Loving Those Around You

Danielle - El Segundo, California
Entered on January 7, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Loving Those Around You

“I’m in a ‘Catch 22’ and I don’t know exactly when I’m going,” were some of the last words my father said to me before he was shipped off to the war. Going through most of my eighth grade year without my father was hard but what seemed to be harder was the thought that I had been so rude to my father before he left, and not knowing if he were to come back. Having him gone for over six months made me believe that you should always cherish the ones you love because you never know when they will be gone. My father returned safely but the lesson has stayed with me.

Hearing the news on every station, like CNN, NBC, or ABC, I endured stories of the war with daily tragic deaths I would be scared to the point of turning pale white. I would feel my eyes start to water and my vision would become blurred. Every headline of a missing or dead solider made me realize that I never knew if it was my dad or not. Since it was still the beginning of the war my dad could not call very often nor say where he was. But when he did call it was soothing to hear his voice. It still had a slight country sound, that my sister and I would always make fun of, but it was the sound if comfort.

I kept having a reoccurring dream that a close family friend would call and I would be the one to answer. His news would be heart breaking with the words, “I’m sorry…he’s gone now.” I would try to scream and cry but I just did not have the strength, and I felt my body start to numb. Food did not taste the same, I was unable to smell the coffee brewing in the morning and all colors around me became dull. In the morning, I would mentally beat myself up for the attitude and hard times I had given him. I prayed that if he were to come home that things would be different. I would treat him with the respect that he always deserved, and also try to do anything to make him proud.

In late September of 2003, my father came home. He was still 5’10” with his salt and pepper hair and those crazy hazel eyes that look a different color everyday. The only difference was that he was finally tanner then I was. However, all that did not matter because he was back and my life was complete again. The whole experience was a good life lesson. I know that life is short and I now try to spend time with the ones I love. Everyone should surround themselves with family and friends so they have no regrets. Cherish the moments you have because they could get taken away at any moment.