A Life Lesson This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

January 30, 2010
By , Kalamazoo, MI
 I lost my father when I was only nine years old. This was the biggest loss I have had. He was everything to me, all I looked up to. We were so close. I did not lose him to death. I lost him in a much harder way
 I lost my father to drugs. He got addicted and started to ignore my brother and me. As my brother took on drugs, trying to get away and ended up in trouble I  just kept trying to get time with my dad.
 On one cool summer night my brother, a couple of our friends, and I were watching Scary Movie 3 in the living room. Around 9:30 when I looked toward the kitchen stretching I saw orange and yellow flames reflecting into the door's window. As I screamed my brother jumped up and ran outside to get the hose for our dad. It was a meth explotion.
 After the fire was out I saw my dad ran around to the backyard and jump into the pool. I knew then he got burned. I was so scared of what was going to happen.
 I didn't see my father after that night for month. Finally my aunt took me to the hospital to see him. Like someone who broke all their bones, he laid there all rapped up in gauze. The first thing he said to me was, "I love you so much baby girl. I'm so sorry." Then he started to cry. I was so scared, I did not know what to say or do, so I just stood there next to his bed starring at him. When it was time to go I kissed him on this cheek and told him I loved him.
 After he got better they put him in jail for a month for the meth. Shortly after he got out the put him in prison for two years. I didn't get to see him for another year. By then I was twelve and old enough to visit him, but because of school I only got to go visit him monthly.
 by this time I never wanted to see him. I was so mad and hurt, suffering severe depression. It destroyed my health and my social life. I became a nobody slipping off the earth's surface.
 One day this amazing woman and teacher stopped me in the hall to ask if I was okay. wow. someone noticed me. someone cared. She asked if she could help me, if I would tell her what was going on. So I did.
 She helped save me and lift me back up. I was doing good again after time passed. She is now one of my greatest friends and mentors and we talk daily. I could never repay her for everything she had done for me, but that's okay because we all have people in our life like that.
 My dad has been out of prison for a year now. We will never have the strong relationship like we did before. He broke my trust and my faith in him. Those are two things you can never get back after something like this happens.
 I learned through my life to never do anything that serious without thinking of how it will impact the people around you who you love. I also learned friends are the best thing God gave us besides our life. And the biggest thing I have learned is we need all these things to get by in life.

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