There’s a very old saying in the region that says A quien Dios no le da hijos, el diablo le da sobrinos, which loosely translates to “To whom God gives no children, the devil gives nephews.”

Spain’s Cervantes Institute, a non-government organization, explains the meaning of this saying as:

“Those who are not parents sometimes have to take on worries, care or expenses because of other family ties. In a broader sense, it implies that sometimes care is provided for reasons beyond the control of those who do not have it because of their own situation.”

In my case, I have a brother and a cousin.

Three years ago I wrote about taking the mantle of a pseudo single parent for my brother while still being his older brother. This aspect of my life has, as of late June, has taken a new spin in tandem to me trying to figure out the final aspects of my departure and first steps towards a whole new life with my brother.

A lengthy series of circumstances within my remaining family have led one of my youngest cousins to staying here with us, something I had been trying for years now, and something even my own mother was trying to achieve in the past.

Hers is a complicated case that would make any sensate person’s blood boil. Without going too deep into personal details, she’s suffered through years of constant abuse — you could say that’s all she’s known.

Her dad, my uncle, died almost 20 years ago of a similar sarcoma much like the one that took the life of my mom in 2018. My uncle was like a father to me, and he, up until 1999, was the embodiment of the above mentioned saying down to the letter.

From him I learned how not to judge anyone for their appearance, as he was someone that suffered from neurofibromatosis (don’t Google that). His other son, another cousin of mine, happens to be my Godson.

Those two lads have gone through a lot, and haven’t had a normal life at all. My Godson left the country with my family (not an ideal situation, but not much I could do), while the other one stayed behind and is living with us now — because the eternal entropy and daily bullshit of Venezuela is better than more physical and verbal abuse.

It’s been like night and day for her because it has now been more than four months that she’s gone without being insulted or physically hurt by anyone. She’s currently enrolled in Nursing school after some members of my family basically screwed up her chances of going to Med school in Argentina this year, it’s a long story.

I do not understand why, but for some reason, some members of my family do not take medical careers with high regard — after all, my mom was deemed a “frustrated” person because despite all of her accolades she was not a wealthy doctor in life. She never did it for the money, not everything is about it.

When it comes to Nurse as a profession, members of my family have fiercely claimed that it’s a job that brings “bad luck” even though my grandmother was a nurse in life, and a damn good one that raised six children.

I am a clumsy slow fat man, devoid of social life, and without not much education or skills, but at least I can offer her shelter and assistance as she continues with her studies, which I’ve been doing to the best of my ability.

Much of what I can do is advise her so that she doesn’t repeat the same mistakes I did in the past, especially when it comes to education, because I squandered and wasted away my youth and neglected my studies, and right now I’m still paying the price for all that.

Because my family never allowed her to study in the past (I don’t just know why) she had some trouble adjusting in, and because she’s 24, she feels like she’s lost some precious years and is starting “late.”

But, right now, in that classroom, she has found something she always needed, friends.

Although there is another cousin staying here now, she is the one and only reason I’m not selling this place right now (other than the legal conundrum involved) even though not counting with that money has undoubtedly complicated my escape of this country and I’m only going forward with what I’ve been able to save over the past 5 years.

Letting her stay, and helping her in what ways I can, is, perhaps, my way to thank my uncle for all the good times and for being a father to me at a time when he had no child of his own. Her future is more valuable to me than money.

I don’t ask her for anything other than she gives it her best and gets good grades, and she’s been getting some pretty fine ones. She barely speaks English, so I’ve been helping her with English homework. I don’t make her cook or clean the house like my family forced her to do for them almost on a daily basis, she does, however, assist me here and there out of her own volition, and we split the cleaning workload.

Much like with my brother’s case, I was not trained or left with a handbook as to how to be a parental figure, however, I’m trying my best, starting with the basics: asking how her day went, keeping track of her homework, making sure to offer my help whenever I can, making baller spaghetti, and all that.

A couple weeks ago she surprised me with a gift, thanking me for always believing in her. This is one of the most precious items I’ll be taking with me to Italy, something I’ll treasure for as long as I live.

She does have moments when our personalities and points of view clash, and her incessant refusal to accept help in things that I can easily help her with is a bit irritating because I keep telling her to accept my help. Deep down, and after so many years of being called worthless and so many things, I know she has this need to prove that she can do it — but that’s the thing, there is nothing that she needs to prove to me, at all. It’s extremely hard to get her to accept help or treats, but she’s slowly opening up in that regard.

While I don’t know much about medicine or nursing topics, I do know how to format assignments, cleaning up text, and all that stuff. Most of the help she requests is with English stuff.

I have several reasons as to why I want to leave asap even though I still do not have all of the hands in my card. The sooner we leave the sooner the sooner she’s able to have something she has not had in her entire life, a room of her own. She’ll be staying in my brother’s room, as that one is larger than mine, we’ve already begun preparing things for her in that regard.

I’ve also given her all of the remaining medical equipment that belonged to my mom, including my asthma nebulizer as that’ll be of great help for her to offer her services. She already is a certified auxiliary nurse.

I am more than 100 percent sure and confident that she’ll get to become a great nurse and she will succeed where I failed my mother, who she looks up to. I’ve told her I cannot make promises, but I’ll try my best to help her find a job abroad once she’s graduated, I’ve been told nurses are in high demand all around, so as long as she keeps it up she’ll have a lot of doors open for her in the near future.

Knowing that she’s ok here and she’s on her way to become a nurse is something that allows me to leave Venezuela with an easier state of mind.

Until the next one,



MMXXIII | ckaleb[dot]com · December 31, 2023 at 12:41 pm

[…] circumstances of it all were complex (infuriating if you know what she had to go through), and although I don’t […]

A closure & the start of a new life | ckaleb[dot]com · March 31, 2024 at 6:11 am

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