"I think it's so important to allow yourself to be naked to the world sometimes,
because you really never know who you could be inspiring. All I want is for people
to know that whatever they may be going through, they're not alone."
Thank you for sharing your story Heather.
Read more on life, adventures, and green living at freeastheflowers.com
Three years ago today, on April 26th, 2013, around 8am,
I was woken up with a phone call that most people would consider a nightmare.
It was a few days after my second surgery. Not even five weeks earlier, I had gone in for my first surgery to remove endometriosis and scar tissue from my female organs. The second time around was a little more complex. During the first surgery, they found my fallopian tubes were completely closed up and filled with fluid, my appendix was filling up, I had scar tissue and endometriosis up in to my rib cage, and my right ovary was embedded in my side wall. The doctor didn’t touch any of the major things until I had a chance to think about what I wanted to do.
I remember coming out of that first surgery with both of my parents in tears. Being fresh out of surgery, I was pretty loopy but couldn’t understand why they were crying. My mom explained to me that without my fallopian tubes, I wouldn’t be able to conceive naturally. It was hard to hear, but after some time to think, I realized that this was the universe’s plan for me, and that everything would work out the way it should. Knowing that my fallopian tubes were completely closed up, I still had other options to carry children some day. I knew that in vitro fertilization might work, and if that didn’t work then surrogacy was my next option, with adopting after that. I’ve always known I wanted kids, I just didn’t expect it to go like this.
Which brings me to the second surgery. This time around, they removed both of my fallopian tubes, more endometriosis, more scar tissue, my appendix, pulled my right ovary out of my side wall, and removed half of that right ovary.
After, we all went back to my boyfriend at the time’s house (for privacy we’ll call him James). I had a pretty good recovery support team. My mom helped with cooking and dishes, and Ken, my dad, kept me company on the couch. I’ll never forget how hard he was laughing at the movie Ted, and falling asleep to some random series about people in the military.
My ex’s dad had passed the summer before, and we had pictures of him hanging on the wall. I specifically remember my dad staring at his photos, shaking his head, and saying out loud, “wow…they take em too young don’t they?”
To give a little history and understanding here, I refer to my dad as Ken. Here’s why. My mom and biological dad (for privacy we’ll call him Steve) separated when I was a baby. I didn’t get in contact with Steve until I was about 15 years old when I spoke to him on the phone for the first time, and I didn’t get to meet him in person until I was about 16. I was never forced or told to call Ken, “Dad.” Ken and my mom had been together since I was about two years old. He was my dad. He was there to teach me how to ride a bike, he was there for bumps, bruises, illnesses, learning how to read and write, helping me with homework, putting up with the hell of teenage years, through new boyfriends and heart breaks, for groundings, and as I got older, he was my best friend. He was always there with open arms to give me a big hug when I needed someone to talk to. My dad…Ken.
This brings me back to April 26, 2013. I’m sound asleep still fresh out of recovery from surgery. My iPhone is on do not disturb mode, and in order to ring through do not disturb mode, you have to call a person two or three times to get the phone to vibrate or ring. I answered to James calling from work, sounding very upset. He asked me, “have you spoken to your mom?” I said, “no, I’ve been sleeping…what’s going on?” He responded with, “you need to hear it from your mom. You need to call her. I’m on my way home.” I could tell he was upset about something, and it scared me. I continued to ask what was wrong, begging him to tell me, but he refused to say anything and made it very clear that I needed to call my mom immediately.
I hung up the phone with James and called my mom. My mom picks up the phone, hardly able to speak through tears, and was able to finally get these words out, “Ken was in a motorcycle accident, and he didn’t make it.”
My heart…stopped. I responded with, “No. No he didn’t,” before breaking out in tears, and feeling as if my whole world had shattered from beneath me. James had just walked in the front door as i collapsed to the ground, curled up in a ball, sobbing.
James and I lived about a half hour from my mom’s house, but I knew I needed to get to her. I got dressed, we got in the car and headed out to her place.
I remember the drive there. Everything was in slow motion. The world seemed so quiet and empty, as if Ken’s absence from this world left us with nothing at all.
Once we got to my mom’s house, I wanted to know everything. Why? How? When? I wanted explanations for it all as if knowing would help bring him back.
I remember at this point getting really mad. I couldn’t control any emotions. I wanted to blame everyone but Ken for what had happened. We learned that his accident happened the day before. It was on a Friday, this day was Saturday, and I remember being so mad that a family member knew it had happened, but failed to call us until the next day because they didn’t want to wake us in the middle of the night with this news. Why? Why wouldn’t you call his daughter with something like this right away? But that wouldn’t bring him back. The point was, he was gone.
I had just spoken to Ken over text on that same day of his accident, on April 26th. I was telling him how much pain I was still in from surgery, in which (naturally) he responded with something sarcastic, and when his last text came through at 1:59 pm, I wish I had known that would be the last time I’d hear from him. I would have responded, I would have texted him back, I would have told him I loved him.
Ken went to a little restaurant that afternoon…it was one of his favorite places to go for cold beers and fresh air. He got a call from a friend who asked if he wanted to go for a quick ride up highway 21. I believe his friend had gotten a new bike and wanted to take it for a quick little trip with Ken. Ken never turned down a ride. He loved to go places on his dual sport.
As they came back down toward Ken’s house, not even a mile away from home, he went off the road and hit a basketball sized boulder, which caused him to lose control of his bike and separated him from his bike.
I’ve replayed this over and over and over and over again in my head. I’ve created scenarios where the boulder wasn’t there. Ken was an experienced enough rider that had that damn rock not been there, he could have brought the bike back to the road, and he’d still be there. But because that rock was there, and he hit it at about 80mph, even if he had been wearing a helmet, it wouldn’t have saved his life.
He passed instantly. I’m thankful that he went doing something he loved, I’m thankful he went quick and didn’t have to suffer, and I’m thankful he had two friends there with him that, no matter how hard I’m sure it was for them to see; I’m so glad they were there by his side, and he wasn’t alone.
My dad was an incredible person. He was a hard worker, he would always help someone who needed it without asking for anything in return. He was funny, he gave the best hugs, his smile was contagious, and he was the best dad. I’ll never forget the hugs he gave me. He’d smell the top of my head while I was wrapped in his arms and always said, “you still smell like the Heather when you were a little girl.”
He loved fishing, camping, riding 4-wheelers, and seeing new places on his BMW dual sport. Some of the best memories I have of him are camping and fishing. When I was younger, we were always exploring and camping. Even as I got older, him and I would meet up by the river to fish, drink beers, and talk about life.
Three years already and it’s still hard to comprehend. It still feels like it happened just a week ago. People told me it would get easier as time passed, but every year on the anniversary of his accident, it still feels just as fresh as it was the day I found out.
When you lose someone you love, especially unexpectedly, it’s one of the hardest things a person can handle. I miss him every day. Talon (my fiancé) does things every day that remind me of my dad. Little memories around town that get me thinking about him. Everyone has their own grieving process, and there’s no right or wrong way to do it.
Today we plan to spend remembering Ken and the truly amazing person he was. There will be tears (I’ve cried through most of this while writing), there will be laughter, there will be drinking, there will be a celebration of his life with the people who loved him just as much as I did.
Hold your loved ones close to you. Remember that this one life that we get is very fragile. Tell people you love them, give them hugs, keep in contact with them. You literally never know when it may be the last time you speak to them.
To all my readers…I love each and every one of you.
To Ken…I love you, I miss you so much. Until we meet again…