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Living, Losing and Learning

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LIVING, LOOSING AND LEARNING

The passing of my dad was the most life-altering event I have endured. Even though it's a natural part of living, loosing a close loved one is something you can never be prepared for. The helplessness I felt as I held his still, pale hand, as he faded away. That cold, December night was the end of a life untouched by death or emptiness. Fear and darkness filled my soul. How was I to live without him? I don't want to go on. The whole world just stopped and I didn't care if I saw another tomorrow.

Growing up the oldest of five daughters, that tall, lean, giant of a man was our hero. Many late night ballgames, sister quarrels, and schoolgirl crushes he was always encouraging, arbitrating, or comforting his little girls. He was an anchor, keeping us close and safe. Away from his family, sometimes weeks at a time, the road is where he gave the remainder of himself. Never complaining or abandoning his obligations to his wife and kids, he worked hard to provide a comfortable life. Teaching us respect and values so that one day we could flourish in the life ahead of us.

In the summer of 95' he was diagnosed with Myotonic Muscular Distrophy. Doctors gave a life expectancy of six years. Giving in and letting go of something he enjoyed, he retired. The years that followed fill my mind with so many wonderful memories. Spending most of their time traveling from Texas to North Carolina, my parents would visit us girls who had moved away. Those trips kept his spirits up, so they tried to visit often. Fishing with the boys or babysitting the girls baby dolls, those grandkids loved their Papa'. The years seemed to fly by, the disease taking him from all he lived for. The pain and fear he never showed only deceived my hopes of more time. In 2000 the trips began to cease. My sister and I began making plans to move our families back home to Oklahoma. Everyone back close to home for our time with him is fading. Going on with my life twelve hundred miles away, I still blocked out my father was deteriorating.

From a young age I was told there was a God in heaven and we would join him one day if we lived a virtuous life. Praying to God as I drive the sixteen-hour trip home, I ask for more time to be with my father. Sitting with him in that grim, bone chilling hospital room I am haunted by memories of times I disappointed him. If I could tell him how much I love him and that I am sorry for not being there. Three days and three nights I wait for a sign from him. That third night all his girls at his side, held on to him as his soul left this world. He was tired. No more pain and never did he want to be a burden from his disease. Accepting that he was in a glorious place now was the easy part. Missing him and the regret of being so far away for so long plagued me.

Everyday I think of him and how each

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