Student Copes with Loss During Holiday Season

Hannah Majerczyk and Eden Amberber

Life seemed to be blissful for a teenage girl. But her life changed in the blink of an eye. At the age of 15, sophomore Sydney Taylor lost an important family member, her father.
One dark night, a car drove on the road with a motorcycle following behind it. A father of two was on the motorcycle, on his way to pick up food for his children. The man on the motorcycle would soon crash into the car, tearing a family apart.
“I lost my dad,” Taylor said. “It was really hard because that was the guy that I looked up to. Losing [him was] such a heartbreaking feeling, I [feel] like I’m missing half of me.”
One sudden stop by a car caused a tragic outcome for Taylor and her family. Being close to her dad has made the tragedy worse for her.
“We were on summer visitation, because our parents are divorced,” Taylor said. “He went out to go to the store, and we were waiting for him to come back. He never came back.”
For Taylor, her father’s death has completely changed her outlook on life. She has left NG for now, and takes courses online. She now treasures her life and everyone in it more than ever.
“You never expect that to happen,” Taylor said. “Never in my entire life did I think that, when I was 15, my dad would die, and you never think it’s going to happen to you. It’s crazy how fast things happen.”
When Taylor’s father was driving that night, the car in front of him did not have its rear lights on. The car did a quick stop, and Taylor’s father slammed into the car.
“They put the accident on my dad and said it was his fault,” Taylor said. “I want them to know that he had kids, young kids, and that they are struggling with this. I want them to know that they did take someone’s life and blamed it on him. I want them to know that we are struggling for it.”
The most painful part for Taylor after receiving the news was waiting to hear how her dad passed. She wanted to know if he was in pain or scared.
“I panicked because what if he was dying alone,” Taylor said. “I think it was blunt force trauma to the head, so he died immediately. That was a relief to me because for a week I didn’t know what happened. I found out that it was immediate.”
Taylor’s father was buried by his parent’s house in Houston.
“I was actually in Houston a couple of weeks ago, and they had put in his headstone so we went and visited,” Taylor said. “My brother and I designed it. Because he was in the Air Force, we had the Air Force [logo]. Since we’re Christian, we had a cross on there. It was really beautiful.”
Since her father’s passing, Taylor has been unable to bring herself to become motivated. Her grades quickly declined as time went on without him. Taylor is no longer at North Garland and is taking online courses.
“It’s a lot harder. I feel like I don’t have any motivation to do stuff, and it sounds kinda silly, but I don’t take stuff as seriously because he’s not here to see it,” Taylor said. “I made better grades and did more activities when he was alive. What’s the point of trying so hard?”
With the holidays coming up, Taylor will visit her family in Houston. She still struggles with her father’s death and expects to be overwhelmed with grief around the holidays.
“It’s hard because thinking of Father’s Day and his birthday hurts,” Taylor said. “Especially with the holidays coming up, I freak out. For me it’s really awkward. Whenever he was there I was always with him, because I’m a daddy’s girl. He and I were so alike, we were almost like the same person and we had a huge connection.”