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  • I was 11 years old. It was Memorial Day Weekend and I had gone camping with my brother, sister, her daughter, and her boyfriend. It had been a wonderful weekend, full of campfires, swimming, and playing. We began packing up to head home. We'd been out of contact with the rest of our family all weekend. Cell phone service wasn't that great in 2003. We ran into a parade on our way back, with all the floats throwing candy to the crowd. After collecting a bag of candy, we continued on our way and as we came back into the cell phone range, my sister called home to tell them we were on our way. It was a short conversation but when she hung up, she was crying. She told us the news when we had stopped to fill up the truck. Two words that have haunted me since. "Dad's dead." I was numb. I stared out the window, willing myself not to cry with no avail. The tears flowed steadily but quietly. We reached home and I couldn't stand being in the house. There were too many people, none of them the one I wanted to see the most. I walked alone through my neighborhood until night fell. Then I sat in my daddy's room, in the rocking chair, listening to music while staring at his bed. My mom just watched me from the doorway every now and then. There was no comforting me.
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