In his candid story, Kendall Wilson shares how the greatest trials and adversities in his life have led him to truly value the meaning of life and relationships. He holds a Master’s of Science in Community and International Development. Kendall is currently an intern with MALA’s “Muslim American Journeys” project, which highlights the importance of diversity and individuality. The most important person in my life is my mother Karen Ann Meade-Wilson. My mother is one of the reasons why I fight everyday to make a better position for myself and the reason why I want to help make a difference in people’s lives. My mother’s perseverance to see that I become a well-rounded individual in school, sports, and music gave me the ability to push through many difficult situations. One of the reasons I needed a push is because I was okay with being below a average student, and wanted to just squeeze by in anything I did, especially school. Her ability to encourage me and guide me lead to some of the best moments in my life and allowed me to have better clarity on what I wanted to achieve. During the next chapter in my life which was my college career in 2010 I was brought through some of the greatest trials that most people don’t experience throughout their time in college. These were some of the most strenuous and nerve-racking experiences for me where I faced depression, pain, and mental distress. When I was in high-school I realized that there was something wrong with my mother and by the time I was a junior in college I realized that my mother was not the same person that had raised me, and that everyday life had taken a toll on her. My siblings and I believed that our mother had dementia and we tried to express this to our family. No one believed us because they thought we were too young and were being too hard on her. In 2013 my father was told that he has prostate cancer which lead to him becoming very weak and unable to work as much as he needed too, with being the only income in our household it lead to a lot of issues. Since my mother was having her own issues she was unable to help the situation. I was finally able to get of my grandmother’s attention regarding my mother’s issue, which lead to her finally getting tested, however this resulted in one of saddest moments in my life. In December of 2014, I was told that my mother has Alzheimer’s disease. When my father was diagnosed with cancer I always believed that he would make it through because he is a very strong individual, however with my mother’s situation it was difficult to accept. Since my mother had the drive to make sure I succeed in life, one of the happiest days was when I graduated from graduate school with my masters degree in Community and International Development. This remains a great achievement because it proved to myself that I could do anything if I put my mind to it, and my mother’s encouragement was the foundation for my success. Since I was not the best student in high-school, I had teachers tell me that I would not make it any where in life, consequently this moment in my academic career meant everything to me. It also meant that what my mother had instilled in me did not go to waste and I was able to apply what she had taught me to guide my life. These situations have allowed me to come to the realization that relationships shouldn’t be taken lightly, and that you seize every opportunity that allows you grow. Reason being in a about a year I could have lost my father and I am losing my mother mentally. The fact that the time I have with my mother is being cut short is very difficult to understand. This has made me realize that I need to do what I want in my life that will help me to be a progressive individual. I also came to the understanding that everything happens for a reason so I have to make the best of the situations at hand.