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Sierra Porter
Sierra Porter

We are Not Promised Tomorrow

If you know anything about me you most likely know that riding horses is a big part of my life. Most of my friends call me “cowgirl.” What most of my friends don’t know is my love for horses and riding never would have started without my dad. He taught me everything I know about horses and how to ride. He put that fire in my life; he is the reason I have a passion for riding and horses.  I never really got to know my mom. I never knew what it was like to say “mom” or what it felt like to have a mom. She passed away a little before my first birthday with melanoma cancer. The only things I ever knew about her were what my dad and other people would tell me about her. There aren’t many pictures of her, so I can only go off of the few pictures I have of her. I was always told that I look so much like her, that she was a good lady, and that she was the love of my dad’s life. All I had in my life was my dad; he was my best friend, my rock, my hero and my biggest role model. I spent every day with him. My dad and I did everything together: fishing, going to horse auctions and horse shows, going hunting, cutting firewood, washing his truck every single week. This was normal.  He would do anything for me.

On November 14, 2012, everything changed. When I woke up that morning, I had no idea my life was about to be completely flipped upside down that evening and for the rest of my life. I didn’t have a clue that at the age of 12 I was going to go through something that can tear apart even a grown adult. My dad woke me up for school like he did every other day and told me to get ready. He had to drive me to the bus stop at 7 every morning. On the way to the bus stop, he explained to me how he didn’t feel good and was having a hard time breathing and told me he would probably have to go to the hospital, and his friend would be there to take care of me while he was at the hospital. He told me that if he didn’t pick me up or his friend Candy wasn’t there to just walk home; someone would be there. I got on the bus and went to school. I was constantly thinking and worrying about him that day because he had been in and out of the hospital for the past three years for different things, and the doctors could never really find out what was wrong. I knew he wasn’t in good health, but my dad was the strongest man I knew. I thought he could get through anything. He taught me to always be strong no matter what the situation, and he was the same way. When I got home off the bus, nobody was at the bus stop to pick me up, so I just started to walk home. There were times my dad was late to pick me up, so I didn’t think anything of it. When I got home, I saw my dad’s truck in the garage. I went to the front door, and it was locked, so I knocked a few times and waited. Nobody came to the door. I figured my dad was in the shower and couldn’t hear me knocking on the door. I wondered if he was getting ready to go to the hospital since the front door was locked, and he never locked the doors unless he was going to be gone for a while. I went through the garage and into the house through the back door which was never locked. We lived in the middle of nowhere; there wasn’t a need to lock the doors. I walked in to find my worst nightmare had come true. My dad was laying on the floor, and one look at him was all it took. I knew it wasn’t good. So many thoughts ran through my mind. I was scared to death. I grabbed the phone and tried to call 911, but the other phone was on, so I couldn’t make a call. I ran out the door and ran to my friends. He was the closest neighbor to me; I had to run through my horse field and up a hill, about a mile run, and I ran as fast as I could. I had to roll under the horse fence on the way, but nothing slowed me down. My adrenaline was running as fast as ever. I got to my friend’s completely out of breath and crying my eyes out. I tried to explain to them what happened, but the only thing I could say was “my dad is dead, please help me.”

After lots of waiting I was taken to the hospital, and the doctor took me in a room and explained my dad had a cardiac arrest, and they couldn’t get him back; he didn’t make it. My heart dropped. I was crying, scared to death. My dad was all I had. What was I going to do without him?

I moved in with my aunt and uncle which is who I live with now. I was scared. I had never known anything but how to live with my dad. My best friend was gone. My DAD was gone. What was I going to do? Fast forward to present day. I am now 16, and it’s been four years since the day that changed my life. If I had one chance to go back, I wouldn’t change anything except for telling my dad how thankful I was for everything he did for me. I regret the last conversation I had with my dad. I told him that I was going to be mad if he didn’t go to the hospital to find out what was wrong with him. If I would’ve known that would be my last conversation with my dad, I would have told him how much he really did mean to me. I would have thanked him for everything he did for me and told him how much I valued what he taught me about life, and how he raised me to be so strong and get through anything. I still have flashbacks. That day will always be burned into my brain. But I have learned much about life and how to do things on my own and how to be independent.  I had to be strong to get through the bad days, and everyone told me it gets easier, but it doesn’t. Every day I think of him. Everything I do, I do for him. I want nothing but to make him proud. I learned life goes on and to not take life for granted or the people in your life for granted because tomorrow is not promised. If you lived everyday as if tomorrow wasn’t promised, or your loved ones last day was today, what would you do differently?