My parents finally moved to a one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles when they first arrived from the Philippines. On March 15, 1988, Kevin Earl Briones was born. That same day, he had also passed away. Kevin is my older brother or as we say in Tagalog, kuya. It was that event that allowed my family to move to a town about 40 minutes away called Norwalk.
On May 14, 1991, Tatiana Marie Briones was born, the second child to Renato and Evelyn Briones. Kuya Kevin's death was at the fault of the doctor and my parents got money for the incident. Norwalk is now the place I call home. I have lived there all my life with my two brothers, my grandparents, and at one point in my life, 4 cousins and my aunt too. Although it was only a two bedroom house which at one point housed 11 people, it was a definite upgrade. But now, I am here at UCLA. I know would not have had access to the same opportunities if grew up in that unfurnished one-bedroom apartment in the streets of L.A. While Norwalk was not that much of a step-up, it was nonetheless a step up.
Although the passing of my brother was a sad event, I have come to realize things are just meant to be and because of that I am forever grateful. Family has become that much more important to me. My brother gave the ultimate gift for us, and I feel that it’s only right to respect, love, and appreciate my family, and even others, because he did it. Giving up minute details in life for my family isn’t a problem with me. It is for that reason, I don’t have a bedroom, I don’t have the latest phone, one of my paychecks went to fix the only car we have, and I chose to get presents for my family at Christmas because my parents couldn’t afford it.
I choose to use the activities that I participate in, even my major, as vehicles to help others. Although I may be selfish at times, I use this story to remind myself to be selfless and to give for a purpose. So why do I do the things that I do? Because sacrifice wasn’t a question, it was done.