Dallas senior’s resilience sustains her as she cares for dying mother, grandmother

Channing Garrett – Photo courtesy of Dallas ISD

 

BY NINA LAKHIANI

Inside Dallas ISD

 

For Skyline High School senior Channing Garrett, this year was so much more than a frustrating adjustment to online learning because of COVID-19. It was a year that challenged her like no other, as she lost the two strongest women in her life.

Garrett vividly recalls the day she first heard the word “cancer,” at age 5.

“I remember asking my mom ‘why is your hair falling out?’ and that’s when she told me, but I didn’t really get it until later,” she reflected.

Channing’s mother was a two-time breast cancer survivor, but most importantly, she was her mother, friend and warrior.

During her senior year, Channing remained a remote learner to care for her mother. She also cared for her grandmother, whose health had also begun to decline.

“It was just me, my mom and my grandma. They took care of me my whole life, so I wanted to pay them back by taking care of them,” she explained.

Time was of the essence and Garrett’s responsibilities quickly grew beyond the student struggles of online learning and a full-time job.

“I had to keep up because I didn’t have time to slip,” she said. “I knew I wouldn’t be able to come back if I did.”

Though no one can ever be prepared to lose someone they love, Garrett pushed through the trying year and focused on the main goal she knew her mother and grandmother wanted to see her achieve more than anything – graduating. While they did not make it to see her walk the stage, she took some comfort in knowing they would have been proud of her.

This month, Channing will graduate with honors from Skyline, her mother’s alma mater. She plans to attend Prairie View A&M University and major in business administration.

“It feels amazing [to be graduating], because there were definitely moments where I wanted to give up, or felt like I couldn’t do it, but they kept pushing me,” Garrett said. “If they were here, I would tell them ‘I did it!’ and they would probably say ‘we already knew you would.’”

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