"My father’s mom passed away when I was 19, and when I went to the funeral, my father was there. I hadn’t seen him since I was 6 years old. I missed my whole life growing up without him. The day of the funeral I met uncles and cousins---a lot of them around my age---that I didn’t even know I had, which was kind of disturbing. If I’d had a chance to be around my father’s side of the family, I would have had a lot of male role models. I didn’t have that on my mother's side because they’re mostly women. One of the people I met at the funeral was my father’s uncle, Uncle Ernest. He was an older guy even then, but he reached out to me. He’s the one who helped me get my first car. I think that was probably the happiest day of my life. I was 22 years old and had never had a car of my own before. My mom had taught me how to drive in the big parking lot of a grocery store when I was younger. That was scary: she was yelling and screaming because she was nervous and scared, and that made me more nervous than I already was. It didn’t take long to learn though. A few goes and I had it. When I got that first car, I was so excited. Nobody had ever done anything like that for me before. My mom’s family was never really able to, but my father’s family was pretty well off. The first place I drove was to see Uncle Ernest. I hugged him and thanked him for it. Since he was older and kind of scared of sports cars, he wouldn’t get in it, so I didn’t get to give him a ride. I spent time with him as long as he was living, but he passed away a couple of years ago. Now I try to get my own nieces and nephews things for their birthdays and for Christmas. It’s been kind of a struggle for me and I can’t do a lot, but I’ve done as much as I can over the years."