This student describes having to celebrate Christmas only a few days after her/his mother’s death. She was diagnosed with terminal cancer a month earlier but hadn’t expected to die so soon, and the student feels overwhelmed by the thought of not celebrating Christmas in their usual way. S/he wonders if s/he should give her/his mother’s gifts to her/his sister. Due to the suddenness of her/his mother’s death, s/he wasn’t even able to say goodbye to her.
While other students are commonly faced with death due to gang-related violence, this student experiences the senselessness death from within her/his family. Her/his practical considerations about her/his mother’s Christmas gifts suggest that this ordeal has forced her/him to grow up and take on adult responsibilities.
S/he feels that s/he has suddenly become an adult, alone, with no guidance. Despite Ms. Gruwell and the Freedom Writers’ help, s/he feels unable to share her pain, and does not understand why s/he cannot accept other people’s help. S/he concludes that s/he needs to try and open up, so that s/he can accept their comfort as a second family.
The student feels isolated and lonely from having lost a family member, but is still able to benefit from the love and comfort that the Freedom Writers provide. The group demonstrates that no one should ever be deprived of a family’s support, however many adult responsibilities one might have to take on.