For the past few months, since I really started posting regularly, I have wanted to keep things light, simple and fun - a sort of playground for myself and things that I adore. Not sure how much of myself I really wanted to expose to the world, but I have been so inspired by all of the blogs that I read daily of women of all ages that are going thru all sorts of different life experiences - good, bad, happy & sad. So I thought that I would share a little bit of a time in my life or shall I say the day that forever changed my life. I have to warn you that it is a sad story, and by no means do I want anyone to feel sorry for me. It has taught me that life is precious and that we should enjoy every moment as it were our last. I am peeling off a little layer of myself to share with you, as a thank you for inspiring me. So here goes:
It has been 3 1/2 years, since my life was turned upside down by tragedy. If someone would have told me a week or so before that my dad would die tragically and I would not only be ok, but actually thrive due to it – I would not have believed them. To this day it is hard for my brain to understand the reality of what happened, but my heart has grown in spite and because of this experience.
I had just talked to my dad two days before his death, and he was planning a trip out to visit me with his sisters and brother and was excited to see where I lived and what my life was like. A few years before, I had moved to a different part of the state as I had been in a long distance relationship and we wanted to make it a permanent one. My dad and I had a short, but very nice conversation – and I always ended our talks by saying “I love you, dad “but this time I only said “see you in a few days.” Those unspoken words have haunted me ever since, but I know that he knew he was loved by me.
It was on a Friday evening, I had just gotten home from work when my cell phone rang. It was my brother – and I found it odd, as I very rarely talk to my brother, but I answered it. He was very calm and said to me in a very soft voice, “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but Dad is gone” – my heart sunk at that moment, but I was at peace as I had been thinking about this exact same thing just a few days before. You see, my daughter’s friend had just lost her father, yet he was in his early 50’s and had been suffering from Leukemia and she was just 15 years old. I knew that eventually I would be dealing with the same issue as this amazing young woman was and I only hoped that I could deal with it as graceful as she was.
However, when the words came thru the phone from my brother that said “Dad was shot, he was murdered” I wasn’t prepared for that at all. My body shook and collapsed to the ground and I was gasping for air while crying hysterically. “Who would do this, who would kill my dad?” My brother and I were united in the devastation of this news and as we were grasping for answers at the moment, there just weren’t any. The police couldn’t tell us right away.
For the rest of the evening, I paced back and forth – I called my boyfriend who was at work, and he came home to be with me, to calm me and make sure I would be ok. We were both unprepared to deal with a situation like this, no one ever is- but I felt at that moment, like I was in one of those Lifetime Channel movies or some bad dream, and I just wanted to wake up. I called a few of my friends and they were equally devastated for me, as they knew how much my dad meant to me - their support got me thru the next few days and weeks and I am so thankful for that. I was frantically searching the internet for any news regarding the murder. My dad lived in Florida and there had been a few killings in his area in the last few weeks, and they both had been on a Friday. They were calling these the Friday Night Killings and the suspect was at large.
The next morning we learned that the suspect was in custody and had admitted to the killing, and was the Friday Night Serial Killer. My dad’s personal belongings had been found in his car and the police were immediately tracking the killer thru my dad’s credit card activity. Within two hours of my dad’s murder – the suspect was in custody. That was a definite god send, as we now had some answers and could try to move forward from that point.
As a way of trying to find meaning in this, I immediately said to my brother and sister that Dad had lived a wonderful life until then and I wanted to remember him like that. Although we are never going to forget how he died, I didn’t want it to overshadow the wonderful life that he led. As I tried to describe how I felt to my boyfriend and friends, all I could say was I feel like my heart had shattered into a million pieces. We’ve all heard that saying, “she’s heartbroken, he’s heartbroken” but to actually have that feeling in your heart is an indescribable pain, that truly never goes away. My heart was broken, how would I ever survive this?