We all make choices in life no matter what life hands us. I wanted to write an article about choices because I was curious about how my friend, Grace, has survived so many misfortunes.
She was the second oldest of four children and five years old when her biological father died. Her mother remarried, and she and her husband had seven children. He favored his own children over his stepchildren and was physically and emotionally abusive to them. The family was poor since her stepfather drank a lot and could not hold down a job. They moved every year since he could not pay the rent.
Grace made up her mind as a child that if she married, she would own her own home and provide for her family. She married at eighteen, and they moved to California from Georgia. Even though husbands in her generation thought that women should stay home and not work, she realized that if they were to be able to buy a house, she needed to work. So, Grace decided to go to school in order to have a career.
Grace and her husband were then able to buy a house where they raised two daughters, but the story does not end there. Grace became a caregiver for her mother, who lived with her for many years. During the time that I have known her, she has suffered many losses.
Still, it is her resilience that was established in her childhood, which most likely made her a survivor! And she continues to make wise choices. During the pandemic, her daughters and their families fell into despair around the same time. So, Grace had them and their families move in with her, her husband, and her mother. Each of her daughters was married and had two children, making eleven people reside in her four-bedroom home.
How did they manage?
I must remind myself that she grew up with ten siblings! She also had a rule of no fighting or arguing in her home, for it was to be peaceful. They were to communicate and talk out their differences. During this time, one of her sons-in-law was sick with cancer and eventually died. Later one of her granddaughters died due to poor health. Today, her surviving daughter is raising her children.
Six months after moving out, the landlord raised the rent. Unfortunately, she could not afford the increase. Guess what? Grace came to the rescue, and they moved in with her. Back to choices—she made the right one by marrying her husband. He has been there for her through all these ups and downs in life. The rule in her marriage is to communicate. They don’t always agree, but they talk it out, which is what marriages need. Lastly, Grace is also a good listener, which is essential in healthy relationships.