I Am Happy

By Vanessa

My father died when I was almost four years old, and my mom died when I was six. Sad, right? That is what I used to think. I even got angry sometimes and asked God why I had to be an orphan.

But today is a different day. Today I am happy because I see that the death of my parents gave me the chance to stay with my aunt. Unfortunately, she passed away when I was eight. Tragic right? Still, I’m happy because I had the privilege of spending the last two years of her life with her. You see, she is gone; but the lessons she taught me are engraved in my heart. Living with my aunt taught me family values. We were what some people call poor. But, in that poverty, we were rich with love and affection. I came from being spoiled as an only child in my original family, pampered with toys and able to attend an uptown school. My aunt taught me how to share and that family is everything. I finally learned how to play with other kids and have conversations. I’m glad her family embraced me.

I remember we moved to the country in her final days, and I will forever cherish those moments. Even though she was lying on her death bed, I enjoyed chasing through the grass and climbing the mountains. Let’s just say it made me see life differently. Instead of taking everything for granted, I finally appreciated what I had.

When she passed on, I was sad. But my uncle took me in. Then I lost him to sudden death. I felt a lot of things like pain and great loss, but today I am happy he was there for me when he was alive. It was like God gave me another chance to have a father. His family took me in exactly like their own.

My uncle is gone, but I’m happy that he left me a mother. His wife loves me selflessly. Now I have a home and two brothers.

I am happy because it was after my uncle’s death that I was introduced to Hope’s Promise. It was like a miracle. Even though I am an orphan, with Hope’s Promise’s support, I was able to attend a quality boarding school and even go to university. Now I’m just half a semester away from earning a degree.

Today, my advice is to choose to be happy, no matter what you are going through. Every situation has two angles. Even though it’s a tragedy that we are experiencing Covid 19, we can appreciate time with our families, catch up, and rest. My life taught me that death might be an end, but it is always a beginning. The future is blurry and uncertain, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. Anything can happen. The door is always open to potential. You should never close it. Closing off possibilities is only a disservice to yourself. Wherever you are, be happy. Make memories for the living to cherish when you are gone.

Vanessa, now twenty-three years old, faced unimaginable grief while growing up in Zimbabwe. And yet she proclaims, “I am happy.” During this time of anxiety-inducing, worldwide pandemic, Vanessa offers her very personal story as an inspiration to look at hard experiences through a different angle.