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My Life


Maureen White

It was May 25th, 1991. I awoke to the sound of talking and ambulance sirens. Walking into the living room of my father's apartment, I encountered great commotion, appearing to be some sort of low-key party. The people who were present, some known to me, some unknown, were talking about my father. At first, myself and my sister did not understand what was going on. 

My Nan approached me and I said, "Nan, what's going on?" She answered, in her thick southern accent, "Nicky, Daddy's gone away for awhile." 

At first thought, I believed he had simply skipped town to get away from the city, family problems, and his life in general. This made sense to me; others in my family had spoken of it.

Later the same day, I was seated on the sofa in my Aunt Maureen's living room, encircled by the women of my family. My sister, seated next to me, was obviously as oblivious to what was going on as I. Within the ten minutes following, my sister and I received the worst news any seven-and five-year-old children could imagine. 

"Daddy died last night." I don't exactly remember who said it, but the words still ring clear in my memory. At this point, everything else becomes a blur. My vision was smeared by tears, my emotions poured freely, emotions that neither I nor anyone else knew I possessed. The world around me stopped; nothing existed except for me, and the pain I was feeling.

This is the earliest memory I have, and for a while afterward, I cannot remember much. As a direct result of this event, I went from being a straight-A student in the first grade to a near-failure in the second grade. For quite a long time after, the fact that I would never see my father again loomed over my head, an evil ready to dive down on me, but one that I could not expunge, for it was intangible. For quite a while, I allowed this to destroy my attitude toward life, and being my first encounter with death, I allowed it to make me want to die. Nothing could have helped me to rise above the woes life dealt.

Not long after this event, my mother became so greatly dependent on heroin, and any other number of narcotics, that there was seldom enough money to even supply dinner for the family. My mother had entered into an abusive relationship, which turned into abuse of me. This relationship lasted for quite a while, which ended for a short time, for me, due to the loss of our apartment to fire. Whether my mother was so delusional from her incredible addiction, or actually thought that the relationship was normal, I may never know. 

During the course of my mother's relationship, my sister and I became 'communal family property,' to put a label on our status. Needless to say, schoolwork was not at the top of my priority list, and therefore suffered greatly.

After living with two of my aunts, as a part of their family, I wound up with my mother's brother, where I had spent seven and one half years, where I did not feel as though I was a part of the family. At present, I am again living with my Aunt Maureen where I am doing much better, emotionally and educationally. 

After a prolonged grieving period over not only the passing of my father, but the loss of my mother to drugs, I realized with the help of family and friends, that life does not end for one when it ends for another. This encouraged me to pick up my young life and at least attempt to succeed. It took awhile to pick myself up from the ditch I had placed myself in, but I did well enough to gain admission to Central High School. 

Although life has dealt its share of blows, I have still successfully completed three years at Central, and upon graduation, I am prepared to take on the next set of challenges. Through over thirteen years of school, I have learned that effort is what matters. 

Effort is what gave me the edge in overcoming life's obstacles. Effort allowed me to succeed in elementary, middle, and high school. Effort helped me in applying to college, and I am sure will ensure my success. After a short lifetime of overcoming, I am prepared to take life head on, and to conquer the battles that life will throw my way.

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