4 years later, still recovering


Story by Mary Claire Boudreaux, Co-Feature Editor

Is there a guy behind that corner.
No. NO. NO.
Senior Heath Fore sets down the controller. He has been playing video games for a while now. His little brother and youngest sister were at his grandparents, his parents were out, and Heath sat at home playing video games.
They have been gone a long time.
I wonder where they are.
When are they going to be back?
At that moment, there was a knock on the door. Heath expected it to be anyone other than his 20-something-year-old cousins. They looked at him with a flustered look and told him slowly that they were here to bring him back to his grandparents’ house.
Hesitation and then the news.
His parents had been involved in an accident and were being flown to Shreveport.
“We went up to the hospital the next day,” Heath said. “We didn’t get to see them until another week or so because of the bad injuries. They wouldn’t let us see them.”
A gravel road, a motorcycle and the lack of helmets. One turn too sharp, one brake too quick and the bike slid out from under them. Heath’s dad was driving, his mother on the back. He broke her fall. She landed on top of him leaving her with a broken ankle and no major injuries. It was Heath’s dad who was left with the detrimental injuries. Broken bones and internal bleeding.
“My mom was out pretty early. It was my dad that stayed in the hospital for a while,” Heath said. “The doctors in Shreveport recommended he be moved to a hospital in Tyler.”
At eighth grade graduation, other kids were hugging their families, saying goodbye to friends and bidding farewells to teachers. Heath looked into the crowd and only saw one parent, his mom. Right after the ceremony ended, his family loaded up the van to go visit dad in Tyler.
“He had been complaining that he hadn’t felt well, but no one really thought too much of it,” Heath said. “We left [the hospital in Tyler] later that night and went home and as we were pulling into the driveway, my mom got a call as me and my siblings walked inside. I could see her from the window and she started to cry. She had gotten a call from the hospital saying that my father had gone into cardiac arrest and they were trying to resuscitate him.”
The Fore family, jumped back into the van and hightailed it to Tyler.
What’s going to happen to him?
What’s this going to do to my mother? My family?
How serious is this?
Fifteen minutes down the road to Tyler, his mother’s phone rang again. The doctors were unable to resuscitate him.
He was gone.
“We pulled over to the side of the road and cried,” Heath said. “My grandmother came to pick us up and drive us the rest of the way because my mother was in no condition to drive us. We made our way up there, and got to see him, but he was gone.”
But full of memories.
But full of love.
Losing a father at any age is devastating. But losing a father, going into high school. Or being the younger brother at the age of 12, or being the youngest, a 5-year old little girl, these ages plus the loss of a father, can be tragic.
“I had obviously already had him for 14 years, which is more than a lot of people can say, but it is still very difficult,” Heath said. “I knew it was the worst for my mom, she lost the man she loved for 15 years.”
The days went by, but the routine stayed the same. Heath’s dad had worked for Red River and was over seas a majority of the time, working on Amraps in Iraq.
“The change in routine wasn’t as much as another persons who lost their dad,” Heath said. “I can’t imagine having a father who was full time at home and losing him. The amount I miss and love him is the same as any other kid, but we were used to him being gone. We already knew what is was like to not have him around, but this time we know he isn’t going to come home, he is gone this time. Forever. We will never be whole again.”
Looking back on these four years, Heath realizes how much he missed out on. Things he needed a dad for. Things his family needed a dad for. Going into his high school years and having to get through it without help from his dad, learning to shave on his own, not being able to talk to him about having a girlfriend. Not being there for advice and guidance. Just not being there.