March 19th

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March 19th.

I hate that day. I despise it.

March 19th, 2014. My mother passed away from cancer. It was a quick and pretty unexpected death.

March 19th, 2015. My father committed suicide a year after my mother's passing because he couldn't bare living without her. He was battling severe depression.

~~

I woke up to soft music playing downstairs. I assumed my brothers were in the kitchen making waffles, as they always did on this day. They never woke me up. We all skipped school and work.

I trudged my way downstairs, hurting so deeply on the inside but trying to be as positive as possible.

I knew I wasn't the only one having a hard day. We all missed them so immensely. It was so hard.

"Good morning guys," I said softly, giving them a smile and joining them at the table.

"Morning, kiddo. Take some waffles," Dylan said, passing me a plate.

We had small conversations during the meal, but we were all preoccupied. As we were finishing up, I decided to try to cheer them up.

"I love you guys," I said out of nowhere.

They all smiled and even though it was a small and seemingly meaningless gesture, it lightened the mood a little bit.

"We love you too, babykins," Ben replied back to me.

We finished up breakfast and piled into the car. We always went to the beach, no matter how cold it was, to take a long walk. It was one of my mom's favorite things to do with our family and we always did it to honor our parents.

They were our heroes.

We arrived to the beach and began to walk. We always walked in the same formation. Ryan and I ahead of everyone, picking up cool shells and doing occasional cartwheels in the sand. Ben and Dylan walked somewhat further behind us, and Jackson distanced himself behind Ben and Dylan. It had been like this since we were kids.

As we were walking, we found some really cool shells. It was the perfect weather, warm but breezy. I knew our parents were there with us. In spirit.

I looked back and saw Jackson walking further back than he usually did, his eyes not lifting from the ground and his head hanging a little low.

I told Ryan I would be back and I made my way back to Jackson. He looked up when he saw I was there.

"Hey kid, you okay?" He asked, trying to put on his masculine and tough act.

I saw right through it.

I grabbed his hand and stopped walking, making him stop walking too.

"It's gonna be okay, bubba. You're doing a great job raising us. Mom and Dad are so proud of you. You aren't alone in this life. We can get through it. Together. As a family. I love you," I assured him.

He didn't respond. Instead, his eyes slightly filled with tears, not breaking eye contact with me. I knew he didn't want to cry.

"That means so much to me. I love you too," He said, his voice slightly shaking. He held out his arms for a hug and he embraced me in the biggest bear hug ever. He lifted me up on his back for a piggy back ride and we caught up with the rest.

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