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It Won’t Happen To Me This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     He was sick. His voice was weak, not the strong, warm voice I had known all my life, but I thought it was just the flu. When I went to tell my mom and stepdad I was done with the phone, my mom couldn’t look at me. Her eyes brimmed with tears as she tried to look away. It was too late; I knew something was wrong. She slowly turned and told me how sick my dad really was. It was skin cancer again, but this time it was worse.

Our plane landed in Arizona two days later. It was a beautiful day and the streets were filled with people and life. We drove to the hospital. The intensive care unit was like a prison, requiring badges to enter and puke-green walls in every room. I walked down a narrow hallway to his room. A gaunt, sickly man sat in a chair next to the bed. My stepmom stood, her hands wringing each other. I saw him and felt the tears welling in my eyes. I had seen him three months before and he had been his healthy 6'5" and 220 pound self. This man was sucked into 175 pounds and looked like his skin would come off at any second, but it was my dad.

He smiled at me. His teeth were too large for his mouth and he spoke with a wagging head. Hope started to die in me as the morphine-filled man stared at me with shame. It was his fault he was dying and he knew it. The doctor had told him to stop smoking and stop tanning, but he was too stubborn. He always thought that things like this would never happen to him. The malignant melanoma came back at a full stage four.

I will never forget his confused state. He didn’t know who I was at times and thought that there were head and footprints on the wall. One of the last things he said was, “Sew buttons on your underwear.” He didn’t know what he was saying, and I knew he wouldn’t make it. I kissed him good-bye, told him that I loved him, and left to fly home with a heavy heart.

When the call came a week later, I wasn’t surprised, but the thought of never seeing my beloved Daddy again was enough to break my 10-year-old heart. I couldn’t help but think that he would never see me graduate or walk me down the aisle. I couldn’t go to him for advice anymore. I never thought I would survive without him and the counselors only made matters worse. I withdrew from life. My grades went down, as did my self-esteem. I was in utter agony and didn’t know what to do.

Now, five years later, I survived. I did go through a period of grief, but I was able to move on. I can look at all the bad things his death did to me, and then I look at the knowledge I was blessed with because of it. I am now more mature than I ever was and cherish my mom and treat her as well as I possibly can. I know life can be taken at any moment. My dad was 34 when he died. I know there is no such thing as “it won’t happen to me.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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maki_rain said...
Apr. 21, 2011 at 7:06 pm
Nicely written. I'm very sorry for your loss. I completely agree with the concept of your article though. There is no such thing as "it won't happen to me." I learned that too. It's a horrible lesson to learn.
 
Bethani said...
Apr. 29, 2010 at 6:25 pm
You've learned from this experience. Good for you!
 
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