The Moment That Changed Life

Every moment we live in life is unique, nothing will ever be the exact same whether it be the weather, the location, the vibe or even the people you are with at that moment in time. Those elements along with many others, make that exact moment unique. There are very few moments that we experience in our lives that are life changing. These life changing experiences alter the way we behave and act. An individual can develop a personality that is the complete polar opposite of what they initially were prior to experiencing one of these moments.

I for one have experienced one of these moments, this moment changed my personality, the way I think, and the way I react towards certain situations. Unfortunately, my life changing moment was the moment my sister Melanie passed away. It was a nice sunny Saturday morning, the date was June 19th, 2004, I was only seven at the time and I recently had just graduated first grade. My father, his wife, and my little brother and I were in my fathers white Toyota Sequoia on our way to Oklahoma City to visit my grandparents who lived down there, we were heading South on Interstate 55 and were near Bloomington about a hundred miles out of Chicago.

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My father received a call on his cell phone which triggered him to exit the highway, as he began to talk to the person that was on the phone with him he drove onto the ramp to go North on Interstate 55 heading back to Chicago instead of continuing South towards . I constantly asked my father why we were going back, he barely spoke a word, he was driving about eighty miles per hour on our way back to Chicago. On the way back to Chicago he didn’t tell me why we were going back, looking back at it, he did the right thing, one of the few he has ever done. The car soared across the pavement of the highway as we were now heading up the ramp to I-90 South towards Bridgeport a southern suburb of Chicago, which was where I lived. I grew tired of being anxious, and gave up on asking why my father was taking me home.

I stared out my window for the remainder of the ride home. We finally arrived at the front of my house where I realized that there seemed to be more cars parked on our street then normal. I got out of the car and went inside, I climbed the stairway to my apartment and opened the door to find at least 10 people in my apartment. They all shared a common melancholy expression on their faces that gave off a vibe that something atrocious had happened. I found my mother in tears and she told me the news that my sister had been killed in a car accident.

I didn’t know how to react for a brief moment, but I then began to ball my eyes out. My mother held me as I cried over the loss of my sister. I don’t really remember everything that happened after that moment on that day, I’m sure I cried for some time. For a few days I stayed in my sister’s old room, playing with legos, just expecting for my sister to come home and enter the room to give me a hug. I recall my mother leaving me alone in Melanie’s room for a few days as she realized that it was my way of grieving. I grieved by secluding myself from the outside world and lived my spare time within Melanie’s room.

A few days later the wake took place. Being at the wake was really awkward, I didn’t know what to do, I just walked around aimlessly spectating. As we drove to the cemetery that my sister was going to be laid to rest at, I tried to prepare myself to never see my sister Melanie again. Melanie was one of those unique sisters, she truly was extraordinary. She attended a private school, excelled in all of her advanced placement classes and had an average of a 4.

75 grade point average. She was part of the national honors society, she played volleyball and won 2nd place for Spanish in nationals. These achievements supported a well rounded young women who had great aspirations. She was somewhat of a second mother to me, she treated me with love and care. I still am able to recall the multiple times where she would drive me to school, prepare meals for me when our mother wasn’t home, and the times she took me to the park.

On those hot summer days she would chase down the ice cream truck just to get me an ice cold treat to cool down. On Christmas mornings, I was always lucky enough to have a sister who gave me an extra gift. She really was the best sister anybody could have. That morning that I left for Oklahoma was the same morning she left for Michigan. At some time around 10:00 she called my mother to tell her of how they were now on their way to Michigan and she ended the call with an “I Love You”.

Within the next hour my sister had died from a car accident, a semi-truck had hit the vehicle. The point of impact was exactly where she had been seated, on the left side of the back row of seats behind the drivers seat. It felt all too wrong, she was the only one of four passengers wearing a seatbelt and she was the only one to have died that day. We arrived at the cemetery and we stood by the plot that she would be lowered into. They slowly lowered her into the grave, I watched on from the car and began to cry. Part of me wanted to just run out and stop everything and show everyone that she couldn’t be dead, I was in denial.

I didn’t want to accept the fact that my sister had died. After the burial I returned home. The apartment seemed really quiet, there were no longer three of us, it was now just my mother and I. That summer I went to a summer camp, but besides that I don’t remember what else I did. The passing of my sister Melanie started to have a huge impact on my health, I went from being a super skinny kid to this short stocky kid in a course of about a year.

Before losing my sister, I was extremely outgoing, I was a cocky seven year old. After she passed, I was reluctant to talk to nearly anybody besides my mother, I was shy around others I didn’t know well. I used to believe that I would live to a very old age, with both my mother and my sister. Once my sister Melanie died, a switch went off in my head changing the way I viewed life. Her passing made me realize how precious life really is, one second you can be breathing and the next you may not be.

I don’t like to sound pessimistic but it is just amazing how little we value our own lives, wasting time on things that don’t really matter as well as taking others time for granted. We live our lives with the thought that theres going to be a later time for something, when in reality nothing’s guaranteed to stay around. I was no longer the cocky seven year old who never would shed a tear, I became a sensitive person by living through this moment. I was fortunate to have been given my little brother Eric in 4th grade, he filled in that hole, he gave me happiness as well as a way to practice what I’ve learned. I wouldn’t be the same brother I am if I hadn’t experienced losing my sister at such a young age.

Melanie was one of a kind, many of her friends said that she was the anchor to their group of friends that was the ship. They questioned on how they’d get by without my sister’s presence in their Senior year. It is now nearing almost ten years since the tragedy occurred, but out of it I have developed into a better human being. The only thing I wish I could’ve had was more time with Melanie, because I only have so many memories of the times we had when I was little. ‘Till this day it’s still hard to acknowledge that I will never see my sister again.

One thing that is certain is that life goes on.