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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