Ava’s Story: Finding Hope for the Future

Ava’s Story: Finding Hope for the Future

Ava didn’t grow up with a mom or dad like a lot of the kids she knew. Her father left her mother before Ava was even born. And her mom was killed in a car accident when Ava was very young.

With no other family around, Ava was raised by her grandmother. Even though she didn’t know her dad or really remember her mom, she got sad sometimes when she saw other girls her age out with their parents.

But despite that, Ava was close with her grandmother and grateful for their relationship. Even though they never had much money, her grandma always made sure she had everything she needed: new clothes, food on the table, and supplies for school.

Everything changed when Ava’s grandmother became ill. She was no longer able to take care of things around the house, like cleaning, paying bills, or grocery shopping. Ava did her best to pick up the slack and help out as much as she could. But running a household and keeping up with her schoolwork proved difficult. Her grades began to drop as she struggled to balance her new responsibilities.

Another challenge that arose from her grandmother’s illness was money. Her grandma was on a fixed income, and her long list of medications cut severely into the household budget. Things became tight. In order to help her grandmother save money, Ava didn’t mention that her shoes were getting a little too small or that the sleeves on her winter jacket were now a bit too short. And when the strap on her school bag ripped, she started carrying her books in a plastic grocery bag instead.

Ava’s grandmother’s illness became so severe that she had to be admitted to the hospital. Ava was afraid to stay home alone. And she was worried about her grandmother.

A social worker at the hospital quickly caught onto their family situation. She recommended Mercy Home to Ava and her grandmother, explaining that it would be a safe place for Ava to stay and receive the support she needed. Ava didn’t like the idea at first. She was worried about her grandmother and who would take care of her if she wasn’t around all the time.

Ava’s grandmother convinced her to at least visit Mercy Home before making a decision. Ava agreed.

Despite her determination not to like our Home, a visit quickly changed her mind. She liked the campus and all the coworkers she met on her visit. And she was intrigued by the many things Mercy Home offered, like tutors, therapists, and having someone around to help at any time of day.

After talking it over with her grandmother, Ava decided she wanted to move into Mercy Home. She was reassured that our coworkers provided her grandmother with resources to help her while Ava was at Mercy Home. Her biggest worry was that her grandmother would suffer while she was gone.

After moving in, it took Ava a little bit of time to adjust to everything. She had never lived with anyone around her own age before. Sometimes things were louder and busier than she was used to. But she quickly settled in and began taking advantage of everything Mercy Home offered.

Ava was embarrassed about how much her grades had slipped over the past year. With the help of her tutors, she was able to keep better track of her assignments, and worked hard to get her grades up.

But the most helpful thing was the time Ava spent with her therapist. She finally had someone to open up to about how much she missed her mother. She had kept that from her grandmother, mistakenly believing it would hurt her feelings to know that sometimes she wished she could grow up with her mom around. She also shared how much stress and anxiety she felt when her grandmother got sick. It felt like a weight was lifted off her shoulders.

Ava’s grandmother eventually recovered enough to go home. Ava was particularly inspired by the physical therapists who worked with her grandma each day, first in the hospital, then in her home. Their kindness and the way they helped her grandmother regain mobility around her home was so wonderful that she is now interested in pursuing a career in physical therapy herself!

When Ava thinks back to what things were like a year ago, she said it feels like a different lifetime. Everything has changed–from her grades to her mental health–for the positive. She even feels like her relationship with her grandma is better than ever before, now that so many stressors have been removed from their lives. Today, she said, she can look to the future with hope—something she never felt before.

Please note: Because we care deeply about protecting our children’s privacy, the names and certain identifying details in this story have been changed.

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