“My name is Samuel Volrie Jr. I am 28 years old and reside in Beaumont, TX — a coastal city in southeast Texas, right by the border of Louisiana. I am currently a father of two, an 8-year-old girl and a 10-month-old girl.
Fatherhood has been my proudest moment, for in my opinion, being a good father means being a good man. But being a parent isn’t always easy. You have to make tough decisions but still maintain an easygoing relationship with your kids. I notice most families like to use the ‘judge and jury’ approach to make everything run smoothly, where family situations are ran through a system of checks and balances, as the famous line ‘ask your mother’ is a safe go to. Well, for some people, that luxury isn’t available. I am one of those people.
Maria Corona was the woman I needed. With her charismatic personality and no nonsense approach when it came to bettering oneself, she made me a totally different person over the span of just five years. I was not the guy I am today. I needed somebody to spark my fire to help me realize I had to do better. My mom absolutely loved her for this. I was never a bad person, but areas in my life needed big improvement. I needed more drive, and I needed an accountability partner. She never let up on me, and over time, things just started to go right in my life. I bought my first car with my own money. I got a house and paid all my bills. I got a promotion at work. I started eating better and even feeling more healthy. But, at that time, I was still considered a ‘weekend dad.’ I wasn’t too proud of that, even though my older daughter and I have a good relationship.
Maria had no children. She worked a good job (we worked together when we first met), but she later moved on. She was a college graduate from Lamar University and was also a leader of her fraternity, where she played a vital role. She was on the board of her class council, where she played a huge role as well, which reminds me of a story… When we were in Houston for Astrofest (she got us tickets for my birthday because he’s my favorite artist ever), my car got broken into while we were eating in a restaurant. Somebody stole her purse with EVERYTHING in it, but she only cared about the fact she previously deposited the class reunion money before we left town. That showed me so much character in her. The weekend continued, and we had the greatest time. Not once did she seem the slightest upset.
You’d never see her complain about anything. She cared about others more than herself, but still, in a unique way, she somehow put herself first, because what you were not gonna do was walk over her like a doormat. I don’t know how she did it; she just had so much balance. I loved it so much, but it was not just me. Ask anybody who even just met her once. Guarantee they loved her. She was a natural nurturer in the purest form. She was my best friend. The day she gave me her positive pregnancy test, I was SOOO excited, because this time, I was ready! I had the perfect woman. I was a better man. Now we got a chance to raise a child! Which would be the first of three. But life happened.
On September 1, 2019, in the early hours of the morning, Maria’s water broke. The time was now! She was about to give birth to our daughter, Alina Victoria Volrie. We rushed to the hospital, where she would endure labor for hours and hours. But she took it on like a soldier! She was a little weary about the fact her doctor wasn’t delivering though. She was on vacation, so there was a fill in. I wasn’t too fond of this guy, and neither were his nurses. One even admitted to us he often overexerts his patients by making them push way too early. But we didn’t have much of a choice at this point. Long story short, the situation was sketchy, but Alina was delivered alive and safe.
Due to ‘hospital procedure,’ she had to stay in the intensive care unit for reasons that made no sense (even more so now). So, we didn’t get a chance to really spend quality time with our newborn baby. If we wanted to see her, we had to walk across the hospital floor to the ICU room. But this was an extremely difficult task for Maria. She was in pain and could hardly move. She needed help getting to the bathroom, which was no more than six feet away from her bed. She repeated, ‘Something ain’t right.’ She just knew it.
Woman who had babies the same time as her were moving just fine. She even knew one of the ladies and had a discussion with her about how she felt. She said she felt fine, and you could tell in the way she was able to move. Not Maria. But, of course, she wanted to see Alina. So, she made every excuse to get down there. Despite not even being offered a wheelchair, she still got down there. She breastfed, so she would always go feed her whenever they said we could.
But she just got worse and worse, instead of better. A day and a half after the delivery, she was a wreck. But the nurse came in with the news it was time for us to pack up and go. I urged the doctor to keep us there. Maria wasn’t well, and they were keeping our baby for another few days. We needed to be close. Maria NEEDED HELP. But her response was, ‘Sorry sir, but insurance won’t pay for her any longer.’ And that was the beginning of the end.
The next day home from the hospital, Maria wanted to go back to the hospital to be with Alina. I had no type of paternity leave, so I had to work. I brought her while I worked my shift. She just hung around the hospital all day. She was literally, in that moment, dying on the inside. INSIDE A HOSPITAL. But I had no idea, and the hospital had no cares. We went back home that night, and it was the worst night of my life. She was out of it, sometimes even unresponsive.
The next day, we had to get help. We went to another hospital where they tried, but it didn’t work. Her last words to me were, ‘Don’t cry baby.’ I couldn’t help it. I never cry, and she used to joke with me all the time about how I’m gonna cry one day — which is eerie to me. Seeing her hooked up to all those machines, my heart saw what was happening before my eyes could. The doctors told me I had to leave the room for a second for an intense procedure. I can still hear the alarm. I can still feel the wind from doctors running past me, responding to the ‘code black’ in Trauma 2. It haunts me. On September 5, 2019, my whole life took a different meaning.
Now, here I am, 10 months later. I have Alina full-time, with a lot of support. I’ll take this time to exclusively thank Maria’s family and my big sister for everything they do. Me giving up was never an option. I am going to do everything in the spirit of honoring Maria Corona.
Depression is real. I know it, because I look it dead in the face every night. I keep her obituary on my nightstand, next to where I sleep. She gave me her guardian angel plaque, years ago when I first moved into my home, which is hung on my wall. I have her ‘Starry Nights’ replica painting hung up in my kitchen. Just to keep her spirit flowing from room to room.
Some people ask, ‘How do you do it?’ I don’t have a lot of friends. I certainly don’t have a lot of money. But I have meaning. I realize I represent a community I’d never seen until now. Maria Corona’s name will ring forever. I am the bell man. Alina will know how great her mom was through me and the people that are set around her.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Sam Volrie Jr., 28, of Beaumont, TX. You can follow his journey on Instagram and Facebook. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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