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The date was May 19, 2011. It was early. I was sleeping. With only a little dream about the next day of school playing around in my head. Then the phone rang and I tried to ignore it and let my mom answer it. I was too comfortable.
“What… What… WHAT!!!” Is all my mom could scream as the doctor announced, “I’m so sorry to inform you, but your husband Steven passed away in his sleep last night.” I didn’t hear the doctor but by the reaction of my mom and knowing that my dad was still in the hospital, I knew what happened. Next thing I know I was rolling from the bed to the floor in a split second, balling my eyes out. So many things ran through my mind at that point:
What happens now? What am I going to do without him? Things like Softball, drumming, Ferris Fest, and shopping. Will I ever do those things again? I don’t know, it just wouldn’t feel right without him.
Who is going to teach me math? Who will show me how to save money? Whose laugh am I going to make fun of but secretly love? Who’s going to walk me down the aisle when I get married? Who is going to cheer me on when I get into college marching band? All the things I planned to do in the future will never be shared with him. The one person I connect with the most. I always took my dad for granted. Wondering about some of the weird stuff he did. But those are the things I’m going to miss the most.
But one major thought that went through my mind was that he went to the doctor’s office three days ago just for a checkup, and was immediately rushed to the hospital. I haven’t seen him since.
My mom hung up the phone and told me to get my stuff on. I asked my papa to drive because I knew there was no way my mom could drive in her condition.
The car ride to Traverse City was intense. Quiet, but not quiet. “This is not real. We are gunna get there, and he’s gunna be okay. This is just a cruel joke.” My mom muttered quietly as she clutched my left arm. I knew that my mom was in denial so I had to be strong and tell her, “no mom, this is real, you need to realize that.” I could tell by the still sad look on her face that she was happy to have me there with her. All I wanted to do was break down and cry. But in my mind, all I could do was comfort my mom. She needed it the most. It didn’t hit me until later that I really needed someone to be there for me.
“We’re here,” I mumbled as we trailed into the hospital parking lot. My mind told me not to look but my eye’s kept staring. The journey from the parking lot to the room where my dad’s cold body laid seemed even longer than the car ride there. I guess it was like this because subconsciously I didn’t want to get there. My heart beat hurt my chest, my breathing suddenly increased, and the palms of my hands were sweaty and shaky.
There it was my dad’s room. My steps staggered as I walked up to the door and entered. The next sight I had was unbearable. Tears and screams from my mom, denial from my nana. All I could do was stand there, staring at him with great disbelief. The last words my mom said to my dad was pray and poop. The doctors had to switch my dad to different room and re-wrote those words on the white board to make it seem like nothing had changed. For a split second there was a minor half smile on my mom’s face. She knew that there words were the most important words she ever spoke.
The entire day I sat by his bedside, just looking at him, scared to touch him, but not wanted to leave his side. The room got strongly silent. “It’s okay, you can touch him,” my papa said to me as he grabbed my dad’s hand, assuring me that it’s okay. “Not yet, I will,” I countered. But in reality I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to feel no heartbeat, or no breaths. Touching him would make this feel all too real. It kept playing back in my head to stay strong, so I didn’t touch him. I continued to lay my head on the arm rest, staring with wide watery eyes.
I’m not saying that I didn’t cry, or that I didn’t hang on to someone, looking for comfort. I’m just saying that I stayed to reality. I didn’t get to make excuses of why this happened, or pretend that it didn’t happen. Sometimes I feel like it should have been my job to be the one not able to face what happened. But when I think like that I feel selfish and that’s not how I want to be.
Yes, my life today is not how I expected it to be. But on that day I realized who was really there for me, who I could trust. I had lots of support from my friends, softball team, and even teachers. I’m still myself today. Without the support of everyone around me, I would be a complete mess right now. I’ve realized that my dad’s not gone. He’s with me all the time and for those who knew him say I’m just like him. Sometimes I get scared that I’m not going to remember my dad years from now. But that’s not possible. I was a complete daddy’s girl, and when I do the things that we did together I feel like he’s with me doing them. “One is never prepared for the loss of a loved one.”