Brief autobiography of how I lost my father and the pain it had inflicted on me.
Tyra Ball Autobiography October 21, 2016
Saturday December 22, 2012; 6:00am. I was woken by the sound of my father calling desperately for my Grandmother. Instead of her being the one to answer, it was me. "Yes?" I had answered. He told me in a panicked voice, "Get your Grandmother." So I sleepily crawled out of bed, the morning chill creeping up my skin, sending shivers down my spine. I walked to my Grandmother's room and woke her up instantly saying, "Daddy's calling you. It sounds important." We both hurried downstairs. We learned that my father had been vomiting blood the entire morning, and he needed to go to the hospital. Of course I wasn't too worried, knowing that he has been to the hospital plenty of times before, but for completely different reasons. You see, my dad was epileptic, and he was in and out because of that. So we called the ambulance, I gave him a kiss and went back to bed.
8:30 Am. The sun peeks through my blinds and kisses my cheeks with its warmth. But there is nothing warming about the news I will receive. I hear my Grandmother sobbing in her room. I drag myself out of bed, still half asleep to go check on her. She looked at me with tearful eyes. What she had to tell me was anything but the expected. "Tyra, daddy passed away." She had said to me. Everything seemed to freeze. I couldn't think straight. I wanted to believe she was lying to me, that maybe this was all a dream. Hot tears streamed down my face. I sunk to the floor, the way a small child would, as I tried to take in what had happened. My father, my best friend, my entire world, all disappeared in the matter of seconds. As I was sitting there my grandmother called just about everyone in the family. We were told that we could see my dad one more time, at the hospital.
An hour later, my Aunt Tracy and Uncle Tom show up to take us to the emergency room. The room where my father was, had many of my relatives in there. I walked over to the hospital bed, and sobbed harder than ever before. My dad was lying there, stiff as a rock. I felt someone touch my shoulder. It was my mother. Even though I don't live with her, she still came to see my father and comfort me. It was enough to make me break down completely. I began to have difficulty breathing. As I was crying, I wasn't taking deep enough breaths. They had to remove me from the room, so I didn't wind up in the hospital myself. My mother walked me down the long hallway. We went to the front of the hospital and she bought me Dunkin' Donuts. The warmness of the Bacon Egg and Cheese Wrap had made me relax ever so slightly.
I was finally well enough to go back into the room. I sat next to my dad, holding his hand, the one with his cherished ring on it. He never took it off. It belonged to my Grandfather, and when he passed away it became my fathers. We learned that we had to take it off, because if we left it on, we feared that the people who were to cremate him would steal it. It seemed as if I was sitting there for and eternity, reminiscing on everything that we have done, good and bad. I remembered how we had to walk everywhere together, because he didn't have his license. I remembered wrestling with him when we felt like goofing off. I laid my head on his chest. It was hard and cold. Tears splashed down my face. I prayed that I would here even a faint sound of his heart beating, that they were wrong, he was okay and was going to wake up and come home with me and my grandma. But that's not how real life works. I had to be removed from the room once again.
Afterwards, everyone left the room. My grandma wanted a few minutes alone with her son. When she had finished, we all went back to my house. We tried to make each other feel better, eating food together, joking with each other. It was finally nighttime. My cousin Shannon came up from North Carolina with her boyfriend and children when she heard what had happened. Later on my grandmother thought it would be best if I went to my Aunt Tracy's for the night. I was able to be with my cousin Alaysha, who would help me keep my mind off the situation. Once I got there we began to joke around until we got tired. Towards the nighttime I felt as if I was going to cry again, but no more tears would come out. I looked like I hadn't slept in a month, my eyes were black and blued underneath, red and puffy.
I had learned my father had passed away because his liver failed. He also had Hemochromatosis, but didn't tell anyone. Being an alcoholic didn't help this situation at all. Of course, you would never know he had this addiction. He was one of the sweetest people I have ever known. He treated people better than he was even treated throughout his life.
December 25; Christmas Day. It had only been three days since my father passed away. I had no desire to celebrate Christmas that year. I opened my presents, unenthusiastic about anything I had. The day seemed to drag on forever.
December 28; Funeral Day. It finally came the day where we had to officially say goodbye. I had worn a beautiful black dress and had big, bouncy curls, because I knew my father loved it that way. We all talked at first, trying to make each other feel better. It was time to see the casket. My father looked at peace. He had on a black suit, deep maroon undershirt, along with a black and maroon tie. I broke down once again. It was time to leave. We gave everyone hugs goodbye. We were going to a restaurant afterwards. On my way there I cried as I had that day in the hospital. At the restaurant my cousins had sat with me at the table and were joking around to make everyone feel semi better. It was late and we had finally went back home. Alaysha was still there with me. A week had passed since my dad passed away. I was barely eating. My grandmother had called me downstairs multiple times for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I would come downstairs, take a bite or two and say "I'm full." And I wasn't lying, I had no appetite whatsoever.
December 31; New Year's Eve. I was finally my twelfth birthday. We went out to eat at Friendly's. For the first time in a week I had eaten a real meal. I had put all my worries aside for my family and decided to have a good time. If I wasn't strong for them, then we would never get better.
It has almost been five years since he has passed. Yes I miss him with all my heart, and no matter how many times someone says "It all gets better in time." Honestly, it doesn't. You're still going to have that void in your life. It gets easier to cope with, yes. The pain, is still as bad as the day you lose someone however. My father was a good man. He treated me like a princess. I was his little girl. But I know that he isn't suffering anymore and I have family that loves and cares for me, so I'm willing to push forward and make everyone, including my father proud.