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The Phone Call that Changed Everything

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FC: The Phone Call that Changed Everything | By Laura Brantley

1: Copyright 2009 Printed in USA Raleigh, NC Brantley Publishing Meredith College

2: The Phone Call that Changed Everything By Laura Brantley

3: Laura is a sophomore at Meredith College. She enjoys spending time with her family and her friends. Playing with her three little nephews is her favorite thing to do! She is blessed to have both her parents who love and ALWAYS support her in everything she does. She loves that her parents poured love and lessons into her that made her who she is today. She has a wonderful boyfriend who is always there for her, and she plans to marry him after she graduates college. Laura gives all her credit to God her father for all he does for her and all he has blessed her with. | About the Author

4: It was July 15, 2006 when I received a phone call that forever changed my life. It was Pam Lancaster, my band director’s wife, telling me her husband had passed away in his sleep. I was overwhelmed because he had overcome cancer two years prior, and he died from sleep apnea. He did not snap his c-pack all the way closed. It hurt my heart so bad knowing that he suffered. I could not believe this had happened I just saw Mr. Lancaster two days before this phone call. He was like my second daddy; I had known him since I was three years old. I did not cry until I saw his body in the casket and reality hit. I began to wonder, “How would I begin my senior year without being able to go to Mr. Lancaster when a teacher bugged me, or when I needed to escape the jungle of high school teenagers?”

5: Lancaster’s funeral was really tough. All band members past and present wore the uniform from their last show with Lancaster. At the end of the funeral his son yelled what Lancaster yelled before and after every competition, “FIRREEBIIIRRD!” and the audience responded, “PRRIIIDDDEE!” as tears flowed out of eyes. The weeks passed and the first day of school arrived. I drove to the school to begin my now dreaded senior year. I remember walking into Lancaster’s office to see it was occupied with a new band director. I was lost in tears thinking I will never hear Mr. Lancaster yelling at me with his coffee breath on the band field. No more,” LIL BIT DROP AND GIVE ME FIFTY” or “RUN TO THE TREES AND BRING ME BACK A PIECE OF BARK”. I would no longer get to school early and fix his half decaf, half caffeinated coffee with six packs of sugar and three teaspoons of half and half.

7: Each day got a little bit easier until September 23rd I was performing on the field with my band, the Marching Firebirds, at Havelock High when my dad received a phone call from my oldest brother. The youngest of my eldest brothers had attempted suicide by overdosing. When I stepped off the field feeling energized and like I connected with Mr. Lancaster my parents told me what happened to my brother. The three hour drive home was the longest drive of my life. I felt like I was traveling from New York to Florida. When we finally got home my brother was about to be transferred to Beaufort County Insane Asylum (apparently if you try to commit suicide you must spend a week in this prison-like therapy hospital); right back where we were earlier. When we finally got to the Asylum, I was frustrated because I had to take off my shoe and my hoodie and leave my purse with the nurse on the first floor. My parents and I were taken into a long room with cardboard tables and lots of other patients and their families. This was one of the hardest days of my life because my brother and I were very close.

8: As I was dealing with my brothers’ attempt on suicide I really wished I could have talked to Lancaster because he was always there for me. He had experience with many students coming to him with problems of depression, suicide, and everything. He would have been able to tell me ways to handle the sadness and how to encourage my brother.

9: My senior year continues to progress and it seems as if things were getting better until Friday April 13th my life was shaken again. My dad was diagnosed with multiple myeloma cancer. He was scheduled for immediate surgery because the cancer had eaten away vertebra's in his spine. This meant daddy would be in the hospital during my senior prom. His surgery was successful, and soon prom day arrived. My boyfriend who had been a huge help in the past year was at my house trying his hardest to cheer me up while I was getting my hair all fixed up. My make-up had to be applied four times because I kept crying it off. My boyfriend and friends asked the limo driver to take us to the hospital before dinner. The limo driver agreed to take us so my daddy could see me all dressed-up. This experience was a time when I really missed Lancaster because he would know everything to say because he had overcome cancer.

11: My dad came home two weeks before I graduated high school. He had to wear a huge white back brace that I liked to refer to as “daddy’s albino turtle shell”. We spent the summer together and then August quickly came and my parents helped me move into Meredith College. At first I was really scared because I no longer had my parents there to protect me and cook for me. It did not take long for me to adjust and make friends.

12: Now I am finishing up my sophomore year and looking back I realize how all those events helped me to grow up, mature, prepare for college, and become the young women I am today. I still miss Mr. Lancaster every day, and worry about my daddy every now and then. God helps me through these times and he sent me my wonderful boyfriend, Jimmy, who helped me through all of these situations. All of these events taught me to appreciate my friends and family and cherish every moment I have with them. I learned to thank God every day for every moment I have and not to take anything for granted. I know no one is promised tomorrow, so I have to make every second I am with my friends worthwhile.

13: This book is dedicated to Michael Lancaster, my family, and friends.

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