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Life is Short. Embrace It.


They rushed my father into surgery right away, worried they might need to remove his spleen in order to stop his internal bleeding. Eventually the bleeding stopped, so they did not have to take out the spleen. These hours were some of the longest of my young life. All I could think about was if my daddy was going to come back home to me. I was only seven at the time and still needed him to grow and learn from.


My father finally came out of surgery and was only in the hospital for a few days when they finally released him.


After everything that went on with my dad being in the hospital, my sister and I were ready to get back to our normal lives. We were enjoying our school, Immaculate Conception, in Springfield, and loved all of our close friends. We truly had a great community of people that we had surrounded ourselves with and couldn’t imagine our lives any different.


Besides my dad’s hospital episode, my life seemed perfect, and like nothing could possibly go wrong.


One day, while my sister and I were at dinner with my parents, they told us they had some news to tell us. As our little ears took in all of the information they gave us, our faces went from smiles to pure shock. My parents informed us that at the end of the week, they were going to be moving us to Kansas City. This was where my grandparents on my mom’s side lived, and we were familiar with the area because we would always go and visit them. More specifically, they would be moving us to Overland Park, KS. It was only about 3 ½ hours away from Springfield, MO. but when you were nine years old, it felt like a world away from everything that you knew and loved. I had the perfect life in Springfield, and suddenly my world was going to be turned upside down.


When I told my friends, they were all very sad to see me go. They even threw me an impromptu going away party at my friend, Christina’s, house. As the end of the week came to a close, it was finally time for us to leave. I hugged my friends goodbye, and of course they all told me that we would stay in close contact.


As we drove off into new and unexpected territory, we were worried of what the future may have held for us. Little did we know, our entire worlds would be changed in ways we never could have imagined.


I remember looking out the back window as we drove away, hoping and praying that this was all a cruel joke, and that we didn’t really have to leave our perfect little home.

After what felt like forever, we finally arrived to our strange new home. This place felt unfamiliar. My dad still had to continue working out the rest of his weeks at work, so in the meantime we lived with my grandparents. This was a nice transition, despite it still feeling like a long trip rather than our new home.


My grandparents did everything they could to make us feel right at home. From hosting game nights in the kitchen with all of us, to letting my sister and I play waitress, while we served them all fake food. This helped our coping process of leaving our childhood home.


We eventually started school at our new school. May I mention that we left in the middle of our school year, so this transition was harder than ever. My mom really wanted to get us into Ascension Catholic School, not too far away from my grandparents’ house. They did not have any openings at the time, so they sent us to Good Shepherd Catholic School in Shawnee, KS. We began to feel a little more at home with each passing day. As we settled into our new school, we began to make new friends, and started to feel like Kansas City was home. We still missed our old friends and everything from our old life, but we were adjusting nicely to our new life.


As we anxiously awaited for our dad to join us in Kansas City, we began the house search with our mom. We would go from house to house, but none of them seemed quite like the right fit. We eventually came to a blue 2 story duplex. After giving the house a quick run through, we decided that it was the one. My sister and I each had our own bedrooms along with a really neat sun room, where we would watch the snow fall down on those cold winter nights. It seemed like the perfect house to me, and all we needed at the time.


My dad finally moved to Kansas City after finishing out his last days at work. We finally had our little family of four back together. I was so happy that my life could finally start to go back to normal.


My sister and I were loving Good Shepherd and all of the friends that we were making. We were truly thriving for moving to a new school in the middle of the year. I started 5th grade and my sister started 3rd grade that next school year in August of 2004. We finally felt like Kansas City was our new home. I was still calling my friend Christina every once in awhile to update her on my new life and to keep up with my old life.


I had made a ton of new friends and one of them even asked me to be in the talent show with her. My friend and I started prepping for the talent show that was in a few weeks. We would be putting on a magic show. Since neither of us knew anything about magic or how to do it, we made sure to do our research. We came up with some ideas based on the suggestions that we found. One of them would be to make someone “disappear”. We found a large box that we spray painted all black, then we decorated it for the talent show. We had already predetermined to call up my friend’s little brother since we were going to let him in on our secret. We practiced and practiced and were finally ready for the talent show. When the day came, we got up there in front of the entire school to put on our magic show. When we called up her little brother, the act could not have gone more terribly. The kids were laughing at us because they could see her little brother’s feet sticking out from the back of the box where we had cut a hole in for him to crawl out of to hide behind the box. The whole thing was a disaster, but ended up being a memory I will never forget because of how fun it was to put it on.


The summer turned to fall, and the weather grew colder, and we were still doing really well at our new school. I kept thinking, “Wow, nothing could make my life any better than it already is.”


One morning in October, my dad was driving us to school and we overheard him telling one of his friends a story about my mom. We were not trying to eavesdrop, but did hear my dad say something about a baby. My sister and I looked at each other, confused, and then patiently waited for our dad to get off the phone so we could ask him what he was talking about.


With a huge grin across his face, my dad told my sister and I that my mom was going to have a baby and that we were going to be big sisters! He said that we were not allowed to tell our mom that we knew because it was supposed to be a surprise and they were going to share it with us later on that night. We couldn’t contain our excitement. That day during our open prayer, I said that I would like to pray for my mom because she was going to have a baby! I have never been very good at keeping secrets, so of course I had to share it with my entire 5th grade class.


That night, my parents took my sister and I out to dinner and they broke the news to us that my mom was pregnant! We were so excited that we were going to have another member added to our family!


Years later, I ended up finding out the full story of my mom and dad finding out that my mom was going to have a baby. While my dad was sleeping one night, before they had any clue that my mom was pregnant, he had a very vivid dream of God coming to him. In this dream God told my dad that my mom was pregnant, and that it was going to be a little boy. My dad suddenly awoke to tell my mom of this very vivid dream. My mom just laughed, because my sister and I were 10 and 8 at the time. She was way past having anymore children.


For those next two weeks, my dad watched what my mother ate and drank. She still did not believe him and thought he had no idea what he was talking about. Finally, after he wouldn’t let it go, she caved and decided to take a pregnancy test. They both stood in the bathroom one morning before taking us to school, anxiously awaiting the results of the test. As the words “Pregnant” came across the little pregnancy testing screen, all my dad could do was laugh, as my mother nearly fainted and then let out a shrieking scream.


“JIM!!! How could this have happened?!” She said.


And that was the beginning of our family of four changing to a family of five. I was ecstatic to meet the little human that was growing inside my mom’s tommy and could not wait to be the oldest of not just one, but two siblings.


As the months went on, we grew more anxious to meet our future sibling. My mother was 39 years in age, so for her pregnancy to be progressing at such a healthy pace was incredible.


My dad was so excited, hoping and praying that it would be a little boy. He couldn’t help but think of all of the “guy” things he would take his son to do. Even though my dad did not know that the little baby growing inside of my mom was going to be a boy, he had a gut feeling that it would be. My dad imagined taking the little boy hunting, share his love for cars with him, and all things male. As much as my dad loved having us girls, he could not wait to have a little boy of his own.


One day, my sister and I decided to clean the house. With my mom being about three months into her pregnancy, we thought it would be nice to help her out a bit. We cleaned the entire house, and even managed to clean up their master bedroom as well. About an hour after we finished cleaning the house, my dad came home. He said that he was not feeling well at all. He laid down in the my parent’s bed, and since my sister and I had just finished making it, we got frustrated at him.


“Dad! We just finished making the bed and you ruined it,” I shouted.


“I am sorry girls, but daddy really does not feel well. I need to take a nap” He said.

We decided to let it go, because I had a basketball game to get ready for and we were leaving soon. I was sad that my dad would not be able to come to my game because he was always my biggest supporter. He would always practice with me and show me all of the drills. My dad was a great basketball player in high school and loved the game and truly was just a great athlete overall.


My mom took my sister and I to the game. My team warmed up, then the game began. It was an intense game to say the least. We were neck and neck most of the time. I played down low because I was one of the tallest on my team. The game was a rough one, but we ended up winning the game after all.


After the game, the team decided to go to dinner to celebrate. As we all sat around the table, reminiscing on the big win, everyone couldn’t help but smile. It was the perfect end to a great night.


After dinner, my mom, sister and I drove home to see if my dad was feeling any better. We were hoping that he felt better after taking his nap.


I was the first in the door, so I decided to go check on my dad. After such an exciting night, I decided I would cozy up with a nice book in our living room. The book I wanted was in our parents’ room. As I walked in, trying to shuffle through the darkness of the room, I saw my dad quietly sleeping in my parents’ bed. I took a nice, long look at him, thinking, wow, he looks so peaceful. I walked into the living room and cracked open the book.


As I began reading, my mom and sister decided to walk into my parents’ bedroom. As they flipped on the light, they saw something out of the ordinary.


“Jim? Jim. JIM!” My mother screamed.


I ran in to see what all the commotion was about. My eyes went from my mother’s face, filled with utter dread, to my dad’s body. He lay there, lifeless. His skin, white as snow, and his lips, blue as the sky. I ran over and touched his hand. It was cold as ice. My perfect night suddenly came crumbling down all around me and there was nothing I could do but sit there and take it all in.






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