On February 27th 1992, my wife and I experienced the most amazing feeling we could have ever imagined, the birth of our daughter Amanda. It was love that was stronger than anything that we had ever felt before. Through the years as Amanda grew, we enjoyed every second, being involved with her school, sports and friends. Amanda was our life, and she always knew how to make us smile. As Amanda grew older our bond grew stronger each day, and there was nothing we wouldn’t do for her.
On January 17th 2009 our life as we knew it came to an end. We received a phone call at 8:30 that morning telling us that Amanda was sick, so my wife and I went to pick her up from a friend’s house. Upon arrival, we saw many emergency vehicles around the house. We didn’t know what was going on until we pulled up behind the ambulance and saw that they were performing CPR on Amanda. It’s an image I still can’t get out of my head and haunts me every night when I try to close my eyes. Prior to that night, Amanda had such a busy week with school, work and other events. She asked us if would be okay if she slept over at her friend’s house and of course we agreed, feeling she had earned it. In retrospect, the worst decision we ever made! When we arrived at Mercy Hospital we were told what had happened at the house, and then they explained that Amanda had suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning, and could not be saved.
One thing we always taught Amanda was that you don’t always have to like everyone, but you do have to be nice to them, and Amanda always lived by that. She had more friends than I could have imagined. Everyone loved her and just wanted to be around her with her incredible sense of humor. She always had a knack for bringing the good out in people.
Amanda’s biggest love was school. West Seneca West High School was her life, and she never missed a day. Sometimes we would tease her about going because she was such a fashion guru and she knew it. Amanda was very involved in school, and it paid off for her, as she was always on the Honor Roll, a member of the Spanish Honor Society, and most of all the swim team, which was her passion. She wasn’t the best swimmer, but she had the biggest heart on the team, as her team mates will tell you. She brought out the best in every team mate and always did it with a big smile.
From that unimaginable day on, life has not and will not be the same. I feel as if I am just living to die. We sit in our house now missing all the laughter and feeling of a family. It’s not a home anymore. It’s just a house. If the emptiness doesn’t kill me, the guilt will for not keeping my baby safe.