“It’s said it takes seven years to grow completely new skin cells. To think, this year I will grow into a body you never will have touched.” – Brett E. Jenkins

Seven years ago I got a call that would change the entire trajectory of my life. I was 18 and was one month away from entering my freshman year of college. My step father called my grandma and I in Chicago to tell us my mom had fallen. In Texas heat, a fall is the last thing anyone would want to experience, but it wasn’t the heat that made my mom fall though, it was a brain aneurysm.

A word that I’d never heard before, I immediately Googled what it was, what happens when one experiences it, and its side effects. From what I read, I learned that there are several stages of brain aneurysms, but after one slips into a coma, it’s unlikely if they will ever experience life the same way again.

We received another call from my stepdad that my mom was being transported to a larger hospital in Houston so that they could give her emergency brain surgery – she had, in fact, slipped into a coma.

My grandma and I booked flights back to Texas that night to leave first thing in the morning and waited around for any news, any updates, anything. I remember calling my mom’s phone just praying that she’d answer and all would be well.

Shortly after midnight, seven years ago, my grandma and I got a call that has changed the entire trajectory of my life. My mom’s brain had died. Though her heart was still pumping, the likelihood of her living a normal life would be nearly impossible. She would be in a vegetative state. So that day, July 15, 2011, my family and I had to make to make one of the hardest decisions that we might possibly ever have to make: we had to let my mom transition and release the oxygen that was going to her heart.

Seven years ago, my life changed. To lose a mom at any age hurts, but to lose my mom a month before I went to college, one of the most pivotal and life-changing moments of my life, was a tumultuous transition. To think I’m inside a new body that my mom has never gotten to physically see or touch hurts, but I’m comforted by the fact that her spirit has guided me in ways I couldn’t imagine. After all, everything happens for a reason and time heals all.