I will never forget what happened to my mother. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer I knew it was a possibility. You may never think it can happen to you, but it became a reality for me. I knew that I had to stay close to people, but mostly to my brother and father, as it was just the three of us after that. I felt that I needed to reach out to my brother, I was able to talk to my father for 45 minutes at a time but with my brother it would be 2-3 minutes of talking. I finally opened up to him and told him that I missed mom and that I was not feeling good about all this. I told him how all I wanted to do was leave Drake and go home, but he stopped me and said “Listen. What are you going to do if you go ba11124770_10155627155480061_2938541040115480564_nck? Just take a step back and think about that, you need to think about your career. Think about your future, it’s four years. You need to at least get your degree”. Hearing him talk to me about something more than just “how are you” was nice. He was a role model of mine growing up, and I took to heart the words he spoke to me. It was the small things he said that really made the difference. He became someone I could go to if I couldn’t talk to my father about something. He listened.

My mother’s passing drew the three of us closer more internally, which I know she wanted more than anything. For my father and I it became more thoughtful conversations, I was always able to talk to my dad, but a early on it was related to his work more than anything. There was more conversations now about school, life, friends, and other socializing entities I was drawn into. He was interested in the classes I was taking, and it never felt forced, it was real and genuine. He knew that he needed to be present, even when he was dealing with the hardest thing he ever had to. Seeing that I knew I could not fail my father, my brother, and of course my mom. He instilled in me those core values through watching him work in the early years of my life, but becoming friends with my dad is something I will always take with me.