One moment can cause a chain of unexpected events. Alyssa is now in charge after a devastating loss.
Alissa (A): I was going into Wal-Mart with my dad and we were having a good day and whatever, and my grandfather calls my dad and he’s like, “blah, blah, blah…” and my dad is like “shit we got to run.”
Hannah Loftus (HL): Alissa and her father raced back to her grandmother’s house. Alissa was left in the dark since her father didn’t want to startle her.
A: There is an ambulance. My grandpa comes out crying out of the backyard. I like hugs my dad. And then they do their thing and I realize what’s happening. My grandfather… My great grandfather shot himself. He was suffering and he felt like he was a burden on the entire family and that he basically would do us a favor by getting out the world and and by us not worrying about him.
HL: Her Grandfather’s suicide had a major effect on all the family members but it didn’t feel real to Alissa.
A: I was just like on the outskirts looking at them. It was kind of like the moment when you finally put the last puzzle piece together and you see the whole photo. And it’s like “I did it.” And then it’s like, “what happens after this?”
HL: The biggest impact this had was on Alissa’s grandmother, the daughter of the man who passed.
A: My grandma fell into depression because she thought it was her fault.
HL: Alyssa needed to lift the spirits of her family again.
A: I’m just there to be that light again for her. And it’s really hard because I know that I don’t receive the same kind of affection that she gives the other grandkids. So it breaks my heart a little bit but I know that it’s just her way of protecting herself.
HL: Alissa is now the person with the most responsibility in her family because they think she is more sure of herself and far more independent than other family members.
A: My grandma is going to come here to San Francisco in October and she’s gonna like evaluate everything I’ve been doing for the past year and a half. Oh! And She’s bringing my two oldest cousins so they can see what I’m doing so they can follow my footsteps. I am like highlighted in everyone’s eyes and the family. I’m the oldest girl, second oldest grandkid. So every one’s eyes are darted towards me.
HL: Even though her grandmother relies so much analysts said there is still some resistance between them.
A: Example A: For like the coldness that we feel. I think it was May like right after I graduated and I’m like sitting on the kitchen floor and I’m just like watching some murder show with her and it goes to commercial. And she just looks at me and she goes, “so are you excited for college?” And I said “yeah!” She looks away and she goes, “We’re paying for your entire college. And I said, “Oh wow! Thank you.” And I was so excited about it and so happy. And she’s like, “OK.” And then like gets up and leaves. I don’t, like, talk about my family because it’s really complicated, and really messed up in a lot of senses.
HL: Alissa was held to a higher standard than her other relatives her grandmother, the head of the family, puts the most pressure on Alyssa.
A: I don’t have the, like, emotional relationship with some people in my family that others have which is really really hard because I know that that means I will have the responsibility of when I’m older to, like, be the person who sends out emails for family Christmas. To, like, make sure everyone has a news. I’m the go to person in the family now which is kind of, like, shitty when you’re 13; to know that you’re going to be that person. That’s who my grandma is currently. So I know that once she’s gone, it’s me.