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  • With summer heat comes much fun: pool parties, movie nights, staying up late, being lazy. I was definitely expecting a fun-filled three months of volleyball practice in the morning, sunbathing and swimming in the afternoon, and hanging out with friends the rest of the time. Plus the four volleyball camps I signed up for, I was bound to have a summer to remember. Right?

    Wrong. Sure, this summer has been memorable, but not in a good, "let's relive these nights over and over" kind of way. Why, you ask?

    Because my fun was abruptly put to a halt on June 23, 2009. Or a couple days after, actually.

    My parents are the kind of people who try to build four cute little walls around me whenever anything remotely bad happens. They hide everything. They'll kick me out of the house for an evening, if necessary, in order to continue Mission Shelter the Kids From All Worldly Problems.

    Which is why I wasn't surprised when the discontinuation of my summer fun happened two days after it really should have. My parents needed a couple days to make some arrangements, figure out how to break the news, blah blah blah.

    My bowl of Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream suddenly turned sour when I heard the five words my dad said on Thursday, June 25.

    "Girls, we need to talk."

    Oh man, oh man, I thought. "We need to talk" is never good news.

    "Remember how sick Tony was when he was in Pueblo? Well, we think he was that sick when he went home. We're afraid your brother had an attack and died on Tuesday."

    From that very moment on, my world was shaken, not stirred, and rolled upside down. The Earth stopped spinning on its axis. The birds stopped chirping (it was already dark outside, but you get the point) and Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream was never quite the same.

    The next morning, I was forced to board the Car to Hell, destination: Anderson, California. The two and a half days of driving through Wyoming, Nevada, and Utah were mostly spent with my Zune blasting KJ-52 or asleep. It was a miserable drive for the five of us seated in my mom's Honda. Through the whole trip, actually, I felt as though I was trapped within the boundaries on confinement.

    We spent the majority of the time in California cooped up in the cozy two-bed, two-bath house my brother lived in with his landlord, Sandi. Being in the very house--the very room even, the kitchen--where Tony died added even more to the depressing mood, the tension, the overall blehh-ness of the trip. The first night we got there, we started looking through his belongings, mainly his photos, cards, letters, and documents. This, of course, brought on some reminiscing and story-telling. I was very grateful for the pictures I found of me and Tony, and I instantly cherished them. For the rest of our stay in California, we did some more of this, but add in laundry, cleaning, and sorting. I would go into more detail of the week, but I'll spare you. I was extremely depressed and apathetic the entire time, and you would not have fun reading about it.

    By Thursday, July 3, my mom, my sisters, and I were convinced there was no more we could help with. The rest was to be handled by my dad. So on Friday morning we set off for home. My memory of those two days of driving is quite blurry and mixed up; I felt pretty out of it. We arrived home on Independence Day. Funny, because I was finally at home, which felt pretty free.

    I wish I could say this experience molded me into a better person or inspired me to do something awesome, but I'm afraid none of that occurred. I'm still learning how to cope with the loss of one of my favorite men in the world. It's definitely a day-by-day process, and I'm getting a little more back to myself everyday.
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