Junior Chloe Holstine perseveres after losing her father
She played with her jacket strings, rolling and unrolling them, as her eyes shifted from the desk to around the room and focused back in front of her. Junior Chloe Holstine spoke softly but without a crack in her voice about the tragedy she faced. Rocking gently back and forth in her seat, she smiled as she talked about the support she received from her family and thought back to the days before she lost her father.
Chloe’s world was suddenly changed for the worst on the night of Oct. 31. Her father, Ronnie Holstine, was coming down the Cuesta Grade. In the downpour of rain he lost control and hydroplaned, rolling the car. Rescuers couldn’t get to him in time, and he died hours later. Chloe now had to face life without her father.
He used to take her to the lake every day after school, where they would use a friend’s dock and spend the day on jet skis and inner tubes darting around the lake. She laughed when remembering how they would love to go to Magic Mountain, and while everyone else fearfully waited on the ground, the pair would courageously conquer every scream-inducing, looping ride in the park.
The pain comes in waves for Chloe as she struggles to accept that her father is gone. She will no longer wake up to her father’s face on Christmas day or bring in the New Year with him. The tragedy feels like a surreal dream, like she will wake to have her father walk through the door, alive and well. For three years, Chloe has lived only with her dad and brother. Now, she has moved in with her aunt and cousins.
But her story isn’t one of hopelessness. Her hope comes in the form of what those who love her are giving her. In her heartbreak, her friends and family have come alongside her to provide whatever she needs. Whether they simply offer a willing listening ear or a house to stay in, they have helped her keep hopeful.
At Trinity Lutheran Church on Nov. 15, people were spilling out the doors to celebrate Ronnie’s life. Chloe’s friends came both to stand by her side and lift her up, as well as to remember a man who was like a second father to many of them. To Chloe, the service exemplified the love so many people had for her dad. The celebration of life was similarly crowded, and both showed just how strong the support backing Chloe up was.
Chloe has remained strong in her time of heartache, and says she feels she must remain solid to help her brother. Even in the most tragic of times, she will not let herself be defeated, nor would her dad want that for her.
She knows her father wouldn’t want her to live her life stuck in his death. He would want her to keep up with school and sports, and to live as if he were still there. That is exactly what she intends to do. Despite the hardship she faces, she carries on for her father, for her brother, and for herself.