Friday, October 15, 2010

3 Years Ago Today

Three years ago today my parents died. For that I will always dread this month and this week in particular. Today is going to be rough.

I've talked about them a lot in my blog but I can't recall if I ever explained what exactly happened to them. I got the call around 1 a.m. They were found in their bedroom in their house in Tunis, Tunisia. After a couple of days of thorough investigation in and around their home, the cause of death was determined to be carbon monoxide poisoning. It was the water heater. I cannot begin to describe what it was like coming face-to-face with that machine. I wanted to tear it from the wall and smash it to pieces.

For those of you that don't know, carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas. Surprisingly, it is the second leading cause of poisoning deaths in the country. Carbon monoxide poisoning claims nearly 500 lives and another 15,000 require emergency room treatment per year.

After they died, I sent emails out to everyone I knew encouraging them to check the detectors in their homes and their families’ homes. I know that many went out immediately and purchased them for themselves and their loved ones. Now, I continue to talk openly about this in hopes of encouraging others to install carbon monoxide detectors in their homes. When I moved to LA, I immediately got one for my house.

More and more lately, I'm starting to really miss being a 'daughter'. I miss saying, "Mom, can you help me with this?" Or "Dad, what do you think I should do?" I simply miss calling out "Mom" and "Dad". I miss hearing my mom talk to me about my dad and referring to him as "Daddy". It was really cute and sweet. I miss that advice that only a parent can give a daughter. I can't help but wonder, am I still a 'daughter'? Does that role still exist for me? I certainly don't feel like it anymore. Perhaps being a sister, an aunt, a niece and a friend should be enough but it just isn't. I just want to be my parents daughter. I want to overhear them talking to people about their 'daughter', Leah. No one says my name or will say my name quite like them.

I know it's only natural but right after they died, I instantly felt younger than I've felt in a very long time. The independent nature that I'd acquired somewhat in college quickly fell away and I found myself longing to be held, to be cared for, to be tucked in at night and to be told that everything was going to be alright. These are all the things that my parents would do for me. Suddenly, I knew that I was never going to feel as protected as they made me feel and that tore me apart.

3 years may seem like a lot of time but honestly, the hole in my heart is still as empty and painful as the day I found out 3 years ago. I doubt that will ever go away. This may sound odd but there is a small part of me that hopes that hole never heals. I don't want to ever get past their deaths. What would that mean if that were to happen one day? I know that when I fall in love and have children, it certainly will be filled but I hope that I'm never 'ok' that they are gone.

I am incredibly grateful to my sister for always being there for me. She is right there with me through the tears, the sad dreams, the phone calls and for sad days like today. We will be spending the day together as we've promised to do from now on. I certainly can't imagine going through it alone.

I don't want this to be a sad post but more of a reminder to you to cherish your loved ones. Cherish your parents. Cherish your siblings. Cherish your friends. Tell each and every one of them how much they mean to you. If I had one more day to spend with my parents, that's all I would do.


  1. what happened to you parents was terrible, i am so sorry for your loss. it hurt my heart to read this.
    just this year we installed carbon monoxide detectors in our house, this just makes it even more apparent that everyone needs to do this.

  2. I have tears on my face and in my heart for you, your sister and your nephew who will never get to know just how wonderful his grandparents would have been. You are so right; we also need to keep our loved ones as close to our hearts as possible.

    Cindy Perez

  3. Hey girl. I will never forget the day that Tracy called me. I was in shock and didn't know what to say... I still find that the "right" words elude me every year when the anniversary of their death comes around. Know that I'm thinking of you and your family today. I love you mucho. Besos y abrazos. -M
    P.S. I really love that pic of your parents, and I will NEVER forget the July 4 cookout. Good times :)

  4. Thinking of you and T today. There are many times I catch myself thinking of your mom and dad. Especially your dad anytime I see a Redskins or Redsox score. Your dad was such a fan of sports and we shared that it common. Your parents were very special and loved you guys so much. It was so nice to see that. Love you guys, will keep you in my thoughts today.

  5. Leah, I have some idea of what it's like to lose someone unexpectedly. In 1989 I received a phone call from my father telling me that my 26yo brother had died in his sleep in England. My parents were long divorced by then and it was my task to go to my mother, who was in hospital, and break the news. I hadn't seen my brother for a few years at that time, and we had never been particularly close. But a few of his friends from the UK came out for his funeral - they spoke very highly of him, and said that he showed exceptional talent in his field. I have never thought about him in the same way since.

  6. My heart broke just seeing the small blurb of this blog on my blogger homepage. How awful to loose both of your parents at the same time....I cannot even imagine.

    My mom lost her mother at 4 years old and its still hard on her, wondering what life would have been like if she was still around.

    Its good though that you have a sibling who is there for you through the good and bad times :) My prayers are with you today for sure.

  7. I probably think about you once or twice every single day Leah, but today I am thinking of you all day and wishing i could hug and kiss you and tuck you in and all those things.

    I love you my friend.

  8. Thinking about you and your parents today, Leah. You are still their daughter, A daughter in my mind because their legacy will live on for a long, long time. I wish I could be there to give you a big hug today. You and Tonya are in my heart!

  9. Hi Leah...Craig and I think of you and Tonya often. We feel honored to have known and worked with your parents; beautiful people. Sending you big love.

  10. You are ALWAYS going to be a daughter, despite not having the ones who created you around to tell you they love you. They're up in heaven smiling and wishing they could hug the bejeezus out of you and Tonya and Lucas. I've had you in my heart all day, and can't wait till Christmas time to give you a real hug. You're one tough and amazing woman and daughter, Leah. Love you. xo

  11. I am overwhelmed with all the love you friends have given me on here. I must say that it helps me get through days like today much easier. I was grateful to have them as my parents and I am thankful to have all of you in my life today. XOXO

  12. Oh, sweetie, I sit here with tears in my eyes reading this post..I am so sorry for your loss. My mother passed away in Feb 2009 and there's not a day that goes by that I don't miss her terribly.

    Big hugs to you...xoxoox

  13. Leah...
    It was very brave of you to write this post. I never had the chance to meet your mom and dad, but I know that they must have been incredible people to create a girl like you--one of the most loving, caring, genuine, funny, talented,insightful, vivacious, good hearted, unselfish people that I have ever met in my life. I wish I could tell them how thankful I am to have met you and to have you as one of my closest friends now. They would be so proud of the woman you are today! I am happy that you and Tonya are close to be together on days like this one. Thinking of you.

  14. Glad we have each other. xoxo