This I Believe

Jean - Hillsborough, New Jersey
Entered on December 5, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: death, family, legacy

It never censes to astound me how fast life can turn. After a normal week of high school and homework I woke up Sunday morning to my mother screaming at the top of her lungs for us to wake up. My dad lay unmoving on the mattress. There were so many thoughts that raced in my mind. Hadn’t I just been talking to him yesterday? I remember my mom yelling to call 911 as soon as we entered the room. My sister grabbed the phone and dialed. She performed CPR, but there was still no heartbeat. My mom ordered me outside to direct the ambulance. My ears strained to listen for a siren. I felt like I was made of stone. I kept wondering: What happens? Is he okay? What are the chances? What happens if he is dead? The sirens screamed down the street and I felt a terrible mixture of dread and relief. I ran inside the house closely followed by paramedics in their bright orange vests. I couldn’t think straight. I was waiting for confirmation that I didn’t want to hear.

I was numb when they told us that he was dead. My mom wailed at the top of her lungs. The sound was painful and unearthly. I couldn’t stand the talking all of a sudden. I didn’t want to hear their condolences and what a shame it was. For long stretches of time we couldn’t talk. My sister asked me, “So what will we do? Mommy doesn’t have a job… Jen’s a senior. What about college?” I remember saying, “It’ll all work out. It’s going to suck, but we’ll be okay.” My mind was flooded. How did this happen? Stress? What happened? What would happen? I could get a job during school. We’ll have to move. I was worried and confused. I thought I would go insane just trying to think about everything at once. Finally, my mind hooked onto one thing: This has happened before to someone else and they make the best of it.

I can’t say that everything turned out okay or that there is a happy ending in sight. In fact, I have no idea, but I hold onto what I do have right now. I have my loving mother and two amazing sisters. The four of us live in a two-bedroom condo instead of a four-bedroom house. My mom is a librarian, Judy is a junior in high school, Jen is studying at John Hopkins and I am now a freshman in college. So we managed in our own way and the future has yet to be written. The day that my dad died made me believe that life’s struggles all serve the purpose to help us each mature. Granted, sometimes instead of rising above the challenge, I trip and face plant the cement. Even still, I think that those moments teach me more about myself. I discovered that I am hardworking and I learned to put all of my effort into everything I do just like my father did.