We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

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Photo ofCarter Hickey

When I was 5, we sold our house on Tuckahoe Boulevard because there wasn’t enough space for my family of four. We couldn’t find a place to live at the time, so we moved into my grandmother’s on  my dad’s side. Once we moved in, my parents needed help taking care of us. My grandmother was fine with helping them out. She became somewhat of a nanny to my sister and me. She took care of us, watched us, and picked us up from school. She used to always cook for us and rarely took us out unless we wanted to. She would take us to activities, playdates, sports, and would do anything my parents needed from her. She was super helpful, nice, and never yelled. We lived in her house for two years.  One day, my mom found a house for us to buy but it was still being built. While they finished building it, my grandmother’s temper started to be- come a little shorter and she started yelling at us. She held very short conversations with my parents and started arguing with them a lot. Once our new house was built, we moved into our new home. My grand- mother helped us move and once we finished, she left to go to her river house two hours away. All of a sudden we didn’t see her. She started avoid- ing us, stopped talking to us, and stopped interacting with us. We would see her shopping at the grocery store, and she’d immediately go to the checkout lane. She would buy what she had, leave, and come back once we left. She would take a detour just to avoid us while driving around town. We would go try to see her at one of her houses, but she never showed any sign of be- ing home. We just never got to talk with her and it confused me a lot. Then after a year of avoiding us, she started driving by our house every other day. She would lurch around our house multiple times. When we came out to talk with her, she’d immediately leave. While this was happening, she start- ed fighting with her family, and eventually, she started avoiding her entire family.  After five years of not talking to her, we tried to tell her we were moving to Idaho. We went to her house to say goodbye and she wasn’t there. We called her and she didn’t answer. So we moved without saying a word to her about it. A month later, we went back to Virginia for my cousin’s wedding and we saw her there. She talked to my sister and me briefly before the ceremony and during the dinner but wouldn’t talk to others unless approached by them. After the dinner, we went up to the main house to get away from the crowd and calm down and my grandmother came up with us. She talked with us then started hugging and kissing us saying she was super sad and said she missed us but that she’d never see us again. She cried and said these things for three hours and then said goodbye to us. She left the wed- ding right after that, and we left the following day.  When I asked my parents why she didn’t talk to us anymore, they said she is very unstable and that it has been going on for a while. I learned that this wasn’t the first time this had happened. She had done this many times before with her family. She didn’t talk to anyone until her sisters finally got through to her. I really hope to see her soon. 

© Carter Hickey. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person’s teacher.