The last time I saw my parents alive was the day after my wedding, Sunday, August 5, 2007.
My sister and I choose to remember them most on October 15, the day we were both notified of their passing.
Sometime between Friday, October 12, 2007 at 8:00 PM and Saturday, October 13, 2007 at 8:00 AM they died of carbon monoxide poisoning. They were 61 and 58 respectively. Too young to die.
My parents lived overseas and dedicated their lives to working at American international schools around the globe for 28 years. My father was the principal of a kindergarten through 12th grade school in Tunis, Tunisia and my mother was a third grade teacher. They died in Tunisia.
For those of you who don’t know, carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and 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. It can kill you before you know it because you can’t see it, smell it, or taste it. A water heater vent was damaged in my parent’s kitchen and it emitted carbon monoxide into their home.
It’s hard to be the one left behind to pick up the pieces and ask the unanswerable questions. It’s stupid to walk around angry at an inanimate object. Most of the time I just feel robbed. My parents were anything but done with this life. One week to the day before their lifeless bodies were found, they had decided to retire and return to the United States. They were anxious to see my sister, who had recently graduated from college, start her life and begin building a career. They looked forward to us both having grandchildren (they would have been amazing grandparents and would have completely adored you, not to mention spoiled you rotten!) and had a long list of things they wanted to do to their Arizona home and trips they were excited to take. It’s unfair that they were taken from us too soon. I miss them every single day and ache to hear their voices again.
I’m mostly sorry that you will never get to meet them in the physical sense.
I hope that among me, your dad, your aunt, and everyone who knew them, we will help you know them too.
Sometimes bad things happen to good people, but I will forever believe that the best is yet to be.