Before I become unmotivated and decide I don’t want to do this, I’m going to start. today we’re going to talk about the Cayman Islands. So the reason I’m starting off in the Cayman islands, I’ll start when I’m nine. That very first vacation shaped the future of my life.
When I was nine years old, my mom’s birthday was January 5th. So Christmas, my dad would just make it like my mom’s birthday for us to travel, because we all had school off, my sisters and I, I have two older sisters, it was perfect. I wasn’t raised Christian, I was raised Baháʼí. We all got Christmas presents on Christmas just because it’s Christmas, but we also got presents in February, after my birthday. it was like my birthday, then it was presents, presents, presents, presents. I used to love that, that was awesome.
However, when I was nine, my dad surprised my mom for her birthday and he was going to take us all to the Cayman islands. Now I don’t remember how long it was. It seemed like a couple weeks, but it was probably just a week. That first trip, we had an amazing time. We’d had such a great time that my parents signed up for a timeshare in the Caymans. So that is something that they want to do on a regular basis, go down there. That’s how much fun we had. I don’t have very many stories from the first trip. This small, little story, it was at one nice restaurant and we ran out of money on the credit card. So we had to go back and go get cash, but that’s not really to the story.
So fast forward a year later. So that first year, if we had a horrible time, we probably wouldn’t have wanted to go back. My parents wouldn’t have bought into a timeshare. So we invested heavily into the Cayman islands. So again, the Caymans were going to be one of our yearly trips. We got our timeshare, and it was beautiful. upstairs, downstairs, a beautiful condo. It was two bedrooms. And then the downstairs, had a pull out couch. My parents had one bedroom, my sisters had the other room, and then I had downstairs. Which was cool because I had downstairs. I had the kitchen. I had TV. I had everything that I wanted. The bed wasn’t the most comfortable, but whatever.
The second year, it was great. The resort had like everything you can think of pools. It had different beaches you could go to, different activities that you could go to. So one thing that my mom would love to do is go snorkeling. Well, that’s one thing that we did first year, we went snorkeling and we fell in love with snorkeling. And then my mom and dad, I guess this is where I get it from, it was probably my mom because my mom rubbed off on me more, whenever she gets an idea, she’ll just go all the way in and not think, and not put the two feet in, and jump in. And not even put the foot in, and she’s jumping all the way in.
So that first year when we enjoyed… Now, wait a minute, what are we doing at home? So before the Cayman’s, we had just remodeled the entire house. My mom wanted a bigger kitchen. So we moved out. I forgot all about this. We’ll rewind a little bit. Because you have to realize, everything in life was going amazing. We had just remodeled our house. We added a sunroom. And my mom wanted to have a laundry room upstairs, because it was closer. we added a pool and then we added a little shed. This is what reminded me about the shed. After we went to the Cayman’s she loved snorkeling, we bought every piece of gear, for all five of us, known to man, known to snorkeling. If she thought it could help us, she bought it. So we’d have big duffel bags and we stored them out there. That’s what triggered that memory. And then, because everything switched right after, so I’m trying to think, what year did we start remodeling the house. So I’m guessing eight, nine years old is when we started remodeling the house. Why does the remodel of the house matter? Because at that point in time, my dad had been promoted, he was a doctor. my parents were about to shoot up in the economic world. This is the beginning of the internet] and my dad was all tech. So I guess my mom would jump into new things, and my dad was all interested in learning new things. At least that’s kind of what I remember, at least. Wow. Kind of going on a tangent.
The fact that we remodeled the house, we had just put a pool in, put a brand new room, remodeled the kitchen, and did everything on the house. So when you’re picturing a picturesque family, that’s what it was. I guess my mom had a temper, but other than that, my dad knew how to deal with it very well. He was very calm and slow, even with me, I have tempers too, he would always calm me down be like, “Erik, you have two choices in this situation.” He was always the mediator. if my mom was on a rampage, then he would pretty much just tell all the kids to go downstairs, “Mom’s just really mad,” and diffuse the entire situation. Now, which would piss my mom off sometimes. But it was a fun situation. My dad adored my mom. She was everything to him.
After the first year, again, my mom was happy, so he was happy. we invested in going to The Cayman Islands a second year. The second year, we went snorkeling even more. My dad and my sister wanted to go scuba diving. Now, it’s something that I wanted to do as well. I was bigger than my sister, but when they told me that I wasn’t allowed to go scuba diving, it really frustrated me. With that frustration, I was very passive aggressive. No one seemed to pay attention to how pissed I was. So I was plotting and scheming, but there’s only so much you can do when you’re 10 years old. Right? So all day long I’m going with the suba people. I’m going with them to go swimming in the pool. my plan was, if they allowed me to do all the stuff, all the preparations, then hopefully there’ll be like, “Yeah, he’s good. He’s ready to go. He’s big enough.” And bypass my age. Mind you, to this point, I’ve never been scuba diving. So I’m still kind of frustrated about this situation, because I would have loved to go. I still would love to go. I don’t know why I haven’t gone.
So as an angry little ten-year-old, I wanted to get my sister back. I was jealous and I didn’t know how to get her back. My mom and dad were going to go on a date after my sister and my dad returned from scuba diving. they made us some stuffed shells, the pasta with some cream cheese or whatever is in it. My eldest sister was going to babysit us. Sandlot was turned on. my mom and dad set out. you know when you say goodbye to everybody, we were still kids so we were saying goodbye to our parents and walked them out to the car.
Remember, I was pissed at my sister. Well, not really pissed at my sister, pissed at the situation. I ran back into the house and locked them out. when I did that, they’re older than I am, but they were females and they’re a little bit more dramatic than probably they needed to be. And my mom and dad, I think they had a reservation or something, they weren’t too happy about the situation, about me locking my sisters out of the house. So my dad and my mom proceeded, well, mostly my dad, I don’t remember my mom very much, my dad proceeded to yell and scream at me and basically said, I’m always joking around and I needed to be serious. I need to stop playing, basically. So that’s affected me a lot, because if you wonder why I am very serious most of the time, because what happened after.
What happened after is, it went in one ear and out the other. So I was like, “Yeah. Okay.” So I let them in, and it was all right. And then they left and things went back to normal. But when things went back to normal, we were watching The Sandlot and ate our food, and then we got a phone call. And it was someone we’ve never heard before. We didn’t know who it was, and they said that they would be over. I think it was my eldest sister who answered the phone. I don’t remember those details very well. my eldest sister said, “There’s people coming over. We need to clean up.” at the time we thought it was going to be people showing the house. We didn’t know why people would be coming over. My eldest sister was like, “Let’s clean the house.” So we spent the next, I don’t know, I was a kid, just felt like forever, cleaning the house. And then once we were done, I was back sitting down, watching my movie.
Well, when the people came over… Now, I’m frustrated still, to this day, about this situation. When I was older… Well, no, let me explain what happened first. When we got to the Cayman Islands, the second time, my dad being a doctor and always wanted to be safe, had rented a safer car. Well, they didn’t have the car that we were looking for. So we ended up having a little rinky dink car. Didn’t have seat belts. ’91or ’89 Nissan Sentra, maybe. Don’t quote me. I know it was one of those small, little cars. So foreshadowing, the car.
The ladies came over and they told us to come together, they had something they needed to tell us. We were under the understanding that they wanted to see the house. Because that’s what my sister said. They didn’t give us any fair warning about why they were coming over, so we only had to guess. I was 10, my middle sister was 12, and my older sister was 14. We were in a different country, on vacation, and we’re all kids. Just thinking of a 14 year old right now, it’s just crazy. And looking at a 10 year old, Oh my God, you’re a baby. But the ladies, there were three of them, I think. I only really remember two, but there could have been three. They told us there had been an accident, and my mom was in the hospital, in critical condition. they didn’t say anything about my dad. And I think it was my middle sister who asked, “What about my dad?” And they said he didn’t make it. Then they told us what happened, that when they were driving, it was a small two lane road, when they were driving, we were in the Cayman’s, so I’m American, so we drove on the opposite side of the road. I wasn’t in the car, so I’m not sure. What I was told is, when my dad was going around a turn they veered on the wrong side of the road and hit a van head on.
When I was 22 I was in Tacoma. I finally got the pictures and I got to see the accident. And the pictures still had the blood on the seats and everything. And it was heavy. Because one, they didn’t let us see it when we were younger. So I wanted to kind of open that chapter and close that chapter and see what happened. It was one of those accidents you see on the road and you’re like, “Yeah, no one survived that.”
So back to the ladies, just telling us that my dad didn’t make it. My middle sister went crazy, walking up and down the stairs. I think my eldest sister went crazy. I don’t really remember what I did. Before we went to the hospital, they had us call friends and family. we made some phone calls. Then they put us into the car and they drove us to the hospital to go see our mom. Like I said, when we passed the accident, they wouldn’t let us look at it because they didn’t want to traumatize us. So they pushed our heads down. I tried to look, but they wouldn’t let me. it was bad.
We got to the hospital and they brought us to our mom, she was in really bad condition. She had tubes all throughout her nose. She couldn’t talk really. If you’ve ever seen the tubes in their nose after an accident, there’s blood and everything is coming out of them. It’s not the clean stuff that’s coming out. And she was in bad condition, but she was able to tell us that our dad didn’t make it. And I think she said that we were going to be okay or something…
Then the nurses took us into the next room where there was a curtain. They opened the curtain and there was my dad. We had to identify the body. there was one person on the Island who was a Baháʼí, as well. And he met us at the hospital. How in the world, they got… How they got someone to talk to us, I don’t know. But we were, just the three of us, in a world that we don’t know. Mom’s in the hospital, and dad just died. Now, the Baháʼí came and he said prayers with us and things… And he did the best he could to reassure us that everything’s going to be okay. But what are you really going to tell a 10 year old, a 12 year old, and a 14 year old who’s just lost their dad and their mom is in critical condition.
we made it through that night. The three ladies, I’m guessing, I remember three on the way back, so the three ladies brought us back to the condo. All three of us slept together, my sisters and I. there were two beds upstairs, they put the beds together and the three of us slept together to be close. The next day, family started to arrive. the management of the condo, the owners of it, they basically took care of us for a little bit. They gave us Christmas presents, And they just watched over us until our family came.
My first aunt and uncle came, they were the first ones to arrive. They were also the closest, they were in the Carolinas. They lived in the same city we did. So they got there first. And then my mom’s side of the family started creeping in. And my uncle that I’m named after, I’m pretty sure he came as he was very close with the family. He was there for us often.
No one was really prepared for what happened. And I don’t think anyone in their right mind, if they were to tell you that this would happen, that they would have believed it. So what happens to us? We go see our mom. for the next week, she’s slowly but surely coming back to life. I forgot who left the island first, whether it was my mom or my sisters and I, they chartered my mom back on a private plane . Because she was still in terrible condition. my grandfather was still alive at the time, he wanted her back in America. he chartered a plane with nurses, it had to be with nurses, and got her back home. Once back home, she was in the hospital.
When we got home, we had some family, friends come, which was really nice. Just because my dad and his dad were best friends. My mom, his mom were best friends. And then the two of us, we’re the same age, so we were basically best friends. So it was really great having my best friend come down, or one of my best friends, my next door neighbor was also my best friend from when I was growing up. But it was a little different, because that was my next door neighbor, he was more like my brother. we didn’t stay at our house, we stayed at some other people’s houses. So when my friend came it was cool, having someone with me and not being alone. And then we moved home. And my mom finally came home. She was in a wheelchair for a while. And that’s that. That’s the Cayman Island story.
Now the next story, we’ll talk about my mom coming home and what happened in middle school, because I was in sixth grade… No, I was in fifth grade. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was in fifth grade. Because then the next year, I was in sixth grade. Yeah, I was in fifth grade when this happened. Wow. when you think of it like that. I was in fifth grade. That’s crazy. But I will talk to you later and we’ll discuss middle school.