When I was younger, I never thought I would ever lose my mother or my stepfather. I know that sounds awful. Like most people, I fought with my mother quite a bit. I guess you could say I even rebelled a little. When I turned 18, I joined a traveling carnival. I spent a few months traveling and living the whole drama-fueled life of a carney. I operated a game where you picked a color and a little rat went into a hole and if it was your color, you win. I wanted to be my own person and thought that not living with my mother would give me more freedom. It did to a point, but the carnival life just wasn't my thing. I left there and went to northern Michigan to live with my stepdad. This hurt my mother's feelings very much. The reason I chose this was so she couldn't control my life like I thought she wanted to. I grew up and started a family of my own.
I still remember what I was doing and how I reacted to the news of her death. It took me a long time to accept she was gone. I never got to say goodbye. The last chat we had, we argued about a week before she died. The night she died I was sitting on the floor feeding cereal to my baby girl who was six months old while my 2-year-old son played beside me. I got a call from my uncle about an hour after this, and he told me that she had been in a car accident and was killed. My first reaction was, you're joking this can't be true. I was in shock; I didn't know what to do or think. I was 24 years old and she was only 44. My husband was by my side trying to help me wrap my thoughts around the idea that she was really gone. We traveled down to her house and began packing it up for us to take back a few things to remember her by. I kept thinking that she would walk through the door and yell at us for going through her things. But this wasn't ever going to happen. I remember having nightmares for weeks about her coming back and about her death. She was killed by an underaged intoxicated driver. He had been drinking and had drugs in his system. Not only did he kill my mother, he also killed himself and another passenger in his car. I just remember thinking how unfair it was that his family got to say goodbye. My mother died at the scene. I was told she wasn't aware of anything and wasn't in pain, as it was instant.
It has now been almost 19 years to the date (July 23, 2000) and I still feel hurt. It seems as though this is coming up now because my stepfather is at the end of his life. He has been fighting with COPD and cancer for a few years now, and the doctors have said his time is coming soon. My sister isn't sure he fully understands how close his time has come. He still wants to wait another six to eight weeks before starting hospice after he travels back to Florida from Northern Michigan. Right now, with this all going on, I feel very lonely and like I am losing one of my best friends. He has been the best father I could have ever hoped for. He has been wise and shared his wisdom with me over the years. I hope that he knows how much of an impact he has had on my life. I recently dropped everything to go up to Michigan from southeastern Ohio to spend what little time with him I can while he is still with us. He has told me that he is ready for this all to end and hopes it happens while he sleeps. I hope that his suffering ends peacefully for him, but I will miss him so much. He has been one of the best things in my life. At this point, I can’t imagine life without him in it.