Feeling a bit lost during my senior year without my dad


Leilani Patino, El Rodeo Staff Writer

You don’t expect to lose someone you’re really close to, but everything changes when you do.

When I say everything changes, I mean everything, your whole life changes.

My dad worked on campus as the head SSO and the head varsity baseball coach during my freshman and sophomore years. I would come to school with him every day. We walked in the gates together every morning, always being the first people on campus. We ate lunch together, drove home together, even talked baseball lineups together. 

In my junior year, we had to do school online due to the pandemic but my dad was still coaching baseball at home with boys of all ages.

Later on in the year, I lost my dad to Leukemia.

Losing my dad was something I never imagined would happen and at such a young age you don’t really know what to expect.

I knew coming back to school would be different, especially because he wasn’t going to be on campus but I for sure didn’t expect it to be this different. From the staff to the coaches, even the way things are run on campus: There are no golf carts driven around, the bells ring earlier, and the gates open later. 

Transferring from another district to be with my dad, I always thought I would come to school with my dad all four years of high school. I looked forward to being with my dad my senior year. I wanted him to recognize me on senior night, and be at my graduation. 

Now, I drive myself to school, watch baseball practice, see the new SSO’s, and wonder what it would be like if he were still here. 

I remember walking the long way to class my sophomore year just to talk to my dad. I had sports medicine fourth period in Q1 but I would walk from my third period the long way to go see my dad by the A building. He would always stand in front of the activities office and tell me “pick up your shoulders,” because of my hunched shoulders.

I wanted everyone to know that he was my dad. I was so proud of who he was. 

Looking back at our conversations we had during passing periods, I wish I would’ve told him that I loved him, or even thanked him for everything he did for me. Maybe just even once.