The First Friday Night of the School Year

The second school year after my dad’s death brought unforeseen sadness, including my first marching band performance of the year.

Students lined up for marching band.

The first school year I began without my dad being alive was crazy. I had already lived through more than half of my last school year without him, but starting the school again and having all of my “firsts” without him being around was rough. All of the habits and routines that I had created in the past were suddenly thrown out the window.


The first day of school I attempted to look nice for my “first day” photos. After our mini photoshoot, I looked through all of thes ones we had taken, and my first instinct was to send them to my dad. But, I couldn’t.


Hours later, after school ended and I made it home, I remembered that I had to text my dad and tell him about my day. Except, I didn't have to that year.


All sorts of little things like this kept on happening for the first few days of school, occurring less and less frequently as the days went by. Just as I thought all of the new school year firsts were over, however, one of the biggest ones came: my first marching band show of the year.


Ever since I could join band in elementary school, I have been in it. While I may not be the best at music (Or, honestly, be any good.), I have always enjoyed it. So, when I was old enough to sign up for marching band, I obviously did it without a second thought.


We got uniforms, shoes, gloves, hats, and everything. I was thrilled: I was in something cool! I remember asking my dad to come to our first parade, but he couldn’t because of a reason I can’t remember. He said, “Is it okay if I don’t come to this one? I can instead go to your football performances.”


He never made it to one.


The morning of the first football game of the season, I remember being in third period when a thought came to me: If my dad was alive, he would be here. But, he’s not.


I began to think of the year before. Every single game, when we marched onto the field and began playing, I would scan the crowd. I did it subconsciously, not even realizing what I was doing, but I had the same goal every time: to find a face that I’d never see again.


As the rest of that Friday went on, I kept on thinking about the game that night. Would I still look for my dad? Would I be okay? All sorts of thoughts rushed through my mind, yet I couldn’t figure out what was going to happen.


Finally, the time came. I went home after school, ate, and came back to the school. Dressed in my band uniform, with my instrument somewhere, I was ready to go.


When we went outside, lined up, and started marching to the stadium, I felt anxiety. How would I react? Would I cry? I don’t often cry but it’s bad when I do. As we got closer and closer to the stadium, more and more people were watching us. I felt anxiety, not sure what was going to happen.


I was okay. Things went well, and I was really happy during it. But, my old habits were still there, and as we marched out onto the field for our halftime show I found myself scanning the crowd, as usual, looking for a face that I did not find, yet I still searched for at every game: My dad’s.



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Written by Natalie Adams, the creator of Teenage Grief Sucks. Photo by Katrina Berban.

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