Never will I meet another who touched so many lives. Having someone so impactful, powerful, and wise taught me how to be genuine, strong, compassionate. You had so many hobbies; you left almost a trail of art, a legacy of inspiration for us to discover. But your unwavering strength was by far the most inspiring thing about you; in the face of death, you looked life right in the eye and said “I’m not afraid”. I can still see the look of determination and unwavering persistence in your eyes, and I will never forget it – I will never forget you – for as long as I live.
In December of 2018, I lost my father. Cancer took my father from me. I went numb.
This just so happened to be the day before my Winter Band Concert. I was crushed by not being able to perform with my band, my second family. The night of the concert, I could not get the band out of my mind. I knew I had to do something.
Through the tears of dealing with my family tragedy, I wanted to see my band succeed. I laid a yellow flower on each of my friends’ seats with a note wishing them good luck at their concert. To my surprise, they had done the same for me: a single red rose sat peacefully on my chair as the winter concert went on without me. I never truly realized how compassionate and loving my friends and family were to me until I was forced to miss a concert that I had no intention of missing.
For months after, my mother would pull the budget belt tighter, little by little. My brother and I no longer had the comfort of ensured dental care, eye appointments, or doctor visits; the things I had once had the privilege of experiencing were gone in an instant. A few months later, I would begin applying to colleges. My number one college got bumped to number two – replaced with a college that was less than half of the cost. My mother always says, “Don’t worry about the money,” but I simply couldn’t help it. I knew we could get by, but for how long? When I leave for college, will my family be okay? My father’s life insurance promised my mother a future and kept us in our home. I am so thankful for the ability to remain comfortable with my family in my home, and I could never imagine the bigger consequences of losing financial stability. However, the hole in our hearts that losing my dad left can never be filled again; nonetheless, he still continues to take care of me and my family today, and I am in debt to him forever.
Life is scathingly short. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. But life cannot be lived in fear. My father has given me a reason to keep going; he taught me how to look life in the eye and tell it “I’m not afraid”.
I will look up at the moon tonight and know you are watching the same one, somewhere.
Thank you, Dad.