Despondence.

August 3, 2011
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am, writing this memoir, I planned it all out in my head; start it out with a memory from the past and branch it out to what is going on in the present. But I can’t think of one memory, one happy memory anyway. I remember going to the batting cages with him and decorating around the house for Christmas, but as these memories go through my head, none of them seem good enough. All the memories of him remain in the back of my head waiting to come out, but they all seem like a blur. It’s not like he’s dead or anything, my best friend, he’s just different then he used to be. I know that he joked around a lot, always making me laugh. I know that he brought me around and bragged to all his friends that I was his little princess and I know that I still mean the world to him. My best friend is my dad.

It was less than a year ago when I started to notice that there was something different, that my best friend was not as happy as he used to be. He did not smile as much and you could always tell that there was hurt in his eyes. When my family thought I was locked away in my bedroom doing homework, I could hear my parents from downstairs arguing, sometimes crying. But I never knew why; I always thought it was about something stupid or just a little argument. When I went out with my mom she would always make sure we were home before my dad arrived and never a minute later and when my dad went out to the store and forgot his phone my brother would be a nervous wreck. I never fully understood why my family worried about my dad so much, until I woke up for the first day of school sophomore year. After I completed my hair, I walked into my parent’s room to ask how I looked. When I walked in I could tell something was wrong. My brother was up at seven a.m practically yelling at my dad and my mom looked like she was about to burst into tears. As usual I didn’t want to get in the way so I went back into my room and finished getting ready. When I walked downstairs, my mom was frantically talking to my aunt on the phone when my dad walked down wobbling almost, shaking. As he walked by the stairs my mom screamed at me to get him, I reached over and grabbed his arms to make sure he wouldn’t fall dragging him over to a chair in the corner of the kitchen. My brother came running down and told me to go away as he pretty much fed my shaking dad water. That day I learned that my dad had taken a couple more pills then he was supposed to. I also learned that my dad was depressed...the hard way.

It took me a while to take this all in, the fact that my dad was depressed. It seemed weird to me that the man that was always full of jokes and always smiling was unhappy. After figuring out that he has been depressed for quite a while and that this was not the first time this has happened, I felt like an idiot. Was I blind? How could I not have noticed the hurt in his eyes sooner or realized that the crying from downstairs was something far more serious than a little fight? I realized that the condition of my best friend would affect my whole life. In my heart, I felt like it was the start of something new and different and I dreaded that. Knowing that someone you love is not happy is the worst feeling in the world. It feels like the person you knew for so many years is someone totally different and every time you see him you don’t know what to expect. His habits change and pretty much the whole way you look at him changes also. Sometime I even question if he loved me that day he consumed those pills. I wonder if he realized that if the ambulance didn’t come then he would never see me again, that he would have left his little girl defenseless and without her dad to look up to and according to him, give my boyfriends “knuckle sandwiches,” when they hurt me. This thought kills me.

As sophomore year continued my whole life changed. I thought that with the weight of my dad on my shoulders, this year would be the hardest year of my life, but surprisingly a lot of good things happened. Not only did I become friends with people I never expected to get along with, but I felt like I was a part of something. After being at ____ _____ for four years, I finally feel like a part of the class of 2012. It feels weird to think that I was so distant from the people that I now consider my best friends. Austin prep became an escape. It was a place where I could smile, people sometimes even accused me of being too happy, but what they don’t know is that when I arrived home the smile faded away and reality set back in. At home I always felt like things were tense. I began to create distance from my family, not wanting to deal with any of it. I know that sounds selfish, but I was a sophomore and didn’t want to get involved. When I came home from school I went right upstairs and I even ate dinner up there most of the time, my room became my haven.
Its scares me to admit that I avoided spending time alone with my dad, it’s not that he scared me or anything, my mom just made it seem like a huge responsibility to be with him without her supervision. She gave me rules, like “don’t let him take the car out” or “make sure you check on him every once in a while.” I understood why she was taking these precautions, but wasn’t my dad supposed to be taking care of me? When I was home alone with him I always received numerous phone calls from my family asking what he was doing and if he was okay, but he was always sleeping. I always made sure that when he was outside I looked out the window making sure he wouldn’t see me. One day I made the mistake of letting him go to dunkin donuts. He called me from his truck and asked if he could go get a coffee, he sounded so desperate to be alone that I couldn’t say no. After he left I realized that I should have went with him. Dunkin donuts was only a five minute drive from the house and he was gone for twenty. My Brother and Mom shortly arrived home and the look my brother gave me still haunts me. He looked at me like I made the biggest mistake of my life that letting him go five minutes down the street was a crime. Shortly after my dad came back and my brother said sorry, but only weeks later I realized why my brother got so worked up.
I was at my friend’s house babysitting when I got the call. My friend Paul that was also close to my brother called frantically asked me if I was okay, but I had no idea what he was talking about. When I asked him, he told me that my dad was missing. At first I didn’t know what to say, a mixture of emotions filled my body, emotions that words couldn’t even describe. After getting off the phone my nana came and picked me up. When I saw her I automatically knew something was wrong, she couldn’t even look me in the eyes. I automatically thought the worst but didn’t want to admit it. When I got home I ended up face to face with my brother. He was sitting on the couch tying his sneakers; you could tell something was bothering him. He looked up at me with hurt in his eyes and told me that he was going to be there for me no matter what happened. I felt my heart beat going faster and faster as his big blue eyes looked at me. Half of me was confused, not knowing what he was talking about and the other half didn’t want to believe it. Before my brother left, he told me that my dad was gone. He told me that no one at work saw him today and that only a couple days before he sold his life insurance. After hearing this, I didn’t believe it. I knew that my dad had problems but I also knew that he loved me. Even after my mom came to me crying, telling me he was gone, but I had hope. Something inside of me told me that his white working van would pull into the driveway any minute. Even though my family had such despair I disappeared into my bedroom like always, put on music and laid there. I felt knots in my stomach, I felt bad that I wasn’t crying like my mother, but I didn’t find the need to waste tears, I knew he was okay.

I was right. Exactly an hour later my aunt called saying that she got a hold of him. He was at a hotel in Lawrence, only five minutes away from my house. My mom quickly got into the car and met my aunt there. When I heard my dad’s voice from downstairs the knots in my stomach started to untangle. I was nervous to go downstairs and face him, but I knew that I had to eventually. As I made my way down stairs I greeted him with a hug. When I looked him in the eyes I knew that something wasn’t right. I saw sorrow in his eyes. After seeing this I knew that the old ____ _____ that I always knew was long gone and someone knew stepped into his shoes.
As long as I tried, I couldn’t get used to my new best friend. Every time I spent time with him, I couldn’t help to compare it to the old him. When we played catch and he missed a ball, I would remember that a year ago he could have caught that with his eyes closed or when we would watch TV together, you could tell that he felt anxious and was shaking. It took me a while to get used to the fact that my dad was depressed. A part of me was scared and another was just relieved that he made it this far. I learned that even though being depressed can change the way someone sees thing, I knew that the way he looked at me didn’t change and never will. He is not only supportive of me, but he loves me.
I never thought that anything good would come out of this. I never thought that my dad being depressed would have any positive effects on my life. By seeing what my dad has gone through, he made me stronger. I can’t even imagine living with the pain he endured. I would like to believe that the love from me and my family kept him going. I would also like to believe that even though he felt like it was the only way out, he couldn’t go through with it because he knew he had too much to lose. This experience made me realize how much faith I had in my best friend, when everyone thought the worst I wouldn’t believe them. I knew him better than that and a life without him is unimaginable. Thinking about it now, I realize that he opened my eyes. Without him, I would be a girl without a father. When I think about my life years from now, it isn’t the same without him. I can already see his face watching me receive my high school diploma; I can see him leading me down the aisle at my wedding, I can even imagine him being a grandpa. He has a huge heart, a heart that has more love to give.
Life as a sophomore has had its up and downs. Even though it seems hard to believe, I consider this year to be the best year of my life. I learned a lot and felt a certain pain that I have never felt before. I met new people and made a name for myself. I know that I have a strong heart and most importantly a father that loves me very much. He has been there for me for the past sixteen years of my life and now it is time that I give something back. He has been going through a great deal of pain. Sometimes he even says sorry to me, it kills me to think that he feels bad that he is depressed. It’s not his fault and I hope that he doesn’t think that I took it personally. He is my dad, my best friend and I could never ever be disappointed in him. In my eyes he is the best dad in the world.





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