Remembering March 3, 1999: Twenty Years Later #63

Wednesday March 3, 1999 is a day that is forever engraved in my mind. I was 16 years old, a junior in high school, who never thought about how life can change instantly until that day twenty years ago. It was the week before Spring Break and just like every other person in their junior year in high school I was anticipating being out of school for an entire week. The school day ended at 3:30pm everyday and most days my daddy and little brother were either parked right in front of the school or in the back parking lot waiting on me to come out of the building. On that day when I walked out of the building I was expecting them to be waiting on me as usual, but that’s not what happened. It had been a great day at school, so I was in a good mood, but the afternoon took an unexpected extremely tragic downward turn.

I didn’t want to stay outside waiting so I went back in the building and set down to wait, thinking to myself “Daddy must’ve gotten held up doing something that prevented him from being on time to pick me up as he usually is.” Never once did I think something is going to happen in the next few minutes that will change my life forever. I can’t tell you how long I set there waiting; looking back on that day it seemed like I was waiting for a long time, but it was probably only a few minutes. After that few minutes of waiting, wondering what’s taking them so long to get here, suddenly my brother came into the building looking sad like something was wrong. I never expected to hear the words “Daddy fainted” come out of my brother’s mouth, but that’s what happened. There I was a sixteen year old girl just anticipating Spring Break like everyone else my age, thinking that it was just a typical Wednesday, but the next few hours after my brother spoke the words “Daddy fainted” turned Wednesday March 3, 1999 into the worst day of my life.

My brother and I ran out to the car and I remember being in disbelief but not immediately going into a state of full panic. The image that we saw is literally forever etched into my mind. I won’t go into full detail, but just know that it was an image and situation that no children should have to live with seeing their father in. The minutes after that are somewhat blurry to me after twenty years, all I know is that those minutes involved getting in the car with my Aunt Sonja, following an ambulance to the hospital and calling my mother at work to inform her of the situation still not in panic mode saying “Daddy wasn’t breathing.” You see, at that time I don’t think that I had considered the possibility of my daddy not pulling through whatever caused him to faint. At that point we didn’t know that he’d had a massive heart attack. It wasn’t until we got to the hospital that the possibility of death hit me, but I pushed the thought away. I knew that whatever was wrong with daddy it was something awfully bad, because when we arrived in the emergency room at the hospital I vividly remember someone coming to unlock what’s called the prayer room (a small waiting room for families of critical patients), that’s when I got very scared but again I pushed the thought of Daddy dying away from my mind. My brother, our aunt and I set in that room and waited on my mother to get there.

Once my mother arrived at the hospital, she was allowed to go into the area where the doctors and nurses were working on Daddy, I’m sure they were trying their absolute best to revive him. After seeing Momma’s reaction once she was sitting in the prayer room (waiting room) I still don’t remember panicking, because I thought for sure Daddy is going to be fine. During the time of what felt like an eternity of sitting in the waiting room watching the minutes go by I thought to myself “ok this has to be a nightmare that I’m going to wake up from soon.” I remember going outside because I just needed to get some air when I walked back into the hospital the nightmare that I was living got worse when I heard the words “your daddy didn’t make it.” I’ve had several surgeries and experienced a lot of physical pain in my life, but I’ve never felt pain like that before that day. I can remember screaming “no that’s not true!” and falling down on my momma in tears like I’ve never cried before. I just couldn’t believe Daddy was gone.

He had been so happy and joyful earlier that day. I thought something wasn’t right, the doctors were wrong my daddy couldn’t be gone, that’s just not possible, not my daddy. He was supposed to live beyond 51 years.

For a long time after Daddy’s death, I remember feeling like if I had done something different he might not have died, if I had been able to much more accurately answer the questions that the paramedics were asking me about Daddy’s medical history and the medications he was taking, maybe something could’ve been done to keep him alive.

Now twenty years later, I realize that there was absolutely nothing I could’ve done, because Wednesday March 3, 1999 was my daddy’s pre-planned by God date to leave this side of life. I write about Daddy very often on my blog so if you read it regularly then you know how tremendous my love for my daddy will always be and how much I loved being his daughter. It probably seems strange and I’ve never thought about it until this very moment sitting in my quiet space twenty years later writing about that day, but I realize that I’m somewhat grateful for experiencing some of the events of those few hours until Daddy was pronounced deceased, at a young age because now at a few months from 37 I think about life in a completely different way from how I did on that day twenty years ago at 16 years old. I’m much more thankful/grateful for all of my loved ones and I value the time I get to spend with them on this side of life, because I now realize that there is no truer saying than “we aren’t promised tomorrow.”

There is literally not a moment that goes by without thoughts of my daddy and I treasure the sixteen years that God allowed us to be father & daughter on this side of life. I pray that God deems me someone worthy of going to a place where I will see my daddy again when my earthly journey is complete.

Written In Memory Of My Daddy,

Tee McReaver Taylor, Sr.

An awesome son, brother, husband, father, uncle & friend who is forever loved and unbelievably missed

December 12, 1947-March 3, 1999

That’s just my perspective!💜

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My Heaven Sent Pre-Planned Second Father #62

One perspective that I have come to live by is that you should give people their flowers while they live. I think we should always let people know the good things that we see in them and feel for them. I guess that’s one reason why I write about my family so much. They’re the people I love and care for most in this world and I want them and the rest of the world to know just how I feel about them, so I use this blog as my venue to express my infinite love for the people in my life who I know always have my back, front & sides no matter what the situation may be.

On the eve of the date that marks 20 years since my father had to leave this side of life, because he was called to his eternal home. I want to tell you all about the man I fondly call my second daddy, my awesome godfather, Joe H. Smith.

I’ve never questioned either of my parents about why they chose Joe as my godfather, I guess I always thought that it was because of their lifelong friendship with him. Joe has never in almost 37 years given me a reason to question his role/place in my life or his love for me. I always like to say that God had already pre-planned my life on the day of my birth God knew that he would call my daddy back to him sixteen years later so from day one of my life God placed Joe there, because he knew that Joe would be the absolute perfect man to fulfill the void of a father figure in my life when Daddy had to leave us. As a matter of fact although my daddy’s death did leave a large hole in my heart I have never felt the lack of a father figure, because I’ve always had Joe in my life. I literally cannot remember a time in my life when my godfather wasn’t there, he’s been there for all of my good days and my bad. He’s been there for birthdays, graduations, countless visits in the hospital after all my surgeries or illnesses & every other major or minor event in my life. All of my fondest memories of time spent with my family include Joe. You see, my Aunt Zel who I expressed my love for in perspective #12 and my God-daddy Joe have been a couple for as long as I can remember, that’s how amazing God is to me, he put two of his best angels on Earth together in love and placed them in my life to love me.

Since Daddy left this life Joe has truly been there for my mother, my brother and I in countless ways. Being that I am such an emotional crybaby when it comes to verbalizing my feelings, I’m not sure that I have ever really expressed to my godfather just what his constant presence in my life means to me. I could never completely accurately express the love, admiration and gratitude that I feel for Joe without shedding tears, just thinking about what he means to me while writing this post has made those feelings fall from my eyes in the form of tears.

In the last 20 years Joe has been there for me in ways that as my godfather he really wasn’t obligated to be. I always know that if I need a compassionate listening ear or a strong shoulder to let the tears fall on when the load of missing my daddy gets too heavy to carry all I have to do is dial Joe’s number and no matter what’s going on in his life, Joe will listen to me, say something in the comical way that only he can and help me to feel better. Just being in Joe’s presence always makes smile and feel like he loves me as if I were his own daughter. To be honest with you, godfather seems like such a completely inadequate word to describe his role in my life, because he’s really so much more than that to me. Joe is someone who I thank God for in my prayers as often as I possibly can. He is definitely one of those people who will always have his own very special pocket in my heart where all that he means to me will be kept until my dying hour. My God-daddy is one of the kindest, most generous, fun-loving, humorous and loving people I know, he’s a man I feel blessed beyond any unit of measurement to call not only my godfather but my second father. I am honored to know him and to be one of his god-daughters.

That’s just my perspective!💜