AIG Direct Recipient

Caleb Criner

AMOUNT: $10,000
SCHOOL: Community Christian College


I was in the midst of my teenage years. I truly thought life was happening for me until death happened. Just three weeks after my 16th birthday my mother transitioned to heaven. For years it was the two of us against the world, and against all odds. She was a struggling, single mother determined to get her Bachelor’s degree, and make life better for us. Very keen on education, she finished her degree, landed a great job, then “life happened.”

My mother met and married my stepfather. We were a family, but they longed for a child between the two of them; while my mother longed for her Master’s degree. After a miscarriage, my mother selflessly tried again. This time she was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer, and remained in the hospital for several months after birthing my little brother. She was unable to nurture him like she wanted, for she now needed nurturing.That’s when my grandmother (Nana) who is disabled stepped in. She became my mother’s
tireless caregiver, and even moved in with us.

Life continued to happen, just not the way I would have wanted it to. It allowed me to realize that God is the author of life. My mother held on to see my 16th birthday which was on her bucket list. As I saw her take her last breath, I received the baton she passed to me. After the burial we were notified that she did have life insurance. She just made the mistake of entrusting my stepfather as beneficiary. He now continues to make his life happen with benefits intended for the well-being of my brother and me. While he is buying new vehicles and making plans to remarry; everyday has been an emotional struggle for me.

I now live with my Nana, and I see the struggle that she has daily. She would never try to replace my mother, but she has laced up her shoes, stepped up to the plate, and is ready to swing at every curve ball that comes our way. Even when getting to see my little brother every other weekend became an issue, my Nana said to trust God. We did, and He has worked it out for us. I wanted to work and help out monetarily, but Nana said my mother would want me to play ball as if she was here. Although I didn’t get to see much playing time my Senior year, I stayed the course. When I looked in the stands I knew my mother was also there in spirit. I feel her presence daily.

I encourage those with loved ones to not trust your life insurance to others. Make your wishes and intentions valid and legally documented. I feel pressure from both my brother and my mother. One looking up, and one looking down; but both watching me. I will lace up my shoes, carry the baton, and continue the educational journey that my mother so wanted to finish.

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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