WARNING - TISSUES MAY BE NECESSARY
Not by me, but by my 11 year old cousin Jennifer.
As many of you know, my cousin Michelle lost her hubby in the line of duty 5 years ago. Recently, she rode 300+ miles from East Hanover, NJ to Washington DC on the "Police Unity Tour" and raised over $5,000 for care of the memorial in DC that has Mike's name on it. The ride went into DC to mark the begginning of police week 2 weeks ago.
As you can imagine, life has not been the same - the girls were 9 and 7 when they lost Mike. Below is Jenn's award winning essay in the Solano County Reading Association's Annual writing contest.
My mom sat on the couch and cried as she remembered my father. My dad was a good man with a big heart for his family. My family always went to church, dinner, and on vacation together. We were close and loved each other.One New Year's Day when we were camping in our trailer, my sister and I were awakened by my tear-eyed mom saying she needed to tell us some news. I had a feeling something was wrong when my grandparents sat at the table in tears.
I thought my dad must have been in the hospital since my grandparents had made the two hour trip during the night. As we sat on the couch, my mother announced the tragic incident that occurred the night before. She told us that as my dad helped a driver stuck in the mud on Hghway 17, setting out flares and calling CalTrans for backup, a speeding driver crashed into the back of the CalTrans truck. The truck then rolled forward into my father, causing internal organ injuries. She said he lay there until an ambulance came, hoping to rescue him, but unfortunately God had already taken him to Heaven. Later that morning, policie officers came to bring my family and me to our home.
Since that day, I have felt like my time with my dad was cut short. I felt sadness and a piece of my happiness had vanished. My heart knew he was gone and in Heaven , but my mind doubted he was actually gone. Ever since that day I have felt jealous of other peoples' dads but now I know to be happy for others and to realize how special my father still is to me. On the day we went to the funeral home to say goodbye, I remember kissing him and breaking into tears because I wanted him to respond to me when I said good bye.
I learned to lived for the moment because you never know how long you have left. I know now, you need to tell someone you love them when you feel the need and I would tell anyone who lost a parent that it takes time to recover and not to constantly cry. I feel blessed to know my dad is in Heaven with God and I will see him again. Although it was hard to realize it at the time, I know God did this for a purpose and one day I may come to realize why God took my dad from me. Until then, I will wait and treasure my memories.
- Jennifer Walker, April 2010, Age 11