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My father died when I was 13 and I'm still grieving

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My father was a very unique person. He was practically a child in a 49 year old mans body. He was from The Bronx, New York. He was in Alcoholics Anonymous, 3 years clean. He possessed all kinds of knick knacks that you could think. Vending machines, pinball machines, all types of movie props. Our house was almost like a carnival. And as his only son, he decided to name me after him.

My parents got divorced 8 years prior to his death. I have a half brother on my mom's side, and my sister who is currently 19 and lives with me now. I was used to having one parent along my side the majority of the time. I had many ordeals with my step-dad and mother. She was not mentally stable and my sister was causing many hardships as a teen. All of these events in my short 10 year life provoked me to leave Jupiter, Florida and reside in fabulous Boca Raton, Florida. 

My father was a wealthy man, he had a high variety of vehicles, including a Ferrari, which he cherished. For a year, it was just my dad and I. It was the best year of my life. We always went on vacation together, football games, and had a blast. He did indeed spoil me, but that's not the reason why I loved him. All of my friends were so jealous of my father because of his personality. Many of them told me that he was almost like a second dad. 

In late 2011, my sister moved in after my step-dad went to prison for 3 years. My mom lost everything and moved to Miami with my Grandma. Up until my dad passed away, she lived there. My dad and my sister didn't have as close of a relationship as I did with him most likely because she saw more of the abuse that happened to my mom during the years heading into the divorce. But as the months went on, she moved on from it. 

My dad began to date a girl that he knew for over 25 years. She had a daughter that was a year older than me. I really enjoyed when they came over, which was very often because I was able to hang out with someone. 

In August 2012, school was starting. I was starting 8th grade. Little be known that my father would die in a car accident a month later. My birthday was August 24th. My dad died September 24th. So here's where the actual story starts. My dad wanted me to go to a Dolphins vs Jets game with his friends on Sunday, September 23rd. I was going to go, but then I overslept and ended up not going. The rest of the day went normal. 

The next day, the day that changed my life forever, started off pretty ordinary. Woke up for school, brushed my teeth and went to school. My dad was very angry that morning because one of the dogs managed to get out of his crate and defecated in the living room. I told my dad I love you and see you later. The day went on and my dad texted me about an hour before he crashed telling me about my new schedule that I'll have Tuesday at school. This was at around 2:00 P.M. He crashed at 3:09 P.M. I know this because the watch he was wearing was impacted so severely, that the time essentially froze. When the day was over, my sister picked me up. It wasn't unusual for my sister to pick me up because my dad was very busy. I came home and the internet wasn't working. I called up our service provider and they told me I had to get my dad on the line. I proceeded to call him three times with no answer. I presumed he was still working or whatever he normally was doing.

My sister left the house to go to her friends and I was alone at the house. I was watching the Monday Night Football game between the Seahawks and Packers. I lived one house down from the guard gate in my neighborhood, so I can see all of the cars that come in. Except this was very odd. There were six or seven cop cars that were lined up at the gate. I just stared out my window watching what was going on for five minutes or so, when they started rolling into my neighborhood. They all parked right in my driveway and along the road. My heart instantly sank. All sorts of thoughts were rolling through my head. Is my dad in jail? Did he get shot? Did my sister do something? I immediately called my dad. Of course, no answer. I called him 10 times before I called his girlfriend. She lived about 20 minutes away and got to my house within 10. I went downstairs into the living room waiting for her to come, when my mom calls me. I despised my mom at the time so I didn't answer the first two times she called me. But when I finally answered, she kept telling me to open the door. By my defiance towards her I kept telling her no and asking why. My dad would never let her in his house so I refused until a police officer ordered me to open the door. I finally complied and a horde of policemen raided my home and went in every sector of the house. She then sat me down on the couch and told me what happened. I instantaneously broke into tears. I couldn't believe it. The strongest man I knew died in a car accident. In a f***ing car accident. Of all things? I would've believed he had a heart attack, or even got shot before I ever thought he crashed a car. I went upstairs to get my phone and two policemen escorted me up, maybe because they thought I was going to commit suicide or I don't know. I called my two best friends and let them know what happened. I stayed at one of their houses for the following two weeks after that day. 

My dads girlfriend arrived shortly after I got the news. She was frantically asking so many questions. One of the policemen told her the news. She literally fell to the floor sobbing in disbelief. My mother ordered me to call my sister because she was still at her friends. I kept telling her to come home and she said no repeatedly until I had my mom tell her. My sister got home within five minutes. Everybody took the news horribly.

Now, 37 months and 19 days I still have days that it feels like yesterday, and other days that it feels like 10 years had gone by. I have very vivid dreams of him often. Every time I wake up from them it just reminds me that I'll never see him again. The feeling I get the most is anger because the way he died was preventable and I feel guilt for not going to the game with him the day before. Also, I always think of scenarios that I could've prevented it or helped save his life. When I visit one of my friends that lived in the same neighborhood as I used to, I pretend that he's still alive. I have a recording on my phone of him yelling at my sister that I took as a joke and I watch it almost every day just so I can hear his voice again. Other times, I feel like that this whole thing is a lie and he's just going to come home and act like it was a prank. Sometimes, I feel like I'll see him in public and if I make eye contact with him, he'll dart away because he faked his death. There are so many of these odd feelings I get that I can't possibly list them all. But I just wish that he was sick or I didn't go to school that day. 

I'm also an atheist so it hurts me most knowing I'll never see him again because I don't think there's an afterlife. I hate when people say "you're so strong" because in reality, I'm not. I think about him every hour of every day. I especially despise when people say that "he's so proud of you right now" and "he's in a better place," because I don't believe in all of that. When people ask about my parents I immediately tell them about my mom and then they say the dreaded words, "and your dad?" I hesitate for a second because I hate the expression on everybody's face when I tell them he's dead. Then here comes the "I'm so sorry for your loss," "How did he die," "If you ever need anything I'm always here." It's a weird thing to say, but I like meeting people who have a dead parent because I know exactly how they feel and I can talk to them about it and relate 100% with them. When someone tells me that their parent died I don't ever tell them all of the cliche responses to that statement.

Paul Marino Sr. 5/9/63-9/24/12 

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I am so sorry...it's hard to lose someone you're so close to, esp. unexpectedly.  I lost my husband unexpectedly, we'd only been married 3 years, 8 months, we were supposed to grow old together.

It feels like you're frozen in time to that day, that minute, you remember everything about it with acute detail.

You don't have to be a religious person to believe in afterlife.  Energy doesn't die, it just changes form, I believe wholeheartedly they live on, just without their bodies, I hope you can receive some comfort from that, if not now, someday.

You are right, someone who has been through it understands, you can't unless you have been there.

It does help to express wht you're feeling, your experiences, at least it does me.

I hope you'll read some of the other posts so you know you aren't alone.

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  • 3 weeks later...


I lost my Mother when I was 15, so just like you say, I know how it feels to lose a parent young - in my circumstance, it wasn't sudden.

I too hate the expression on people's faces when you tell them one of your parents is dead. In my case, one of mine is dead and my Dad hasn't spoken to me since i was 9. 

I just wanted to say one thing, you will never get over losing your Dad. You will think about him all the time, and as with any close death, I think we all just learn to live with it each in our own ways. Some of us choose to talk about them a lot and share memories, where some of us keep it quiet. I hope it gets a bit easier for you, and I'm sorry that you had to deal with this at a young age.

Take care!

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