“Everyone says that middle school and high school are supposed to be the best times of your life. In my case, that was a far from true statement. Many things hard for an adult to deal with in a lifetime happened to me, in just under a year time frame, before I was sixteen years old.
It was almost Christmas time, and in my family, Christmas time is a large holiday. My family always takes large vacations to warm places. Nebraska isn’t exactly a great place to be during the winter. My family and I were scheduled to go to Brazil that winter. That didn’t happen.
I was home from school the day after getting several teeth pulled. My father woke me up, checking on me if i was okay, only his sentences didn’t exactly line up. “Doing you how?” and “Lunch eat me with?” were some of the sentences he uttered. I told him to drive to the doctor, that some of his medicines might be messing with him, so he did. I didn’t think he’d be as bad off as he actually was.
His doctor called me from my father’s cell phone. I thought that was odd. He told me that my dad was running some tests and that my mother needed to be called right away. They thought my father had a stroke. I called my mom and she left work. Sure enough, the doctor was right, my dad had a stroke and it almost killed him. The road to recovery wasn’t going to be easy, but he could do it.
About three weeks later, my dad was released from the hospital. He had several complications, including blood clots in the lungs and slow recovery from surgery, but he made it through that part. He still had a long road to go, and almost three years later, he still isn’t quite done travelling that road.
It was an icy late January day after school. My mom picked me up and we were headed home. It wasn’t exactly the fastest ride home I’d ever had. Roughly three blocks away from school, we were rear-ended by one of my classmates older sisters. Her car was totalled, and I didn’t feel great, but my mom just thought it was teenage headaches. My mom was wrong. The next day I had a severe migraine and I had to go in for a scan on my head. It showed I had suffered some brain trauma. Different medications didn’t help, and I was in and out of different doctor’s offices trying to figure out what was wrong with me. My headaches went away in December of 2010, after visiting a special chiropractor.
It was a typical day for me. I was laying at home. I wasn’t exactly up to talking on the phone, but I kept getting text messages, so I checked it. The messages read “RIP Justin Balfany, we will miss you.” I found out one of my best friends was dead through a text message. Not exactly a good way to hear. I was a mess. I had migraines from my car accident and then this. I wasn’t exactly sure how to handle it, but I tried to manage. I learned to believe that he was driving home and he hit a patch of black ice and rolled his jeep in the ditch. He broke his neck in the process and was pronounced dead at the scene. I called one of my other best friends, Nikita. Sure, I had migraines, but right then, I didn’t care. I needed to talk to someone. She was supportive and helped me through it for the next day or so. But then things were worse. I got a call from Nikita’s little brother, saying that she had died because of her cancer. I knew she was going to die soon, but I didn’t expect it to be so sudden and right after Justin. Needless to say, the migraines weren’t my main source of pain anymore.
It was a normal day, migraine and whatever, but school was out for the summer. My mom called me into her bedroom to chat. Of course, I thought I did something wrong and braced myself for the attack, only, it was different. She told me that her and my father were getting a divorce. It didn’t strike me as upsetting or that big of news, actually, but this was the segway to a lot of change, whether I was going to like it or not.
My mom, sister, and I moved out. We moved about two hours away, into a very small apartment. That was something we weren’t exactly used to. I was going to start high school in the next few days. I had no friends, and was scared about it, of course I didn’t tell anyone else that.
I ended up becoming friends with the wrong crowd. A specific friend I had beat me. He punched me and shoved me up against his car a lot. I didn’t know how to get out of the situation. Before I got out of the friendship, he sexually assaulted me in his car after a football game. He was supposed to be taking me home.A friend of mine, who wasn’t in the wrong crowd had me tell the police. It was hard, but I ended up following through with it. The story boiled down to a he-said-she-said, so there was no conviction.
I’m still dealing with a lot of this stuff. Life goes on, but the past sometimes is just hard to forget, because it shapes you in ways you never really thought imaginable. I’m not even close to being done with my life yet. I’m not quite seventeen yet, but you have to roll with the punches, even if sometimes, life throws you a knockout. “