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Loosing Your Best Friend
I remember September 14th, 2011 quite well. School had just started, students (including myself) were getting accustomed to the everyday hustle-and-bustle of 6 a.m. alarms, crowded hallways, and cranky teachers who are just as upset about the school year starting as we are. Can you tell I hate school? But I’m getting off topic. So the regular day came and went. But when I came home? Well that’s how the worst day of my life started. I went straight to my room when I got home, settled down, and pulled up Facebook on my laptop, when my mother knocked on my door. “Sam?”
“I’m going to the hospital. Dad’s been in another accident.”
Woah woah woah. What did she just say?
She noticed my highly concerned face and said “No, no don’t be alarmed. I’m sure he’s fine. Just another bike incident.”
Now I apologize but I must interrupt, it seems I forgot to add a minor detail. A little bio about my dear father, John Joseph. Well for starters, he was my best friend. Not one person could come as close as a great of a friend as he did. I came to him with all of the problems your regular American teen would experience. And he listens, and responds with the best advice I will keep with me for the rest of my life. He was also a social butterfly. He knew everyone in our small town of 3,553, and could strike up a conversation with anyone. I remember once, he was on the phone with some help service company because our computer was down, and he was on the phone for two hours, talking to this help service guy about God only knows what, and by the look on his face, he was enjoying every second of it. John never took school seriously when he was a student, and was a little bit of a rebel (I guess that’s where I get my “I hate school” attitude). He told me a story about when he was in elementary school, and his teacher was teaching about fireflies. “Now why class, do fireflies light up?” she asked. And my dad, the smart-aleck he was and still is, exclaimed “So airplanes can’t hit them!!”…His teacher did not like that, but to this day, I find it the funniest thing. One thing dad loved more than life itself was mountain biking. It was like heaven on earth to him whenever he went out riding with his pals, or just by himself. Now the biking incident I mentioned earlier? Well, a couple years ago, dad was out with one of his friends riding it up on a beautiful summer day. Long story short, he broke his leg. But oh he was a trooper, cracking jokes about being a ‘cripple’, so those 6 weeks we endured with him while his leg healed were very funny at the least. One thing I admire about my father is how much he loved my mom. Sometimes I would catch him staring at her, in the most loving and wonderful way, and it would make me smile ear to ear. He treated her like a princess and would go at whatever cost to make her happy. I can only hope I can be half a great spouse as he was to her. There is so much I can say about my father, but I need to continue this story, so I’ll say one more thing. John was the most funny, immature, gross, goofy, strict, sarcastic, crazy, loud person I had ever known. That was why I loved him so much.
So mom say her goodbye, and departed for the hospital. I remember it was around 4. My sister Kady, was at her birthday dinner with friends.
An hour passed, and there were no updates from my mother, which made me wonder, what is going on in that hospital?! I feared the worst. Then I got a phone call from my mother that confirmed my fear.
“Sam.. I don’t know how to say this.”
“Wait.. what are you talking about, mom?”
“Your father didn’t survive the accident.”
That moment. I remember that moment so clearly. My heart stopped. It dropped. And turned. And broke. In half. I felt like my world had ended, like a part of me dissolved and was never coming back.
“WHAT?!” I was crying now. I scrambled to get my things together. I was going to that hospital, even if it meant running to it from my house, which was 30 minutes away.
Mom was crying too. “I don’t know. I don’t know. But listen to me, we will get through this. You have to be strong. Aunt Jeanutte and Uncle Earnie are on their way to take you to the hospital.”
“Okay.” I was sobbing.
“I love you so much.”
“I love you too.”
Fast forward to the hospital. Light blue floors and ceilings. They say hospitals paint their interiors light blue because the color calms people down. But I was feeling the complete opposite when I reached the room where my father was. Kady and mom were already there, along with a couple family friends, and my aunts and uncles. I remember seeing his body, eyes closed, mouth a little open. It looked like he was sleeping. So peacefully. It seemed he could wake up any moment. But he won’t. At that point of time I didn’t even know how he died, until I asked my mom.
She said he was out riding with one of his closest friends Rob. Rob was a little ahead of John, and heard him say “What a beautiful day!”. After that, he heard a thud. Rob stopped his bike, turned around, and saw my dad laying there. He raced back to him and began CPR. He did it for an hour until help finally came, but John was not responsive. Later we found out he died instantly. I am so amazed at Rob’s willingness to stay by my father’s side, refusing to leave until help came.
Back to the hospital. After a while of staying there, looking at John, sobbing, looking a John again, my sister and mother decided it was time to go. As we were walking down my mom’s car, I suddenly remembered it was a school night. “Mom, I don’t want to go to school tomorrow.”
She laughed softly. “You don’t have to go to school tomorrow. Not when stuff like this happens.”
When we got home, I went into my room and curled up into a ball, crying like a little baby asking, why?
The next few days were a rush. The support and love I received from my friends was tremendous. I would wake up for the next couple of days from a good morning text from my closest friends, asking how I was, and that they all loved me very much, promising to visit after school ended. And the amount of food we received… oh lord. We filled 3 refrigerators with all that good food. The encouragement my family received astonished me. I had no idea how many lives John has touched. It makes me more and more proud that he was my father. My family estimated that almost 300 people came to his visitation.
So, fast forward to now. The present. Slowly, ever so slowly, my family is healing from this never-ending heart break. We support and love each other, along with the help of our friends, whom we are so thankful for. Looking back, I can say that the memories I had with my father were the best, some of them I will never forget. I would of never been the person I am today without his guiding and teaching. I am so proud that John was my father, and I will never, ever, ever, ever, forget him. I love you dad. Always have and always will.