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By Jordyn Horton – Collegiate Staff

January 29, 2013 started out as a normal day. I woke up at 7 a.m. to go to school and my mom left for work. At the time I was 15, and a sophomore in high school. When the school day was over I went home, worked on homework, watched some television, and waited for my mom to get home from work. It was late in the evening and she still wasn’t home. I thought it was strange that she hadn’t even called me to tell me that she was on her way home from work, like she usually did. That day soon turned into the worst day of my life.

Finally my mom came home. She walked through the front door, set her bags down, and walked into the living room where I was sitting, watching television. I was happy to see her but she looked upset. My mom told me that my aunt called her earlier in the day. I could tell something happened to my dad. Before my mom could say anything else I said, “my dad died.” She nodded. At that moment, it felt like the world stopped. I was in shock, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t speak, I was numb. I couldn’t even cry at first because I couldn’t believe it. My mind was racing, all I could think about were memories of my dad. My dad’s death was unexpected and I couldn’t imagine my life without him.

From that moment on, I knew that my life would never be the same. The last time I saw my dad was at his house in Lansing, just a few months before he passed away. At his house he had guitars, keyboards, drums, and other types of music equipment. He had a passion for music and so did I. The last time I was with my dad, I listened to some of his music and we recorded some songs. I think about that day a lot because the last memory I have of my dad is from that day. After he died, it was hard for me to accept the fact that I would never see or talk to him again. It was hard knowing that my dad was no longer here.

I thought a lot about my childhood after my dad died, and I reminisced about the time
I spent with him as a child. I have many great memories of my dad, but I also remember some of the not so great times we shared. I was born in Lansing and I lived there for most of my childhood. When I was 3, my mom and dad separated. From that point on I lived with my mom. When I was 10, my mom and I moved to Grand Rapids, but my dad stayed in Lansing.

My dad did not always make the best decisions. Sometimes he spent time in jail as a result of the choices he made. It was tough visiting my dad in jail. I could only visit him once a week for 20 minutes. Seeing the di cult life that my dad lived made me realize that I did not want to live the same way he did. However, I believe that the mistakes and decisions he made along with the challenges he endured, impacted my life for the better. My dad shaped me into the person I have become today. He was very encouraging and he always wanted the best for his children. Some of my dad’s choices prevented him from achieving his goals, but he never stopped encouraging me to fulfill my aspirations.

A little over two years after my dad passed away, just a few days before my
high school graduation, I received an unexpected message on Facebook. The message was from my eldest half-brother, Marcus. Prior to that day, Marcus didn’t know that I was his sister, or that he had a half-brother Eric. He also did not know that we all had the same dad. I’ve known since I was 5 that I had two older brothers, but Marcus had just found out that he was a part of another family. I knew about Marcus almost my entire life and it was exciting to finally talk to him, but we had to wait to meet each other. Marcus is in the United States Army. At the time, he was stationed in Germany and he was not coming home until December.

In the meantime, we talked to each other quite a bit. We wanted to get to know each other and he wanted to know more about Eric, our dad, and our dad’s side of the family. After nearly eight months of waiting, Marcus was home and the three of us met each other in person for the rst time. e moment was bittersweet. It was exciting, yet sad. We wished our dad could have been there to see the three of us together, because that was important to our dad. He always hoped to see all of us together and he wanted be a part of all of our lives, but he never got the chance.

We tried not to let anything keep us from enjoying the few days we had together. The first night we met, the three of us wanted to have fun and celebrate our dad. We went out to dinner and shared some of the best memories we had of our dad. The next few days we just spent time together. We went bowling, we went to the movies, and spent some time downtown. We had our entire lives to catch up on, so we did a lot of talking and laughing. It was cool talking to my brothers because I could see our dad in both of them. Some of their mannerisms were the same as his, and it was nice to see that.

After the holidays, Marcus had to go back to Germany. It was hard saying goodbye to my brother I just met, and knowing that I would not be able to see him for almost another year. e three of us became very close, and I am thankful for that. Meeting each other in person strengthened our relationship and brought us all closer together. I am grateful for the time we had together and the memories we made.

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