I once read a book that really reminded me about my own life. The father of the main character, a girl called Macy, had died from a stroke. Macy’s father had woken her up early so that they could run together, but Macy had stayed in bed for a few minutes before deciding to go with him. Her father was already outside and when Macy started running she found him on the ground with a stranger trying to help him, but he died anyway. Macy kept blaming herself for not waking up earlier and I guess I keep blaming myself too.
The day my dad died we were in the same camping place my parents had met each other. We always went there for at least a few days every summer, but this summer my mother wasn’t with us. It was just my dad and me. Once we arrived I saw my friends and we were all really happy and excited to see each other again, so when my dad asked me if I wanted to go to the beach with him I chose to stay with my friends.
Throughout my seventeen years, this is the decision I regret the most. At the time it seemed like the question he was asking was irrelevant, it seemed like the choice between going and staying wouldn’t make much of a difference. But sometimes it’s those tiny details that make the biggest difference. How could I have known that I had chosen to stay with the friends I hadn’t seen for a while instead of going with my dad whom I would never see again?
So my dad went to the beach and I went with my friends. I got thirsty after a while and left my friends to get Ice Tea from our caravan. This was another detail that made a huge difference, but I couldn’t have known that now I would have to face the greatest shock of my life all by myself. After I got the drink I wanted to go back to my friends, but just by the swimming pool there was a man lying on the ground and another one trying to help…
I saw that the man lying on the ground was my dad, but it was a fact that I couldn’t admit to myself. As the crowd got thicker around him I started convincing myself that it was someone else, that there was no way that this was my dad. To be honest I even convinced myself and to this day I cannot recall the actual appearance of the person lying on the ground. I’m sure that I saw him, but I guess it’s an image I have blocked out.
Even though I had convinced myself that my dad wasn’t the man lying in the middle of the crowd I was crying and panicking, but only after my friend came to my side to assure me that my dad would be alright, I knew that it was him. It still didn’t feel real and I went all the way to the beach instead of getting into the crowd and actually taking a look.
So I guess I never really saw my dad dead because I blocked out the image and I never went to look at his dead body in the hospital and this was probably a good decision because my dad was the most lively person I know and not someone I could ever imagine dying. My last memory of him would be my real dad and not just his dead body.
In the end I’m still regretting the fact that I didn’t go to the beach with him. I just didn’t know how little time we had left… You can never know how much time you have left with someone and you can never guess which decisions might become the ones you regret the most. Nothing lasts forever and that’s one of the reasons I try to never walk away from the people I care about before making up after a fight. When my dad died, I might not have spent his last moments with him, but he knew that I love him