As a child, losing one parent is hard enough, but losing two is traumatic. At the age of five I loss my mother. And when I say “loss” I do not mean she passed away. She was convicted on federal charges and sentenced to 20 years incarceration. At that age, I didn’t understand what was really going on but 20 years away from my mother felt like the agony and pain of death. She wouldn’t see me go to my first dance or teach me basic life skills like cooking. She was going to miss everything. I was fortunate enough that my younger brother and I were taken in by my mother’s uncle. He stepped up and gave us the home environment that we needed to grow. As the years passed the pain of losing my mother slowly went away. My great uncle became the father I never knew. He introduced me to sports, music, cooking. All of the things I thought I would miss out on without having a mother. I lived with him for almost 10 years. One day he went to the emergency room for a migraine that he’d been complaining about for weeks. He was admitted for testing. The next day he died. The doctors said he had brain cancer. What I thought was a quick trip to the hospital changed my life forever. My dad was gone and I didn’t even get to say goodbye. A piece of me died when I heard the news. My grades suffered and I became withdrawn from everything and everyone.
Advancing my education was always pushed upon me. So when I lost the man I called dad making plans for the future became difficult. I had to relocate and didn’t know what high school I would attend let alone what college. The thought of paying out of pocket for an education stressed me out but it didn’t deter me. I’ve always dreamt of becoming a veterinarian in order to save helpless animals and to have financial stability. Money or the lack there of will not stop me.
My dad did not have life insurance. The neighbors in the community we lived in donated money in order to have him cremated and the church where he was a member hosted the memorial service. Since I was only 14, no one involved me in the planning. I know that if he had a policy he would have left a significant amount of money for me and my brother to be taken care of and to attend college. Now I’m faced with figuring it out on my own.
My brother and I ended up moving in with my aunt. She’s doesn’t have much but she tries. I gave up my childhood and dreams of playing football. If I’m not in school, I’m working at my part-time job or volunteering at the nearby animal shelter. Every dollar I make is a step towards my dreams of going to college and becoming a veterinarian.