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International Tweens - SPRING18

Uplifting Lifestyle Magazine for Today's 8-14 Year Olds.

RODRIGO WESTON ORTEGA

RODRIGO WESTON ORTEGA enjoys playing football, video games, and he is a loyal fan of Eurovision, the oldest international TV song contest that crowned the famous Swedish band ABBA in 1974. He has always been a popular kid in school and is known among his friends for his cheerful nature, positive attitude and jokes. Three years ago, Rodrigo hit the saddest point of his life. During springtime, normally a season of hope, Rodrigo's father passed away after fighting cancer for three years. Rodrigo was eleven years old with two younger siblings, aged five and two. “It really gave me a shock. A chilling, ghostly shock down my spine. It felt like it was going to be hopeless. I sat on the couch and I wept, and I finally thought it really had to happen.” He remembers the evening as if it was only yesterday. The day after losing his father, Rodrigo woke up feeling confused. “I couldn't really put together what happened, in my conscious. It didn’t happen, and I kept denying that it happened.” It is difficult for him to talk about his loss even though he wants to share his experience, especially with those who have been on the same path or know someone who is. “The last moment before my dad passed away I went up to him and told him he is the BESTEST dad I ever had”. Rodrigo also remembers rushing to play his father’s favorite tune on the piano because his mother told him that his dad could still hear it. 6

INTERNATIONAL Tweens Rodrigo didn’t go back to school for some days. He was still trying to settle with the painful fact that his father was gone. His best friend visited him and let him know how everyone missed him at school, and that’s when he started wanting to return to his normal routine. “You know, it’s good to move along. At some point, you have to,” says Rodrigo while making the hand gesture of moving forward. There’s a turning point for everyone. No matter what it is you’ve suffered or gone through, there will be a moment when you realize that you’re going to be okay. “He passed away in May, and the turning point happened over the summer. We had to go bury dad’s ashes in England and go to Spain to visit my mom’s side of the family. So, we took a vacation, driving from Sweden all the way to Ireland and back to England. And that vacation really helped me.” “During the car ride, everything was bad at the start, the first three days. Then we remembered the times when my dad was with us and we were happy. It was a very sorrowful moment, but just remembering the best parts turned me over thinking that there aren’t only bad things happening, there are also the good things." On this road trip vacation, Rodrigo met friends of his father who shared wonderful stories and memories that lifted him up from the sadness. “They made me want to live up to my father’s legacy,” Rodrigo explains and he remembers how he made a decision to be better.