Back to Life Lessons

2013 First Runner Up - Essay

Melina Ahmadpour

Scholarship Amount: $7,500

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV - School: Cerritos College

I fell to my knees as they began to lower her body. With the blistering heat and sweat dripping down my spine, I was blind to the million eyes watching me. I wanted to jump into the grave with her, bury me too. Sleep well Mama, good-bye Mama, I said. They are pouring dirt on her now. My life will never be the same.

I graduated high school in 2008. I was Vice President, an editor on my school newspaper and a four-year varsity swimmer. I planned to attend the University of Nevada Reno that fall to continue my education. Three weeks after I graduated, my Mother was diagnosed with terminal Cancer. I placed my college plans on hold and became the sole caretaker for my Mother. Every week over the duration of six months my Mother endured twenty-five harsh rounds of chemotherapy followed by a seven hour surgery. Regardless of the treatments her cancer grew rapid. Not only had her tumors returned, but they had metastasized to her lungs: Too many tumors to count, were the exact words in the pathology report. She passed sixty-two days later.

My Mother did not have a life insurance plan. She was one of those people who thought she didn’t need it. She was convinced she wasn’t going to die. My sister and I were left with nothing but her things: Clothes that still carried her scent; household items she worked hard for which we essentially sold for nothing; pieces of her life that are now scattered to people who are unaware of the history behind them.

I started working two weeks after my Mother passed. I’ve had eight jobs over the last four years and have moved every single year since 2008. Nobody put a roof over my head, or food in my stomach, or clothes on my back. I got suspended from UNLV for failing one semester and lost my Millennium scholarship because of it. I was working two jobs, double shifts every weekend and school full-time during the week, seven days a week. But nobody asks you that when they decide to put that on your school record.

Had there been a life insurance plan, specifically granted to us, my life, our lives would have taken a different course. I wish I could go back and emphasize to my Mother how important is it to take out a life insurance plan, how effected my sister and I would be without one. I wish I could tell her, her savings account isn’t enough, and Social Security won’t help because we are over the age of 18. I wish I could tell her everyone who she thought would help us didn’t and she should have thought twice about all the what-ifs.

My Mother didn’t think what would happen if she left us behind, because she didn’t think she would. None of us are invincible and life is full of unexpected events. But we all deserve our best shot at life, plus a Plan B. Thank you.

You can help students like Melina make their dream of a college education come true by donating to the nonprofit Life Lessons Scholarship fund. Donate here.

2013 Top Recipients