My dad basically left when I was born. I don't hold that against him, but he just wasn't there. My mom, she was in and out...I mean, she tries to be there now, but it's not really the same. So I was pretty much raised by my grandparents. Then in 2009 when I was 14, my grandfather passed out and caught an aneurysm in front of me. I was losing it. I didn't know what state of mind to be in. Later he was on life support and somebody had to pull the plug, So I had to go to the hospital and say my final goodbyes. I couldn't believe it. He pretty much raised me; he was like a dad to me.

I really didn't know how it affected me until now. I started dressing differently. I smile less. I used to be more outgoing, but now I'm more closed in. I wear his sweatshirt all of the time to remember him by. I'm close to a handful of my friends, but I lost touch with a lot of them. I don't really go outside a lot or go out as much. I'm not really open to talking to people and I don't like group activities. I'm more introverted. My grades stayed the same, though, because I figured he would want me to do well in school. I was gonna make him proud. It more affected how I got along with people around me. But I didn't realize how it affected me until now.

I couldn’t believe it. He pretty much raised me; he was like a dad to me.

I'm not sure how my mother reacted because I haven't seen her in a while. But my grandmother is a lot more depressed. She's not the vibrant person she used to be; now you have to bring it out of her. And she's more protective of me. She doesn't want anything to happen to me. Luckily my teachers were pretty cool. I figured their job is to teach the students and they didn't deserve my negativity. So I just held it in. But I did have one teacher who was always on my case about the science fair. So I'd go see him to work on things and he would help me. It was a good way for me to take my mind of things. Another thing that really helps me is walking. It clears my head. My grandfather and I used to walk pretty much everywhere together. He would walk me to school, and before Hurricane Katrina he would walk me to the store every chance he got.

I had to take my mind off of it because I had to go to school like a week after. I had to just focus on my studies. I guess I would cry from time to time. I also told my friends about it. But it didn't really help as much as I thought it would so I just tried to forget. I did talk to my guidance counselor a few times because I fell into a deep depression a couple years after. I talked to her about it; she seemed nice. She helped me out of a tough spot. But I didn't really wanna talk to anyone. I was so close to him that talking in deeper detail about how I'm feeling and, I'm talking to you about it right now, but inside it's killing me.

It’s always good to talk about it with friends or family going through the same thing, but it’s better to talk to a professional. Try not to shut yourself off too much because people worry about you. You have to think about them and not just yourself.

It still affects me, but at the same time it doesn't because I try to stay away from it and try not to think about it. I've kinda become emotionally distant from it now. I try to distance myself from the negative emotions. I try to separate myself from the pain. Since this is a conversation about it, I'm open to talk to you. But I wouldn't want to really talk to anybody about it. The resources would be nice, but I don't want them right now. It still hits a little too close to home.

Since his death, though, I've decided to be more of an adult. In the last couple of months I decided to learn how to drive and save money to get a car and an apartment so I can start my life as early as possible. That way I can also help my grandma because she doesn't eat as healthily as she should. If I move out and earn my own money, I can bring food to her before I go to work and on my lunch break. I'm tryna get both of us healthy. My grandmother really doesn't want me to go, but I need to. I mean, I'ma need to bring girls over and I can't bring girls to my grandmother's house!