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  • Eternal Flame

Serendipitous Storms: An Event that Changed My Life for the Better

Written By: Luis Martinez


In Cormac McCarthy’s novel, The Road, he writes, “You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.” Life consists of highs and lows, endless events that shape us who we become today; consequently, this event is one that sticks with me to this day. October 11th, 2010, a regular day that would soon become like no other, the death of my father, Luis Abraham Martinez. This event is one that altered life for me, with that of the absence of the only person who was supposed to be there, watching me grow into his same manner while learning under his wing, painfully ripped out of my life.

Original Image From: Luis Martinez

Before my dad passed away, life seemed bearable with my father by my side leading me in the world and teaching me how to manage the cares of life that were thrown at me in school, family, and even myself. Although, no one would have imagined the next event on how to handle his death. On the day of his death, I vividly remember him getting ready for his job as an assistant surgeon at the Borger hospital, kissing my mother on the cheek, and saying, “goodbye.” I tried to hold him back by tugging at him by the door and begging him to stay that day. For I had an indescribable feeling that would be the last I saw him, and it was. Hours later, news broke in the family that my father was hit on the highway by a UPS driver who lost control of the car, causing it to fly into a ditch. His last words on the scene to my mother arriving to see the damage were, “I will always love you,” followed by a tear rolling down my mother’s cheek, as he was rolled away to his final moments of life.

Every time I recall this memory of him leaving, I wonder what would’ve happened if he stayed that day and missed work, searing that event in my mind that I forcefully tried to forget. This event changed my life instantly, causing me to endlessly spin into a chaotic cycle of storms, tearing every fiber of my being apart and draining my identity every day. This storm was depression and intense anxiety, leaving me numb to the world around me. Many days have felt as if I was deserted since my father’s death. I didn’t want to be identified as someone who gives up when a complex event arises, but this became my identity. I’m not one to victimize myself when it comes to situations out of my control; however, the loss of my father made me feel victimized. I was in a hopeless state that made me ask could things get better? And if so, how?

Original Images From: Luis Martinez

These thoughts wavered in the back of my mind like a bug encircling me until I swiped it away. I had to find a new way of living in the light and not in darkness. I would need to start with the foundation of where I could be found and hopefully have the shattered pieces of my life put back together again, and that foundation was my faith in God. Take what you want from the previous statement of how you heal; however, I believe it takes more faith to not believe in a higher power than to believe in one, and I needed something to cling to when the ground was shaking and the ground I was standing on became treacherous. Venturing into this new era of my life, I knew academic validation had become something dear to me. A first-generation student with a family lineage of immigrants with no education higher than middle school placed a priority and a fear of going to another environment, that being college, pursuing education to pull me out from the once dark place that kept me constrained. So, hard work in my schooling and faith in God kept me distracted from my past, but still, I felt something unexplainable from my father's death to let go of the past and move forward. Moving to West Texas A&M masked the pain but never resolved what I was going through underneath the surface with the seared memory of my father’s death. I tried so hard to purge the event from my mind. I had to accept my reality and determine what I was going through was not useless but effective in healing.

Original Image By: Luis Martinez

Pain from one's past is harmful when striving to be present in the future. The past consumes the potential to live in moments now. So barricading history will only transport that anguish back. However, that trauma did mold me into the individual I am today. My dad's death still lingers, and as much as I try to forget that eventful day, I can't, but I find a way to live with it. Grief never ends on one side, but on the other, it is a point that transformed me for the better. It made me stronger when times of struggle arose in my life, which is the same way my dad taught me. A realization in what I faced is that it won't be easy, and scarring will remain. Even though it is visible, those marks won't prevent development. To sum it up,

now that you know that what I have been through it will no longer be my identity, for this will become a survival guide for anyone suffering. This instant in my life will forever be a

never-ending growthful road.

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