Winning Essay by Madison Raymond, Grambling State University
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Imagine someone taking on the responsibility of making one’s life better simply because they can! Specifically a person with whom there is no relation. Unlike many of my classmates, my life was transformed by my mother’s neighbor –a frequent traveler who put her life on hold to improve mine. It’s unimaginable where I’d be without the unconditional love and selflessness of my guardian angel who my mom selected to serve as my godmother. Sadly, at infancy my mother was killed by my father and the christening never took place. Even so this woman made countless efforts to be present in my life. Unfortunately, distraught from my mom’s death, my family took away the person she chose to care for me in her absence.

After ten years of struggling, my aunt requested financial assistance from my godmother who obliged. Though this act didn’t end my mistreatment, it provided visitation and conversations with my seraph on a regular basis. Despite monetary assistance, I was left homeless after my grandmother passed. With no home or anyone willing to assist, I left the rural community once dubbed by Time Magazine as the poorest place in America and headed to Texas to live with my mother’s friend for a second chance in perusing my dreams.

I was astonished by the love and attention I received. How could an individual, ridiculed by my family, shower me with love? She worked two jobs to insure my needs were met which puzzled me. Because I was not accustomed to this kind of treatment, I assumed it was a façade and simply did not know how to accept it. My resentment for not having a mother was evident. I often lashed out and begged her to send me back to Louisiana but she would simply smile and state, "Sweetie, where will you go? Understand this! A child’s life should be happy and memorable. Though I can’t make up for the years we lost I promise to do my best to insure you are healthy, happy and loved!" It was in this moment I understood the meaning of unconditional love was. For this woman to take me in, alter her life and work tirelessly to provide for me is still baffling. If my own family resented me for the actions of my father, how could she love me?

How often are routine doctor’s visits taken for granted! I had my very first wellness exam, dental visit, counseling session and eye exam at 16. Witnessing my cherub cry at every single appointment, bewildered that no one cared enough to monitor my health was overwhelming. She apologized profusely for the hardships I endured growing up. Though demanding, I am blessed to have a supporter to offer the love and attention needed to demand more from life than what I was given. I call this guardian angel my God Mother. Not because my mother requested it, simply because only God could make a person’s heart huge enough to love me beyond my dysfunction.

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