A Path, A Decision, A Life

Helena - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on April 16, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: change, death, family
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It is often said that teenagers are reckless, loud, irresponsible and sometimes even destructive. Well my friends, I am no different. I was that teenager, I was that “hooligan”. I lived my life to please only me and in turn, I failed to make a connection or a relationship with the one man in my life that I actually believe loved me; my dad.

When I was 14, my father was diagnosed with a severe type of skin cancer, melanoma. When I was 14, my dad died of skin cancer on February 08, 2004 and on February 24th, 2004 , I turned 15. Now see, I thought I was destructive before, but now my destruction had meaning and hurt behind it. I fell into piercings and tattoos, I listened to loud music that helped to give my 15-year old world, some meaning. However, after several years of drinking and doing drugs, I found myself a senior in high school with no future and friends that were leading me down the wrong paths. I started thinking about my dad and all that he stood for when he was alive. Education and hard-work were two things that he had drilled into my head and all the hurt, pain and suffering had blinded me to that. I decided it was time to grow-up and it was time to make those past painful experiences my strengths and not weakness.

My 19-year old life now has more meaning than I think I could ever express and I have my dad to thank for that. The legacy he left behind, has shaped me into a responsible adult. I have my crazy moments, but they are short lived. I will always have a hole in my heart from losing my dad, but that same hole has given me a drive.