She is . .

November 14, 2008
“You need to call your mother” Cortney said, “I can’t deal with your s*** anymore.” Somehow my stepmother’s words were less hurtful than striking. After a hectic weekend I guess you could only expect the worst after walking inside the house at 7 AM. My father was on deployment and I was left in a home with a woman that considered me an unpalatable presence in her life, and a innocent little brother who had no clue. Who was I turning into? Am I really that bad? I called my mother to gather myself and break away from this displeasing reality. However, a small conversation turned into a meaningful dilemma. “Your Lola has cancer, Victoria.” The word Lola is grandmother in Tagalog, and the most important family member in our heritage.

“When did you find out?” I asked in confusion. “I thought they were back in the Philippines?” Before she could respond, I was fighting back tears, and my sense of emotion was instantly numb. “We didn’t want you to worry. Auntie Dionne and Uncle Dennis tried calling you last week.” Regardless of the time passed, it was difficult to grasp the concept. Suddenly falling to the floor, I was on my knees praying for a miracle, something to comfort the sour feeling in my stomach. Nothing could pick me up at that point. My mother sat in silence with her own fears as I sobbed into my knees with the phone somewhere nearby. I knew she could hear me, but no one was there to hold me. I cried to myself for hours. Not enough breath to speak, I didn’t respond before ending the call.

Shortly after, I moved to Virginia to be with my family, which was a good idea since the home life wasn’t working at the moment anyways. Potomac Falls accepted me fairly fast, but the adjustment was really hard. My mind was focusing on other things. I tended to lose focus in school and my grades continued to fall. Since then I have matured enough to realize that I have to make the most of the situation, and do my best. My Lola continues to stand by my side, even though she has her own worries. She is the strongest woman I know, and I am grateful she’s been there to raise me to be like her. Eleven months ago she was small and frail, but she continues to regain her health. A month short of a year, I’ve gotten myself together and continue to improve my grades tremendously. When giving up was the easiest solution, my Lola was still smiling and keeping us together despite the troubles we faced.

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