Jeanie Law: A Child Forced Into Adulthood at 7 Years Old
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UPDATED: Apr 23, 2020
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Every semester, Huntley Wealth awards scholarships to two students who have lost a parent that either had no life insurance or was underinsured.
We ask the students to submit their story by video or essay.
This semester, we offer congratulations to Jeanie Law from Cal Poly Pomona, winner of our $1,000 Huntley Wealth Care Spring Scholarship for best essay submission.
No one should have to experience the loss of a parent at such a young age, but the devastation compounds further when the surviving family experiences financial hardship.
Read Jeanie’s winning essay below, and please share. And if you don’t have life insurance, get a free quote here. It only takes a minute, and you’ll be on your way to being your family’s hero.
Jeanie Law: Resilient at Worst
On April 15, 2006, my mother committed suicide. As a result, I lost both parents. The twist is that one of them was still physically there. Here is my own “long story short”.
At five, I was mandated to stay an extra year of preschool because of separation anxiety
At seven, I was made fun of by girlfriends because I was “too scared” to spend the night somewhere where my mom was not.
At nine, I got the news she had committed suicide. It was Easter Sunday and I woke up thinking I would be getting an Easter basket.
I walked downstairs to find my dad sitting in his favorite lazy boy, head in both of his palms…
He told me what my mom had done.
A day later, after everyone thought I cried myself to sleep, I heard a family member say “I don’t know how Jeanie will make it without her. I don’t know if she will.” At that moment, my resilience began to build.
By twelve, I was taking care of my now alcoholic father. I was self-sufficient. I walked to and from school, and to the grocery store. I hid my dad’s car keys when he drank too much peppermint schnapps before work in the morning.
By fourteen, I knew how to put up a facade. No one knew I lived in a motel because we were evicted.
By fifteen, I had gotten kicked out of my first job interview because I was too young. I knew I needed the money though since dad hadn’t worked for years. He also now had a girlfriend and three kids living with us.
By 16, I learned to take a shower with cold water and make full meals without a gas oven. We had neither for over a year. Although she was dead for 7 years, my dad blamed my mom dying.
At seventeen, I learned to expect that some days I would come home and he would not. He usually had a warrant out for his arrest. I learned to ignore my dad telling me I would never make it to college because I knew he did it out of fear. Fear of what he’d do without me.
I spent my time jealous of the fact that my friends could go home to their moms and confide in them. I wondered what I did wrong to miss out on that.
I also learned how to direct a conversation so I never had to talk about my mom’s death. I knew I’d cry.
In 2016, at the age of 18, I was going to therapy multiple times a week through school. A decade after my mom passed, it hit me like a ton of bricks that she did. I reacted as if it happened that day.
By nineteen, I was accepted into Cal Poly Pomona. I didn’t know how I would make it, but I knew I would go. I needed a better life for myself.
By 21, I am a third-year student pursuing a marketing research degree. I work 20 hours at minimum wage as a marketing assistant and have an unpaid internship.
I try to be proud of myself for how far I have come, but realistically these life circumstances have taken a toll on me. I was diagnosed with PTSD about a year ago, and I am learning how to deal with the guilt and the nightmares.
I’m learning how to deal with a broken and estranged father.
I’m learning how to deal with him succumbing to this tragedy and ending up in prison.
I’m learning how to be better for myself so I can be better for everyone.
This scholarship would help me so much. I did not grow up having had the luxury of not worrying about where next month’s rent will come from, or next week’s meal. This scholarship would truly help me find peace and help me take pride in my past.
Since my mom’s suicide, I am a mental health advocate while trying to still be at peace with my own mental health issues. I’m a resilient, positive and grateful person and to graduate with the help of my past circumstances gaining me a scholarship, it would be my proudest achievement yet.