When I was younger, I lost my father in the Iraq war. My mother never remarried. Instead, we moved in with my grandparents. I was ten years old when all this happened. I never went to the funeral because my family didn’t think it was right for a child to go to a funeral. My grandparents in particular didn’t want me there because they didn’t want me to see my father get buried. And to be honest, I don’t remember what they told me nor do I remember crying. It’s sort of just blacked out. But, I still had a picture of him in my room and I got to keep his medal right by the PlayStation 2 he had promised to teach me how to play. I didn’t touch the thing until a year later. I played Need for Speed. And I tried to play the game because I had never liked cars. I just wanted to play because I was missing my Dad that day. I played a timed trial, and I saw my father. Well, not my father per se. But, it was like a ghost of his best-timed game. He finished the race in 57 seconds. My first attempt was 2:30. It became my goal to catch up to my Dad.
I would come home from school every day, finish my homework because if I didn’t my Mom would sit and watch me until I was done, and then I’d sit and play. It was like sitting with my Dad and he was teaching me how to play the game. He was teaching me how to catch up to him. I must have tried over a hundred times to get close to him, but the closest I ever got was 1:20. I was still 23 seconds over. I played and played, and then I gave up because I couldn’t do it. I put the PlayStation away and I didn’t pick it up for another week. I brought it back out and gave it one more try. And I did it. I finally caught up to him. I sped past him. The Lamborghini ghost was behind me now and my Ferrari was almost at the finish line. But, I stopped. I let him pass me. I didn’t want my time to best his because then I would never see that ghost again. And I wanted to keep a part of my father alive. Even though it was just a machine that had saved his best time, it was still a moment I had been able to share with my father. And if I ever missed him again, I wanted to be able to visit that place once more.
When I turned 18, I decided to follow in my father’s footsteps. It was a good way to help me through college, and I wanted to learn more about the type of person my father was by putting myself in his shoes. My family made t-shirts to send me off with the help of MakeaTeeOnline.com. They made shirts that said “Support Our Troops.” I cried a lot that day because I wasn’t going to see them for a year.