Morgan Walton: When a Parent Suddenly Dies

by Jennifer Haynie @JenniferHaynie1

Bloggers Note: Today, we’ll hear from Morgan Walton, a teenager who gets caught up in a human trafficking ring in Operation Music Man. Learn what led her to the city of Nashville, TN.

Dear Daddy,

I miss you. You don’t know how much I miss you since you died so suddenly almost two years ago. So much has changed in my life since then. Your passing destroyed Mom. Maybe I’m being harsh, but my happy, joyful Mom vanished when the agents showed up to deliver the news. The new Mom moves around like a shadow. I haven’t seen her smile hardly. And it’s like she doesn’t know how to carry on a conversation anymore.

That summer after you met your death in the Arizona desert, Mom moved us from Arlington to Nashville. She said she needed to be closer to Grandma and Grandpa as well as the Pappy and Meemaw. She didn’t ask me. Or David. She just did it. Never mind that she tore us away from all we knew and loved—our friends, our school, our activities. At least my brother adjusted well. He’s outgoing and all. I’m not, and it’s been really hard.

At least Facebook and Instagram have kept me connected to my friends in Virginia, but even that’s fading over time. I’m so lonely now. Sophomore year was hard. I think I spent the entire year eating lunch by myself. It’s just hard for me to make friends. I mean, what do I say when they ask what my dad does? That he died? That his buddies at the FBI turned their backs on us when they suspected he was neck deep in crime? Yes, don’t think I missed all of the whispers. I heard them all. I found it easier to be by myself. I tried out for the cross country track teams and made it, but I didn’t do so great, not like I did in Arlington.

It’s been hard on us financially as well. Mom lost any pension, and we wound up having to move in with Grandma and Grandpa for six months. I guess that was okay except that they’ve been so sad as well. Everyone’s been so sad. I’m so tired of crying. Then, over Spring Break, we moved to the townhouse where we live now.

Right after we moved in, Mom set up a shrine to you. She’s got that family portrait there from a couple of years ago. And the flag that draped on your coffin. And pictures of all of us. We were all so smiling and happy then. It feels so fake now. Each time I looked at it, the grief hit me all over again. Finally, around the New Year, I asked Mom if we could kind of break that up because it made me so sad. She screamed at me and told me I didn’t care about you or her. Nothing could be further from the truth. She and I haven’t spoken a civil word to each other since then.

That hurt me so badly, Daddy. I miss you so terribly. I mean, I’ve got pictures of you and me all over my room. I was a Daddy’s girl, and I loved that place of honor in your heart. I totally withdrew after my big fight with Mom, quit the track team, couldn’t concentrate on my studies. I wound up finding friends, though. Probably ones you wouldn’t like because they party so hard. But at least I feel like I belong.

And I met Wes six months ago during the fall. He’s been such a good friend to me. We started going out. You’d probably cringe because I know he’s in college when I’m only sixteen. But he gets me, and that’s what I need. He’s so understanding, and I feel like I can talk to him about anything.

Now it’s St. Patrick’s Day. Mom told me I had to study for my test. But how can I when I’m meeting Wes at a party? I’ve lied and said I’m meeting a friend to study for the test. Wes will meet me there. Then we’ll see what happens.

Daddy, I love you and miss you. You held that special place of honor in my heart. #OMM #LastChanceSeries #AmReading #Suspense Share on X

I love you and will always miss you.


Question: After reading Morgan’s letter, why do you think she’s vulnerable to human trafficking?

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