Overcoming Obstacles: single mother learns from lessons of the past

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Tori Schultz
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

From a young age, Senior Airman Jenay Randolph, a photojournalist assigned to the 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs office, has faced and overcome personal obstacles and struggles, which made her who she is today.

Most eight year-olds worry about finishing their homework on time or picking which friend to play with at recess, but Randolph had to deal with losing her mother and moving into a household of strangers.

 “I was very close to my mother,” said Randolph. “She was a single mother and I didn’t meet my father until I was six years-old, so my mother was my rock and was always there when I needed her.”

In 1997, Randolph’s mother was diagnosed with cancer. At the time, Randolph was eight years old and wasn’t told about her mother’s diagnosis. She knew her mother was sick and was in and out of the hospital, but didn’t know the severity of her condition until the family received the phone call.

“When my Aunt and I received the call, we went to the hospital,” said Randolph. “That was the first time I saw my mother in a hospital bed and found out she had cancer.”

Four months later, her mother passed away and Randolph had to adjust to a new way of life and living with her father, his wife, and two sisters.

“I felt very isolated when I first moved in with my family,” said Randolph. “I was raised different and didn’t feel comfortable expressing my feelings to them. So I wrote most of my feelings down in a journal.”

With time, Randolph began to build relationships with the people around her, and carries the lessons she’s learned with her every day.

Now as a single mother of two and an active duty photojournalist for the U.S. Air Force, Randolph is faced with obstacles and stressors in multiple aspects of her life. Ensuring her children are well taken care of, completing all tasks given to her at work, and finding time to unwind are some of the obstacles Randolph faces. 

Randolph uses what she has learned to continue overcoming obstacles she encounters and will encounter in the future. 

“After getting to know Randolph and what she had been through I know she appreciates the little things in life,” said Staff Sgt. Brittany Liddon, NCO in-charge of community relations assigned to the 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs Office. “She hugs her kids a little tighter and holds them a little longer because she knows what it’s like to not have a mother.”

Randolph still feels some of the effects from the loss of her mother, and works through them as they come along.

 “I’m still a closed off person and don’t get very emotional,” said Randolph. “But I open up to those that are close to me and try to embody the strength I saw in my mother.”