Like many soon-to-be college graduates, Sequoia Smith marked her upcoming graduation with a photo shoot. She also used it as an opportunity to honor her father and mother, whom she lost at age 17 and 19 respectively. Read her full story below- but before you do, you might want to grab some tissues first.
"17 years old... I remember my mama just hugging me and crying. Not knowing what the hell was going on but instantly feeling her emotions just by seeing her so torn up. She told me my dad passed away. Knowing that the person who is half responsible for my life is gone, just like that. Less than three months away from getting my HS diploma. I walked across that stage with my head held high, knowing that though he wasn’t physically there... he was still watching. 19 years old... roughly 2AM. After DAYS of not sleeping and having to watch my mom suffer. I reported to the nurse that it didn’t look like she was breathing anymore and sure enough... This was TEN days after getting my Associates Degree and not having my mom present during the ceremony. My mom had stage 4 cervical cancer and she fought her BEST fight.
Seems like weeks, months even years passed by and it didn’t seem real that my parents were gone. Sometimes, it still doesn’t. This picture is apart of my testimony. When my mom passed, I took time off from school and completely cancelled the idea of going back. This woman was my lifeline and my best friend. I felt so numb and detached from the world. Time kept passing and I knew I had to continue my education. 25 years old... As long as it took to FINALLY get this Bachelors Degree, I STILL did it. Not having anyone to call or talk to at times. Having to work ridiculous hours to make sure I had bare necessities. Keeping a smile on my face to keep from crying. I STILL did it.
One thing I can say is, I've grown so much and I have learned new things about myself. My strength overshadows my weakness. I am resilient and powerful. Despite loss, I can and always will overcome adversity. I know that as long as I lean on God's arm for understanding and guidance, he will lead me in the right direction. I have learned how to be responsible and make decisions that will benefit my best interest. My circumstances are far from the best, but I have found ways to make the best of what I have and thank God in the process.
I am sharing this to inspire and encourage someone else. No matter WHAT you go through, no matter who you lose... you have to keep pushing, for yourself and for your loved ones! Stay focused and pray every single day, even when things are going well. Losing two people as important as your parents will change you and it can make you want to give up. Surround yourself with people who will uplift and encourage you when you need it MOST! People who will pray for you without knowing the demons you're battling. You will need them and whether you know it or not, they will need you. It is my greatest honor to announce that May 11th, I will be walking across that stage again and though I may cry, I know my angels are up there smiling and I’m finding peace in knowing that." -Sequoia Smith
What a testimony! Sequoia, your determination, perseverance, words of wisdom is an inspiration to us all. Congratulations, Queen!