It all started when I was ten, the day before my eleventh birthday. Expecting a regular "Happy Birthday," I was surprised to find out that the one and only dad I had would soon be taken away a year later by cancer. Cancer. You always think it happens to your friend's Grandma, or the guy down the street, but it happened to my dad. I went through a period of pure frustration and bottled-up anger because I was in a state of chaos and confusion. To think that there were kids out there with abusive fathers, fathers that cheated on their moms, and fathers that were never around but were healthy, and even though my dad was none of the above, he's the one who is gone now. It confuses me still. I have learned how to handle it, but not without having many bumps along the way.
My father died in the first week of my first year in middle school. I knew that from then on my days would never be referred to as "the wonder years," but more along the lines of "the lonely years." I alienated myself from my family and rarely opened up to my friends. Many of them thought that my lifestyle and thoughts were too intense for my age, but how could I help that? I watched the life slip out of my hero and all that they had to say was "it's okay." I really did not think it would be okay... EVER.
I began having mood swings and turning to myself and no one else. I was like a time bomb and everyone close to me could see that it would only be a short while before I would explode. They guessed right. In 8th grade I did. I just broke down. I started hating everyone and everything around me. I felt that writing was my only escape from the life I had—the life that I wanted to be taken away so badly. No one understood, and when they tried to, I brushed them off with a tear. I knew that the way I was acting was not healthy and that it was hurting the people around me a lot worse than it was hurting me, but I had no control over it. My self-esteem was declining, leaving me with an eating disorder that I have recently recovered from. People would say to me "Julie*, your dad can't be your excuse for everything." That was one of the most hateful things anyone could ever say to me, or say to anyone who had been in a position like mine.
In the end, I did come through all of this. I still have all my memories, I still cry about it, and thinking about my dad will always bring a tear to my eye. The point of this story, however, was not to make anyone cry, but to let them see that there is always a rainbow after the rain. My experience with my dad's death has only made me become a stronger person and let me value the life I have and the people that I love more than anything.
*Name has been changed