Your whole world can turn upside down in the blink of an eye. I fell asleep, tucked in to the comfort of my bed after the sun had set, little did I know that tomorrow would not be my average Monday. The person I was when I fell asleep was nothing like the person I became when I woke up. That morning I did not wake up at six o’clock to get ready for school. Instead the phone rang loudly as everything else stood still. I prayed I’d never have to answer that call with a voice on the other end speaking softly, telling me my father was dead. That moment drastically altered who I am today.
I never thought this would be something I would have to endure. The mindset I had told me, “It will never happen to me”, I was a naive teenager. The phone began to ring at 3:18 am. I sluggishly rolled over and ignored the noise. At 3:23 am, trying to contain her tears, my mother was sitting at the edge of the bed telling me the horrible news. “Morgan, it’s your dad… he’s gone.” The air became thick and breathing became nearly impossible. My tears fell faster than heavy raindrops in a rainstorm. That was the day I knew nothing would ever be the same. So many little things I never thought about before suddenly flooded my mind. My father would not be watching my junior or senior softball season from the stadium. I would not have the opportunity to take pictures with him before prom, and graduation was going to come and go without him. He wasn’t going to be there and that was not fair. It did not matter how long my list of wants and wishes for my father was because God had a different list.
The week was long, full of school absences, sympathy, funeral arrangement, tears and the occasional smile when someone would bring up a memory of the man my father was, and the man he would always be remembered as. Thursday we stood back with friends and family to stare blankly at a small slab of marble. That stone meant this was not just a dream, it was real and it was all over. The feeling of devastation flooded me. I returned to school after two weeks and the students, teachers and administrators showed me unconditional support. I slowly began to realize I was now responsible for adapting to this change. It was either going to break me or make me a different person. I came to the conclusion that “change is never easy, we as humans fight to hold on, and we fight to let go, "Change is Never Easy."
After this loss I heard constant echoes of voices telling me “time heals” and “this gets easier.” The comment that sunk in the deepest was “your dad was so proud of you.” My life came into perspective. I hated the fact that everyone always made that statement in the past tense drove me crazy. I wanted my dad to continue to be proud of me. This made me strive to become more involved in my school work. That year I became more intense and determined on the softball field. “Above and beyond” became my motto to be the best I could be. Days were still tough and the tears came frequently. Time past slowly, yet flew by all at the same time.
The month of May came quickly and my senior year came to an end. My name was called and I walked across the stage with my head held high and a smile across my face. Twelve years of schooling had paid off. Pride from my accomplishments welled up inside me. I realized I was standing in a gymnasium full of people where I suddenly felt alone. There was an empty spot between my mother and sister where my father should have been. I felt my heart tighten up as slow, steady tears began to roll down my cheek. Once again I was left in a position of vulnerability. I had to learn to trust that he was always there with me. I then had to embrace the fact that this was going to be a struggle for me for the rest of my life.
Life has the ability to be a dream when you fall asleep and a nightmare when you wake up. Learning to live with the shock of a nightmare creates character. Through this life changing experience I realized that it was not about how hard you fall, but about how strong you are when you stand back up. Losing my father taught me how to never take little things for granted. Never go to bed angry at anyone, give hugs, and kisses every chance you get. Always end conversations with “I love you and I'll see you later.” Since that incident I no longer say goodbye, because goodbyes are forever. I'll see you again one day dad, but until then, Rest in Paradise, I love you.