On Friday, October 23, 2015, Homecoming weekend, I was enjoying my last homecoming before graduation and reminiscing with some close friends about previous homecomings between our freshman year and now. What great memories we have. We stayed up late and found ourselves at Casey’s General Store, the only place to find food, at two a.m. in North Manchester, Indiana. We ordered sausage pizza and popcorn chicken and were having a great time making more memories that we could talk about in the future. Once we left Casey’s, we all went our separate ways; some back to dorms and others back to their off-campus apartments.
When I finally got to my room, it was about 2:45 a.m. I was exhausted and had an early morning commitment as a DJ for our homecoming football game at 9:00 a.m.
Approximately 7:30 a.m., I received a call from my auntie. Being an hour behind North Manchester, Indiana, it was 6:30 a.m. back home in Chicago. Since I had to be up soon and was so enjoying my sleep, I let the call go to voicemail, but my auntie did not leave a message.
I did not pay attention; maybe she was just calling to check on me on her way to work. However, 30 minutes later, I received a call from my brother. I answered this call because I became concerned about why my family was trying to contact me so early.
I felt worried and when I heard my brother’s voice I instantly knew something was wrong and asked, what’s going on? Is everything okay?
In a very distressed voice, he told me that dad had been rushed to the hospital. My brother said the situation was serious, and my entire family was at the hospital. Dad had been battling cancer for months now. I jumped out of my bed and immediately started to panic. My brother asked if I would like to come home and offered to come and pick me up. Without hesitation, I said, “Yes.”
Coming from a religious background, I began to pray that God would give my dad the strength to make it through. I took a shower, then emailed my boss to let him know that I could not DJ the football game because I had to rush home for an emergency.
As I sat on my bed and waited for my brother to arrive, I thought about my best friend, hero, and mentor, Pastor Ivin Phillips. I text some of my friends on campus and let them know that I was going home because my dad was not doing well, and he was in the hospital.
When I arrived at the hospital, I rushed to the elevator and ran immediately to my dad’s room. Tears were streaming down my face. When I saw my dad my heart was saddened. He was able to hear me, but he could not respond. I held his hand, looked into his eyes, and told him how much I loved him and that my brother and I would take care of Mom. I shared funny memories with him as he smiled and cried.
Eight months later, my heart is still heavy with grief. What do you do when you lose your best friend, hero, mentor, and most importantly, your dad? Hopefully, I have made him proud; I graduated from college and am currently employed with the summer journalism program that is helping me with my career path in communication.
Opinion by Jarvis Phillips
Edited by Cathy Milne
Image Courtesy of Jarvis Phillips – Used With Permission