Scholarship sponsored by Life Happens Secretary Barb Pientrangelo

Armani Arnold

AMOUNT: $5,000
SCHOOL: Michigan State University

The greater the storm, the brighter the rainbow, references to my life’s journey. I witnessed a life damaging curveball that struck my heart at 9 years old. On Christmas Eve of 2010 was a peaceful evening, little did I know it wouldn’t be the same.

While counting down the hours before Christmas arrived, I witnessed the passing of my mother right before my eyes. This memory is vivid as it replays on my mind like an endless scene you can’t unsee. My mother laid on her bed saying she was hot and her heart felt funny. I touched her forehead and she was cold and sweaty. I never saw my mother who is so fearless, scared. I was hoping that my mother would be okay after the ambulance arrived at our home. Instead, she was pronounced dead at the hospital. She had a blood clot to the lungs causing her untimely death at 39 years old. It’s a hard pill to swallow knowing this was the last day my mother would ever hold me, give me and my siblings reassurance of love and seeing her smile and full of life. My mother left behind 4 children. My siblings and I walked into my mother’s hospital room seeing her lifeless body as we say our final goodbyes. I leaned on her chest and held her hand hoping she’ll wake up and this is all a bad dream. My reality reminded me it wasn’t as I looked at her body remembering the moments leading up to her death remained on replay. A joyous holiday turned into a Christmas nightmare in a blink of an eye.

The loss of my mother and my father’s absence affected my college plans because I had to support my own college expenses and personal expenses young. Three years following my mother’s passing, my father was sentenced to prison when I was only 11 years old. I had to get a job to support myself starting at 14 and not having a stable home until I was 14. Despite my circumstances, my education is my coping method as my mother always been proud of academics. I plan on becoming a defense attorney and help reform the Criminal Justice system once receiving my Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice. If my mother had life insurance I would have savings to further my education in college and not have to seek employment at a young age to financially help myself. The aftermath of my mother’s passing caused me and my siblings to split up. Me and my two brothers relocated to Detroit from Los Angeles, while my sister at age 20 remained in Los Angeles. If we had the opportunity to receive life insurance, we would not have been separated from our sister. My mother never wanted us to be apart, we could have afforded living expenses if we received life insurance. The separation caused my brothers and I to live in an unstable environment, while mourning the loss of our mother.

The Life Lessons Scholarship is made possible through individual donations and corporate sponsorships. Your financial support can make a world of difference for a young person struggling to afford a college education due to the loss of a parent or guardian.

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