Tuesday, April 13, 2010
One More Orphan :(
On Wednesday night April 7, 2010, my innocent little 3 year old self fit the UN definition of an orphan and became part of the 147 million orphan statistic. While grown ups may squabble about the UN’s definition of an orphan - a child 0-17 whose mother (maternal orphans) or father (paternal orphans) or both (double orphans) are dead – they can not squabble over the fact that on that tragic day, I became a fatherless child.
On that Wednesday night, I ceased to be defined as the happy, spunky, gregarious, talkative, carefree girly girl who could tumble and wrestle with the best of them, or as the kid who astounded everyone when she could speak fluently at 1 ½ years old and who by 2 years old was already fluently bi-lingual and at 3 was working on being fluent in her third language. Before that Wednesday night, my only cares were loving my dolls, playing with my toy kitchen, having long extended tea parties and keeping everyone laughing because they say I talk a mile a minute and always say the darndest things. Instead, from that fateful night last week, everyone looks at me with pity and sorrow as I try and figure out why everyone is so sad and what it means when I ask for my daddy and everyone tells me that he is in heaven. Now, I am defined as the poor little girl who does not have a daddy.
Because on that Wednesday night you decided it was no big deal to drive drunk on a suspended license while serving probation for a previous drunken-driving conviction. And you also decided it was not worth your time to stop and check on my daddy as he lay trapped under the wheels of your pickup truck – it was more important to leave the scene so that the police would not know that you were driving drunk. Thank goodness that this is not the final image I will know about the last minutes of my daddy’s life – your brother was decent enough to remain at the scene and lead police to your home where your cowardly drunk self was hiding. And even more decent were all the people who had just spent Wednesday night at bible study with my daddy and who had just watched him don on his helmet, get on his motorcycle and wave goodbye, but who a minute later were trying to administer CPR and were praying like crazy that God would let my daddy live. As you sit in jail, you will never know just how much my daddy loved me and what a wonderful and dedicated father he was. Nor will you ever know all the sacrifices he made to be the world’s greatest father. You will never know that my daddy was an all round decent man who not only cared for me, but he so deeply cared for others, was in an elite urban search and rescue team and was training to be a firefighter so that he could continue to put his life on the line to help save lives. On Wednesday night, the brave firefighters were the first on the scene to try and help save my daddy’s life – thanks to you, he will not be joining them on the big red fire truck. The only tangible reminder of the hero that my daddy was, will be the flag given to me by a representative from our Governor's office as a thank you from the people of my state for my daddy sacrifices. On Wednesday night, his elite group of 103 men from around my state became one man short.
Today, perhaps you are reflecting on whether the buzz you felt after your drinks and getting behind the wheel was worth taking a life, while my mommy shops for the dress I will wear at my daddy’s funeral. As I walk through life without my daddy I pray that the memories we built together for the last three years will not grow dim. After a short stint in jail, you may forget that you took a life, and perhaps get behind the wheel drunk yet again. But this little girl will not have the luxury of forgetting – because she will never hear her daddy’s voice, get her daddy’s hugs again, or see the million dollar smile that her daddy gave everyone he met, but the biggest smile of all that just lit up his whole face, he saved for his little princess. This little girl will not have her daddy to cheer her on when she graduates from college and she will not have her proud daddy walking her down the aisle.
Elizabeth, we love you so very much and we who knew your daddy will make sure that your memory of him does not grow dim and we will always make sure that you always know that you were one loved and cherished daddy’s little girl.