Honoring Your Memory


Lizzie Schmidt, Editor

In this creative piece, I talk about how losing my dad has affected me over the years, and how I have started to overcome this.

Trigger Warning: death of a loved one or parent


On May 29, 2017, my life changed forever within minutes. It all began the morning of Memorial Day. My dad had been a member of the military in years past, and I had texted him to thank him for his service, as well as wish him a happy Memorial Day. There was no reply to my message. I originally didn’t think anything of it, although it was unlike him to not reply to my message right away. I went about my day, until I had asked my brother if he had heard from our dad today. When my brother replied, “No,” I knew something was wrong.

I told my mom that something wasn’t right. My mom said that I was overthinking. “I have a terrible gut feeling. We need to go see him,” I replied. My mom and my dad were recently separated, so he lived elsewhere from us. I had finally convinced my mother to drive to his house.

We knocked on the door and rang the doorbell multiple times. There was no answer. “We have to call 9-1-1,” I told my mom.

When police officers arrived on the scene, they forcefully broke through his front door. It was so unlike him to not answer. “Go sit in the car,” my mom said. Minutes later, that’s when I heard it- a heartbreaking cry from my mother that I will never forget. That is when I knew what had happened. I jumped out of the car to go comfort her, and told my brother to stay where he was. Minutes later, he was wheeled out, covered in a white sheet. I desperately wanted to see him, but the police officers and coroners would not let me.

This is the story of how I found out my dad passed away. These past 4 years have been so different without him. My dad was always the one to give me advice on bullies in high school, and in relationships. Quite frankly, without this advice, I am lost. I have gone through so many rough patches while finishing high school and starting college where I wished I could just talk to him.

I used to call his number and leave voicemails when I missed him. In the past year, someone new received his phone number. One day when I was missing him, I called the number, and when I actually received a reply, I was startled. I explained why I was calling this number, and the person on the other end was very kind. They talked me through it. For years I had questioned my faith due to this incident, but this really helped restore my faith. This kind stranger was truly a miracle in my life, and I can never repay them for helping me through that time.

While I miss him every day, I find comfort in the little things that would have made him proud. He would have been proud to know that I continued my academic and cheerleading career at Marian University. He would have hated that I adopted a kitten, but he would have loved her for the comfort she brings me in his passing. He would have been happy to know that I never outgrew my Taylor Swift phase, and stayed young at heart. Most of all, he would have been so proud that I have stayed true to myself all of these years.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but I am still trying to fully find it. I still listen to his favorite songs, and cuddle the bear he gave me, because it makes me feel closer to him. I will spend the rest of my life honoring his memory, and trying to make him proud of his little girl, even though I am not so little anymore. One day I will meet him again, and this brings me hope. I love him just as much as I did four years ago, and I always will.

Rest in Peace Lieutenant Colonel Edward Schmidt. You are loved and missed every day.