction. There was nothing they could do. The words lingered in the air, making the room seem toxic. The sun outside seemed to stop shining and the noise of screams and cries all dimmed away. I was too young to experience such emptiness in my heart. I was overcome with rage, sorrow, and disbelief. All these emotions were too much for a young girl. How could this happen? How could my father die in his favorite place on earth, the sea? Why would God do this to my family? Why us? We lived good Christian lives, helped others, I practically grew up in a hospital because of how dedicated my family was to helping others. We don’t deserve this. There were no answers to my never ending questions. No answers or words of comfort that would help to ease my pain. I soon found that I could not smile anymore. Laughter was out of the question since the provider of this emotion was gone. Days seemed to never end and nights were even worse. How could this be? How was I supposed to go on?

April 26th. The date is forever pressed into my memory. My hero. Gone. Washed away in the sea. He dedicated his life to helping others to survive, to live; so why didn’t anyone help him? It was unfair. It is unfair. His death brought me into a world of fear. Fear of the water. Fear of death. Fear of happiness being taken away so suddenly again. My hero was gone and never to be seen again. I knew I had to be strong for my mom, but how? Strength was the one thing I needed the most now. I was too young to be experiencing my whole world crumbling before me. I was daddy’s little girl, but now I was just a little girl. Daddy was gone and he left me to face the world without him. It was hard. Soon after, we decided to move because staying in the home that had my father’s memory in every corner was just too hard to bear. For my family, I was too hard to bear. I was the spitting image of my father, yet lacked the courage and strength to make this horrible nightmare disappear. There was nothing I could do but pray that he was safe and watching over us. Eventually, things got better, but living without our dad has been a struggle. Even though he may not be present, he will always be my hero and will always be alive in my heart.





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