Tomorrow Isn’t Always Promised
Throughout my childhood everything was always changing. My friends, my clothes, my ideas, my likes and dislikes, it all changed. But there was always one thing that I thought I could count on to never change, and that was my relationship with my dad. My dad and I were so close. He would always play his guitar and sing the chorus to “Brown Eyed Girl” to me. He took me everywhere. I was daddy’s little girl. I thought that nothing could ever tear us apart. We always had fun together. We would laugh at everything together. Little did I know that our time was very limited.
On April 18, 1997, my mom dropped off at my friend, Skie’s, house. While I was going to Skie’s house, my mom, Gabe (my brother), Mary (my sister), and Nicole (my sister) were going to visit my dad in the hospital. I told them I would go the next night, but I had no idea there wouldn’t be a next night. That night was a lot of fun. Skie and I played house, jumped on the trampoline, played with out Polly Pocket dolls, it was a blast.
The next morning my mom came to pick me up. The car was silent. Usually when you have a brother and two sisters in the car, it is very noisy. No one was fighting over the radio, no one fought for who gets the front seat, my sister of six months wasn’t crying, everyone was just sitting there in silence. I immediately knew something was wrong. When I asked my mom what was going on, instead of answering she asked me if I had a good time. I told her yes, but asked again what was going on. She was silent for a minute, and then finally told me that my dad had died around four that morning. I was shocked. I couldn’t even cry at first. Then I realized what she had just said, and I lost it.
I just remember so many things going through my head at the point. I kept thinking it was just a cruel joke. How could this have happened? My dad was such a strong person, and he was always able to make it through my obstacles you put in front of him. He had battled his cancer for so long; I swore he was going to make it. It hurt so badly, to realize that so fast someone that meant so much to you, could be gone. The thing that hurt the most, though, was that I was being so selfish the night before, and went to stay at my friends’ house, instead of going to visit my dad.
I never had a change to say goodbye I was supposed to be daddy’s little girl, I was supposed to be his little brown-eyed girl, but yet I didn’t say goodbye. Through all the times that I was sick, through all the times I needed my dad, he was there, no questions asked. The one time he needed me, I wasn’t there for him. I would give anything to just go back and see him one last time, to tell him I love him and that I’m sorry.
Although I was devastated, all I could think about were good memories. I remembered when I was in preschool; he would take me to my grandparents’ house every day. The whole way we would sing “Achy Breaky Heart” and dance. Once when we were in my dads’ truck, he stepped out to open the garage door. He had left my brother and me in the truck. My brother accidentally switched gears with his foot, and we started reversing. My dad ran to stop the truck. It was scary then, but now it’s funny. I remembered every Fourth of July when we would have a huge celebration at our house. My dad wanted everyone to have turns lighting fireworks, but at the same time he was very cautious with me. I remembered one year when we went to Niagara Falls, he kept telling me he was going to go over the falls in a barrel. He then would tell me many people have died from doing this. I freaked out and told him if he did it, then I had to do it too. I had no idea he was joking around. I remembered going on walks with my dad and brother around the neighborhood. I remembered how much my dad loved all of our land, and would let me ride on the lawn mower with him. I remembered my dad staying up late at night to watch scary movies with me. We had to hide it from my mom; she hated scary movies, and hated me watching them. I remembered feeling like I had the most amazing dad in the world. It was all too surreal to realize that I would never get to create anymore memories with my dad.
My dad was an all around good guy. In high school he was the first to graduate from his school, lettering in three sports, three years in a row. Hickman Mills now has a scholarship in his honor for other students who accomplish this. My dad was always the type of a guy that would be there for you, whether he liked you or not. He didn’t hold grudges. He hated arguing with people. I had only seen my mom and dad argue once in my entire life. My dad was funny. He always was looking for positives in any situation. He could bring a smile to your face no matter what the circumstances were. He was an amazing person and a great father. I never thought cancer would affect somebody, who has done so much good in his life.
My dad had a brain tumor. For about a year he was in and out of hospitals. He and my mom would fly to Minnesota back and forth so he could receive special treatment. At about the beginning of his diagnosis he had to start wearing an eye patch over his right eye. The tumor affected his vision. When he would be looking straight forward everything to his right would be in front of him. Therefore, wearing the eye patch prevented that. I remember one time when he came back from Minnesota and he told me I wasn’t allowed to look at the back of his head. I asked why, and all he would tell me is that it would freak me out. Of course I looked and the middle his head was shaved, with a long, clear, vertical bandage covering a scar. It was disgusting.
At the time I was young enough that I didn’t completely realize what was happening. I understood it, but I didn’t really think it meant I would never see my dad again. Now, though, I realize that there are things that I’m never going to get to do. For instance, at my wedding I won’t be able to have my dad give me away, or I won’t be able to have a father-daughter dance. I don’t have him to go to when ex-boyfriends hurt me. I don’t have him to protect me when I get scared. There are so many other things that I’m going to miss out on. I know that they are little things, but they are also things you take for granted until they’re gone.
Although it is very hard growing up without a father, I just have to be happy that I knew him. I have to keep my head up and realize he is in a better place. I’m glad I at least have memories with him. My youngest sister was only six months old when he died. I feel really bad, because she will never know how great of a dad he was. She’ll get to hear stories, but she’ll never actually get to meet him.
I know its very clichÃ© to say that tomorrow may never come, but it’s also very true. We say it and we repeat it so much, but we never really realize that tomorrow may never come, until we go through something like this. You just have to live you life. You can’t waste your time being upset or always arguing with people. You never know when that could be the last time you’ll see that person. I learned that I have to live my life like there is no tomorrow. Life is such a short and valuable thing.