“She was ‘The Grandma.’  She worked as the head nurse at St….

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“She was ‘The Grandma.’  She worked as the head nurse at St. James hospital.  She owned her own house.   I lived with her up until the sixth grade.  We’d have these long conversations every night.  And every morning she’d make a ball of coconut for me to bring to school.  She was the most consistent thing in my life.  Even after Mom got mixed up in drugs, Grandma paid to keep our phone on.  She paid to keep our lights on.  She checked my grades and sent me to after-school programs.  She even bought me my first computer.  It was made especially for me, big tower, lots of lights.  It kept me off the street for months.  Grandma was the only person who ever took me out of the state.  We went to theme parks.  We went to water parks.  Once she even took me to the Bahamas for four days.  Most of my friends had never even left the block.  I did get mixed up in the streets for a while.  Grandma was upset when I dropped out of high school, but she still did her best to keep me level.  She helped me get my GED.  She talked to me about nursing.  She supported me when I joined the military.  I never thought I’d be where I am today.  I’m working construction.  I recently joined the union.  Everything is because of her.  She’s the only woman who’s name I have tattooed on my body.“