That day when I returned home from school, my mom’s boyfriend called me asking to speak to my grandmother. Typically, Gus would call my grandmother himself if he wanted to speak with her, which was rare. I found out about my mom going to the hospital from my grandmother after that phone call. The doctor told my family that a stroke afflicted her in the middle of the day. My mom confused the date with her birthday, had trouble getting words out and remembering our family member’s names. The nurse had to take her for walks periodically and exercise her legs and arms because they were weak. Seeing my mother in this condition made me appreciate my mother and everything she does for me tremendously. However, I was terrified for my mother’s health.
My Mother and Father relocated from Costa Rica to New York City where they met got married and where I was born. When I was just two years old, always wanting the best for us, my father moved our family from New York City to Jacksonville, FL in search of a better paying job and the American dream so he could provide us with a better quality of life. To ensure we were always clothed and feed, my father sacrificed everything for us and worked long hours to do so. Though I did have a pronounced, safe and active upbringing the North Florida school system didn’t expect much from the Hispanics that were starting to move to the then small town; unfortunately since my parents worked so much they expected the school system
On May 11th 2013, my grandma passed away due to pancreatic cancer. A little later that year on September 25th, my mom received a call from my aunt in Guam that my dad had passed away in his sleep. Then on May 14th 2014, my grandpa passed from complications of an allergic reaction to a medication. So within a year, I was left to deal with three immediate family deaths, one right after another. Losing such important figures in one’s life could leave someone depressed and unmotivated to move on with their own life and to rise above those challenges is difficult, yet possible. During this time of hardship, I grew discouraged and saddened, but over time I became motivated to set aside these struggles and make a change.
My grandmother’s parents immigrated to Johnstown, Pennsylvania from a small town in Poland close to Warsaw. As a young child she spoke two languages Polish at home and English when she went to school or with friends. Life started out very difficult and never really got any easier.. Her life continued to get worse when she lost her husband in a mining accident and her eldest son to a car accident. My grandma used to tell me the stories of their deaths, and how it taught her how strong she really is. She turned the hardships in her life into something beautiful, something joyous, and something sentimental. These moments shaped her into who she is, but they do not define her. These moments that she shares allow me to move on and find something joyful about every situation even if they are not be ideal. When my grandfather passed away my grandmother gave me the strength to look on the brighter side of the situation instead of the sad side.
Even six year old me could see the great suffering my father experienced not only mentally but physically. I recall once walking in the bathroom and seeing my father vomit, it was the first time I seen him so vulnerable. I could see the pain in his eyes. It was our third month in the united states and my father could not find a job, it was killing him. He was considering a job as a dishwasher to support his family, for that I could never repay him. A sprinkle of hope glimmered in our dark world when my dad got a job as a dispatcher at a local Airport, when I look back now I wonder if father ever felt disappointed that his hard nights of studying in college was futile, if he know that he would have to give up his career to support his family. Soon we moved out of my aunt and uncle’s how’s into a small one bedroom apartment in a sketchy neighborhood. By that time my mother has lost a total of thirty pounds. The once vibrant and sociable women was always tired, she often made called relatives back home which resulted in her crying for hours. My father would often cook and clean, it was fascinating to see my dad performing these tasks
After my father graduated from college, He moved around to look for more opportunities to further his education. Later on; he married my mother, and they decided to move to Yemen from Somalia. The decision was mostly made because they witnessed their family and friends being killed and tortured during the Somalian civil war. In Yemen, my father taught in an elementary school and he loved his job. However, one day all of our lives changed dramatically. One day my father was taking his usual route through the mountains to get to work, and suddenly he lost balance over a rock and fell downhill. The freak accident left him paralyzed for life because he went through a seizure that caused paraplegia. Since he was the sole provider for our family,
On January 5, 2009 my father pasted away. He and I did not have the typical father-son relationship; we did not have a relationship at all. I presumed that it would have a little if any affect on me. However, as the semester continued, it seemed to get worse. Besides my father’s passing, several weeks later my grandmother was diagnosed with dementia. It was difficult for me to deal with, but it was more difficult for my mother to handle.
One late summer night when I was 11, my father came in my room and told me he would be leaving for a while. That entire summer I was confused on where he was and what he was doing, all I could find where small clues about my father’s whereabouts ; such as my step-mom crying as she found secret bank accounts, hidden phones, and other peculiar pieces of information. There were whispers between the adults in the family but being 11 I assumed it did not concern me. The end of that summer, my father came home and told the rest family that he was in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility. I was shocked, before he remarried my father was all I had left since my mother died when I was a toddler, but he was now clean and was ready to mend the family.
Dad and I grew apart after that. We just drowned in our sorrows, too far away to help each other up. And just two months after Mom’s death, Dad went. “Suicide” they called it. It was murder. No matter how desperate or depressed he was, Dad would never kill himself. He wouldn’t leave his only child behind, letting them slowly die by themselves from the pain. Dad would never.
I joined the Marine Corps looking for a challenge. I wanted to open doors for a new career and longed to have a positive impact on the world around me. Looking back five years later, I realize I found all that I originally sought, but I’ve also found something profoundly satisfying and meaningful that I never knew I was missing.
When he collapsed from treatment-induced pulmonary complications and a flash metastasis, it was like waking into my worst nightmare. Three days later I watched my father take his last breath as he was surrounded by his family, his mother, wife, daughter and me. He drifted away over the course of 10 min or so, slowly fading. I remember thinking it was like watching him sail away on deployment with the Navy. The next few weeks are still a blur of emotion even 24 years later. I remember calling out the time when he took his last breath matter-of-factly. I remember saying I was ok, but within 10 minutes or so I was running down the hospital floor hall crying and eventually screaming in sorrow in the hospital floor waiting room at Bethesda Naval Hospital. We had the funeral 7 days later on Dec 23rd of 1992, and 900 miles away at a National Cemetery in Florida. I remember nothing of that Christmas beside the funeral. It was several more years before I fully understood and appreciated my feelings regarding my father’s death, and even now grief can still affect me especially on the
My father passed away in 1991, two weeks before Christmas. I was 25 at the time but until then I had not grown up. I was still an ignorant youth that only cared about finding the next party. My role model was now gone, forcing me to reevaluate the direction my life was heading. I needed to reexamine some of the lessons he taught me through the years.
My father was gone from home from when he woke up to when he had to go to sleep (past tense because he is currently unemployed due to a terrible accident that occurred two years ago), for the extensive hours he had to put in for extra money going into our savings for a better house in a better part of town—unlike our current small mobile home. During the one week out of the year he received vacation with pay, he took us nearby cities like San Antonio and South Padre Island to spend time with him. Although it was not enough to spend time with my dad, it made me realize how thankful I am for a hardworking father like him. He inculcates his thoughts, hopes, and dreams with my siblings and I, hoping we would not follow his footsteps of lack of education. Seeing my father be as hardworking through all he has been through, taking his abusive childhood into consideration, impacted my child self to realize one of the true meanings of life—make the most of what you can and make the best out of the
Late middle school my grandfather suffered from a minor shortly followed by a major stroke that left him unable to use the left half of his body. From March 25, 2008 to May 25, 2011 my grandfather constantly needed the attention of another. Witnessing my grandfather’s health slowly deteriorate has caused me to be more sympathetic towards other. Seeing how my grandfather’s passing others showed me that regardless of how strong physically and mentally an individual may be, losing a loved one is a dreadful experience. While volunteering at Sutter Memorial I always remembered how my family was affected and this helped me help them through frightful feelings of seeing a loved one in a grim
On September 12, 2017 my family and I were about to eat dinner, when my mother received a call. As I was swirling the delicious spaghetti with my fork, I overheard my mother say in a startling voice,“ You're kidding! This coming Monday?” When my mother ended the call she said,” Gabriel is deploying sooner.” I replied,” How soon?” I could see my mother’s eyes beginning to turn teary and red. She choked