Understanding Your Heritage

11 November 2018

Working on a 1000 piece puzzle can be tedious at times, but as I put the pieces together the final product begins to come into focus. I sometimes ask myself the following questions: If I do not have the last piece of the puzzle, what will I do? How will I handle this predicament? Will I give up or will I persevere and find that piece to my missing puzzle? Reminiscing back on my life experiences, I have always felt that I was missing something to complete the perfect life of an ordinary teenager, and it was through my parent’s history that I was able to identify the missing piece and bring the picture into focus.
Years ago my parents struggled because of the war in their home country of Cambodia. Arrangements were made for them to flee the country in order to escape the war and save their lives. They moved to various parts of the world and suffered the consequence of leaving loved ones behind. Due to the difficult challenges they faced, and difficult decisions they had to make I suffered the pain of not having my grandparents in my life. The missing puzzle piece to my life has always been the absence of my grandparents. I’ve never been able to relate to the joy most kids experience as a result of having meaningful relationships with their grandparents.
In more than one way, my parents endured the same emotional distress I have and am bearing without my grandparents. My parents overcame many hardships to survive in this country. They arrived here without the support of relatives, and the nonexistence of close familial relationships required them to start a whole new life of culture in America. Unlike my parents, most people living in the U.S. had their parents to help them through tough times and support them in educational endeavors, such as financing college or business aspirations. Having this kind of support helped these people go to college without dividing their attention between exhaustive employments and pursuing an education. My parents started from the bottom and worked their way up. They worked several jobs at minimal wage to save up for their education and did the impossible. They started with nothing, and now they have professional government careers, a beautiful home, quality education, and five loving children.
Even though my grandparents have never been a part of my life, the values they’ve instilled in my parents have allowed me to achieve goals they could only dream of. I will rely on my strong heritage as I focus and navigate through life. The absence of my grandparents made me respect my parent’s hard work and discipline. Knowing my grandparent’s story opened my eyes and made me understand the struggles that my parents had to go through in order to get the life they have today. Their life is the example that I will follow as I order my steps to persevere and accomplish many tasks. The missing puzzle piece to my life is my grandparents, but I can put the puzzle together by honoring them through hard work. No one is perfect, and everyone has a missing piece to their life. I have learned that the missing piece is not the key to my puzzling future, understanding and respecting my past is.

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