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Everything changed for me when I was six. I remember sitting still in front of the television (like nine million other American children that day), glued to the screen, watching Sesame Street. My three little sisters, Lilly, Nicole, and Jenna were napping upstairs. If I knew how to swear as a little girl I would have said, ‘what the hell was that?’ The bang was so loud, I couldn’t possibly ignore it. Pulling myself from Big Bird, with my eyes still on the set, I slowly wandered to my parent’s bedroom. As a child, or an adult for that matter, I would never have known that turning that door knob would turn my life upside down and forever change whatever path I was supposed to be (or should have been) on. I stood frozen at the door, wondering how all that blood would get cleaned up. What I really remember, was the full-size mirror mounted over their dresser. Blood, so much bright red blood—the brightest thing in the dimly lit room. I didn’t move. I didn’t even budge when I looked through the bloody mirror and could see my dad, just lying there, oozing in all that blood. I did move however, when I heard the screen door bang shut as Mom, who was only 28 with four daughters under the age of six, flew past me as she fled our house (a memory that she still doesn’t have today). It’s amazing how ones’ senses can be so strong and vivid when linked to memories: the sound of the gun, the sight of the blood, the bang of the screen door, the noise of the ambulance, the hysterics of Mom. All of it forever embedded in my mind. Even today, I can’t forget these memories or the visuals and sounds associated with them. My counselor keeps reminding me that we need to work through these things—and naturally, many other issues as well. Du... ... middle of paper ... ..., lock it, and never remember it. Mom bottled her anger, sadness, guilt, fear, and pain somewhere deep inside her soul. For her to move on she had to put that chapter of her life, along with the suffering of that cold March day, inside a vault—then she surrounded the steel structure with a stone wall, and buried it. My guess is that she didn’t have a clue where she put the key—but the key didn’t matter; because she would never use it or go there again. But even with her strength and determination cracks began to appear in the façade. That can happen over time. That’s it, that’s everything I remember from that awful, dreadful, day. Oh, and somehow I realized that Dad was gone—not that I fully comprehended what that meant. It wasn’t until later, much later, did I realize, that in that moment that he took his own life, my dad had also taken my childhood with him.

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