This week for our Remembe(red) prompt at Write On Edge, we were asked to explore our worst memory. What was it? How did it affect us? What would we have done differently, if anything?
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I have dealt with my fair share of tragedy and trauma in my childhood. The final blow was Hurricane Andrew, which has caused me to “forget” much of my childhood. I often have trouble recalling ordinary details from my youth, remembering mainly very traumatic events.
I reached deep within myself, searching for a memory that, whilst being honest, was appropriate to share with the world.
This is what I found…
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On a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in July of 1990, I jumped out of the shower and began getting dressed. I was incredibly excited, as I was about to attend a New Kids on The Block concert with my cousin for her birthday. I was obsessed with NKOTB.
Don’t judge me, I was 13. It was 1990.
My mother knocked on the bathroom door and called my name.
I heard it in her voice immediately. Her voice trembled. In my mind’s eye, I could see her leaning against the door frame, her eyes closed, trying to hold it together.
She didn’t want to scare me.
I came out of the bathroom and I saw it on her face.
“Your father was in an accident.” She started, and then began crying.
I don’t really remember what happened after that. She didn’t tell me, or my 2 sisters, how bad it was. All we knew was that he had been hit by a car while on his motorcycle, and was in the hospital.
It was decided that I would still go to the concert so that she could go to the hospital and see him.
He was in the intensive care unit. Being 13, I didn’t really know what that was.
I went to the concert. Not knowing how serious his injuries were, I actually enjoyed the concert. It was fantastic! I remember it to this day. Singing along, jumping up and down with my cousin…sleeping over her house that night, staying awake late into the night talking about how cute Jordan Knight was…
In the morning, my uncle took me home and my aunt was there to pick us up. When I saw her face, I knew that things were more serious than my mother let on. My aunt lived in North Carolina. She had driven through the night with my uncle to see my father in the hospital.
People don’t drive through 4 states in the middle of the night for say hi.
My sisters and I were sent to North Carolina with my aunt to stay with her and my grandparents while my father recovered.
We were never taken to see him in the hospital. I don’t recall being able to talk to him on the phone.
After a few weeks, we were sent home to start school..and my father was home.
I have always regretted not being able to see my father while he was in the hospital.
As I grew older, I began to understand how serious his injuries were – collapsed lung, broken sternum, broken ribs…as he told the story over and over throughout the years, I slowly came to the realization that he almost died in that accident.
He could have died, and I wouldn’t have been able to say goodbye.