One call changed my life forever.
On the night of February 3rd, 2017, my sister informed me that our father had been kidnapped in Mexico.
My heart sunk, and suddenly my whole world was turned upside down.
That weekend the kidnappers mistook my father for another man.
Following the tragic loss of my father, came the darkest period of my life.
Days later, my father's body was found on the side of a highway.
In an attempt to run away from the hardships of my new reality, I decided to go on a backpacking trip through Catalina Island.
30 miles of grueling uphill and downhill hiking with a 50 pound pack.
It was no easy task, but I reminded myself that it did not even compare to what my father had to endure.
The last few miles of our trip, I looked into the horizon and screamed as loud as I could.
All the emotional and physical angst I had harbored was released, and I was left with a picture perfect view of the waters with no end.
At that moment, I realized that I needed to move forward, regain control of my life, and use this experience as a catalyst for my inner growth.
I had gained an undying desire to continue to live for both my father and myself.
I then entered a new stage of my life - the post-traumatic growth phase.
My father’s tragedy taught me that life is fleeting and that at any given moment anything can happen. As terrifying as life can get, I have learned that the human spirit is amazingly resilient. Bob Marley once said, “You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice”. In order to continue to be a living testimony for my father, I had to choose to be strong. We are not perpetual victims of our past, I will retake my narrative and live a life that last.