It was my junior year of high school in 2015. It was the year my dad and I began to discuss the future and my plans after high school. My plans consisted of going to college and furthering my baseball career at a school with the best fit. My life hit a minor set back when my dad passed away on March 14th, 2015. My life took a massive decline because I believed my life was over. I wanted to know why it happened, just to understand you may never know why it happened. That Saturday morning when baseball season began, was the worst day of my life.

To My Father
As time passed, I found myself always upset, dad, because you're supposed to be here. I wish you could be living this dream with me. Although you're always here spiritually, I want you here physically. Beginning my senior year, and not having you around didn't seem real. As I went on multiple college visits, I couldn't help but feel you standing next to me. I would walk into my high school everyday just to be reminded how proud you would be of me. My emotions were always kept peacefully until the night I committed to play college baseball. It was so exciting that I picked my phone up and dialed your number, only to have reality slap me right in the face when the line said, "The number you reached has been disconnected." I felt so accomplished that I was going to be living the dream we talked about, then I was sad because I was living it without you.

Next came my first senior night. I watched my other teammates walk across the track with their parents while mom and I stood alone. If it wasn't for Coach Smith, I'm not to sure if I wanted to walk. It all became so real when the announcer said "In memory of his father" and stated your name. Everyone tries telling me, "He's in a better place" and I get so frustrated because you should be here with Mom and I. Basketball senior night came around, and it was the most packed that gym has been in a long time. It was all the same story. After the game I stayed in the locker room and took a moment to myself because I felt so screwed over. I felt so alone because you were always the one to pick me up when I fall down, and I didn't have you anymore. Last but not least, baseball senior night arrived. It was the day I was dreading more than anything. I woke up that morning and I knew that day was going to be one to remember. The group of guys you helped coach, teach, and better us as young men were now seniors. The team we started when we were eight year old, was now beginning to move on from their roots at home. It's tradition that each player throws with their dad, and I felt so alone that you weren't there. If it weren't for Uncle Randy willing to throw with me, I'm not sure If I would have threw at all. It wasn't the same that I would look to my left and my right, and see all the guys I grew up with throwing with their dads, then I look across and you weren't there. That's something we couldn't wait to do together. I kept my emotions in long enough until the ceremony was over and the game was going to begin. I went on the opposite of the dugout and took a minute to myself. When Coach Witting came up to me and said, "Mike, let's do this one more time." I knew a job had to be done in your honor. We won that day, and I felt you there every step of the way.

Graduation:

Graduation was amongst us, and I knew it was going to be one of the weirdest days ever. I walked with Zach, and it was such a good time. The day went pretty smooth until I was called to stand up, and all aside from my athletic accomplishments, I was remembered as the student who lost his father before graduation, the student athlete who went through the senior nights without you, and the young man who had to grow up fast, and experience the world without you. After graduation, everyone was taking pictures with their families and friends. The only picture I was looking forward to was the one with you. I know you hate getting your picture taken, and I knew you would have been willing to get one with me. It makes me laugh to reminisce on the times we had shared.

Losing my father before graduation is one of the hardest things a young person can go through. It brought so much responsibility on myself and I didn't think I was going to be able to handle it. Your passing made me accept that everything does happen for a reason. I know my experiences before graduation would have been so much more memorable if you would have been by my side. I felt like the outcast to see most of my friends have both of their parents and live the best time of their lives with them. For me, it was always Mom and I going home to try to pick up the pieces from that March 14th morning. Losing you makes me wish life had a remote, to rewind to the last time I saw you smile, the last heart to heart we had, and the last hug you gave me. I love you dad, and I miss you more than anything. You should be here.