Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December and everything after

Michelle Garfias in dorm 4

Michelle Garfias left Lewis & Clark College last December assuming she'd be back.

She packed one suitcase. She deep-cleaned her dorm room so it would look nice when she returned. Then she headed home for a Southern California Christmas.

She knew as soon as she saw her father that something wasn't right. Juventino Garfias' muscular frame had withered to that of a featherweight. His skin had gone yellow.

Doctors said it was kidney failure, eerily reminiscent of the kidney infection that had killed Garfias' mother a few years earlier. Her father would live, the doctor said, but he would need years of dialysis. He wouldn't be able to work or watch after Garfias' 13-year-old brother Cesar.

Someone needed to earn money for the family. Someone needed to cook dinners and take Cesar to school. That someone, Garfias thought, had to be her.

So Garfias had a choice: Go back to college and finish her degree, or stay and take care of her father. Friends told her a college degree would change her life forever. But what if her family needed her now?


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