Through out my long 17 years, the biggest thing I’ve learned to grow from was loss. Now, that may sound some what contradicting, but it has been something I’ve learned to cope with and have gained strength from.
I was only a year old when my mom was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She was then operated on one year later with hopes of removing the cancerous cells. Being a year old, I couldn’t worry for my mom, but when I look back, I see the many times God could have taken her away from us, but decided to keep her along side our family.
September 13th, 2004, six months after my seventh birthday was the day I learned my uncle, my best friend, was taken from me. He was shot in the chest numerous times for what seemed to be no reason whatsoever. My uncle was a big brother to me. Always there when I needed him, always there for my birthdays, always there when I was sick. ‘Always’ was our thing.
A year later, my family decided to move to New Jersey. A place not even close to where I moved from, Puerto Rico. At that point it was my father, mother, big sister, little sister, baby brother, and me. With six mouths to feed, six bodies to be clothed, and an apartment rent to be paid, my parents had to eventually do what they never wanted to do. Look to the government for help. It made them feel like they weren’t good enough to keep their family striving; my parents don’t enjoy having people feel pity for us. But it was their only choice. My dad finally got a job offer, but the only thing holding him back was the fact that it was over a thousand miles away. Since it was the only hope for our family, my dad decided to take the job offer and go to Miami on his own. Things were going well for him after a couple months until a business partner stole everything from their shared bank account and disappeared. My dad being an immigrant from Peru at the time, couldn’t do anything in his own defense. We were alone in New Jersey and my dad was alone in Miami, so we decided to move to Miami to be together. Things then turned ninety degrees south and completely plummeted.
Having no place to stay and no other family, a family friend with a two bedroom, one bathroom apartment, was generous and kind enough to allow our six family members reside with their four family members for some time. They eventually grew tired of us and threw us out. We lived in motel after motel until my parents had not even a penny to their name. That’s when we hit rock bottom and ended in the streets. Another loss. Calling help line, after help line, my parents took the dreaded option, a homeless shelter.
I learned to mature at such a young age from everything I have gone through. No toys, no friends, only family. We spent a little over four months in the homeless shelter until we were strong enough to stand up on our own. We found an apartment in Miami Beach and my parents both had jobs. things were going well when “bam” we got hit again. My grandfather passed away from a heart attack (another loss), my mom wasn’t taking proper care of herself, and the cancer came back. My family and I spent three months without seeing my strong mom while she was going through chemo and radioactive therapy. she finally came back and we were able to move into a house with a huge yard. Our family was closer than ever, everyone was healthy, we adopted two puppies, my mom worked in a hospital after getting her college degree, my dad worked for an electrical company . And then again, as soon as we begin to grow, we begin to lose. Both of my parents got laid off form work, we couldn’t pay rent, my dad got a job offer in Texas, and the whole cycle began once again.
While in Texas, my family, my aunt, and her husband’s family got in a tremendous argument. After that family feud, I lost contact with my aunt and my cousins. My dad’s job offer was a lie all thanks to my aunt’s husband, and a year later we moved back to Florida. Once again, we were homeless. Motel, after motel, after motel. This time we didn’t end u in the streets or a homeless shelter, but we nearly reached that stage.
It took my parents so much work to get to where we are now. Living in a four bedroom, two bathroom home, with a family pet, two cars of our own, but yet we still struggle most of the time. Both financially and emotionally. I almost lost my big sister, Nicole, to suicide three times.
Through my long 17 years, I have come to understand that my life consists of loss. Family loss, cancer-diagnosed mom, poverty, homelessness, bullying, suicide attempts, I have witnessed all. Many of which so many people have been blessed with not having to go through. At one point in my life, I thought bulimia was the answer to coping with the stress, frustration, and everything else that was going on around me, but it was a huge mistake that’ll never be repeated. I want to succeed in life and show that one can become anything from nothing. Engineering has been my career choice since I entered the eighth grade. From there, I went on into enrolling in an engineering program my freshman year and continued with engineering classes when I moved back to Florida. It’s something I fell in love with and will pursuit in the future to come.
I want to prove that loss isn’t always bad. I somehow go through every day smiling and trying my best to make others smile because of the experiences I’ve gone through that helped me understand many others. I don’t regret any second of my life, not one loss.