For the 20-year-old Samantha Rodriguez from Florida, there wasn’t any chance she would split with her siblings after their parents died from cancer.
A Day in the Rodriguez Family
On a busy and chaotic Tuesday afternoon in the Rodriguez home in Orlando, Florida, the 7-year-old Destiny and the 9-year-old Bella were doing their homework on their computers while the 12-year-old Michael was listening to the radio and setting up the dining room table.
Brenda, 14 and Milagros, 16 were watching TV and then went to the kitchen to help their 20-year-old sister make shrimp scampi.
Samantha is the oldest of the six siblings and she was certain about taking both the role of a mother and father in their family after losing them both.
Losing Both Parents Was Devastating
The mother of the six siblings, Lisa Smith, died of cervical cancer back in 2013 at a very young age, i.e. 35. Only three years later, they also lost their father, Alexander Rodriguez, who died because of lymphoma.
Samantha realized that no one from their closer family could take all of them in and so she decided to do everything in her power to keep everyone together. She didn’t want them to split up.
Taking on the Role of a Parent
Nowadays, Samantha is in charge of different household tasks, from packing lunch for school to taking her siblings in and out of school. She also schedules their doctor’s visits and ensures they get their homework done.
But, she’s not completely alone- last December, the local office of the sheriff’s helped the family during Christmas whereas in April, anonymous donors got Samantha a car.
They set up a fundraiser on the behalf of the family and they’ve raised more than 38,000 dollars from neighbours, kind people from around the world, and church friends.
Samantha is deeply moved by all of the help they’ve received. For now, she’s working night shifts as a waitress at a restaurant and helps pay the bills.
But, it wasn’t always like this- before the tragic loss of their parents, the family was struggling financially and didn’t have enough to pay their monthly rent.
As a result, they moved a lot and the children knew little about stability. Their mother worked as a cleaning lady whereas their father was an alcoholic and was in and out in their lives.
After the mother was diagnosed back in 2012, their father stepped in and offered his help. For Samantha, these were dark times and they were watching their mother ‘getting sicker and sicker’.
Constantly on the Move
When the family lived in Miami, they decided to move to Georgia and start all over again after losing their mother in 2013. However, their father also got sick two years later and died six months afterwards.
The children then moved back again to Orlando where a friend of Samantha’s offered her a serving job. But, as she was only 17 when they became orphans, their grandma, Lourdes Navarro, 76, became their legal guardian.
Now, Samantha is in the process of taking over the guardianship from their grandma who’s struggling with arthritis and can’t be of best help for her grandchildren.
Samantha believes that her siblings deserve everything and when she looks at them, she knows that it will be okay. She’s also getting an immense help from her boyfriend, Jesus Santana.
She is saving money to move to a bigger place and be able to pay for her college and for that of her siblings. And, she hopes that one day, they may even get to see Disney World.
Her Siblings Adore Her
The time and effort the 20-year-old lady puts in into taking care for her family isn’t unnoticed.
Michael explains that he doesn’t know where they would be today if it weren’t for her whereas Milagros notes that Samantha wanted them to stay together and this means a lot to them.
In Loving Memory of The Parents
The 6 siblings are doing their best to keep the memory of their parents alive on a daily basis and do their best to make them proud.
Every night, they sit together and say grace. They’ve come a long way and have a lot of things to be grateful for.