March 26th, 2010
11:14 AM ET

In memory of my beloved brothers Ronald Brock and Angel Candia

Program Note: Don't miss our AC360° special investigation, "Gangs of Hollenbeck," Friday at 11 p.m. ET and Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/25/angel.candia_captioned.jpg caption="Adela's brother, Angel Candia." width=292 height=320]

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/25/roland.brock.marine_captioned.jpg caption="Adela's brother, Ronald Brock." width=292 height=320]

Adela Brock

A little over eight years ago, I never envisioned that my family and I would experience such a tragedy. It wasn’t until those two unforgettable nights where I felt that life had proven me wrong because we tend to grow up thinking that our family will always be with us. Everything inside me had shut down and it felt like a part of me had died with each tragedy that occurred.

I was lost but I had only a moment to feel the grief for I knew that my mother was in need of me. I needed to emotionally support her because for a few years it felt like I had lost her too. My mother grew increasingly depressed and had disconnected herself from the world. It was up to me to guide her and help her carry on.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/25/adela.brock_captioned.jpg caption="Adela Brock." width=292 height=320]

There were many times when I wanted to give up and disappear from it all, but I reminded myself that my mother did not ask for this. Filled with anger and confusion, I could not let her see that I was slowly falling apart. I needed to be strong for her. I wanted my mother back.

It has been eight years since I have seen Angel and Ronny but I always carry that memory of them smiling back at me as I drift away. To most people in the world Angel was just a gang member and Ronny was just a Marine but to me, they were my brothers. They were the ones who helped raise me, provided me with guidance and stepped in as male role models. They had a side to them that most people didn’t know or wouldn’t even notice. They were gentle at heart and very family oriented. I know this because they contributed to making me into the person I am today. They helped guide me onto the right path and I know it’s up to me to continue it on my own.

I recently graduated from California State University, Los Angeles with a degree in Health and Human Services. I plan to continue my education and help those who are in need of emotional and psychological support as a tribute to those who have come to the aid of my family during difficult times.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/25/soledad.ronald.brock.angel.candia_captioned.jpg caption="Soledad Brock with her two sons, Ronald Brock and Angel Candia."]

My mother grew to be a strong woman and we continue to support each other. We no longer take moments with one another for granted and we live each day as if it were our last. I want my mother to know just how thankful I am for her tremendous impact on my life.

Though these past years have been difficult, she has never let me down and that makes her the greatest mother in the world. As I continue to go through this journey in life, I will always think of Angel and Ronny and carry them with me. I don’t believe I could ever let my brothers go because I know in my heart, they never truly left but what I do believe is that one day, we’ll all get to hold each other again and letting go will not be an option this time. I have developed a phrase that serves to give me strength on the days I think of them and feel lost: They were introduced into our world for only a moment but we’ll soon be welcomed into theirs forever.

Tragedy occurs in this world everyday and my message to everyone involved is that you’re not alone. No matter how we deal or grieve in these situations, there’s hope left in all of us that we will continue to find the strength within to reach our fullest potential while still keeping their memory alive.

I hope you and your loved ones find the same strength as my mother and I have discovered to live a long and peaceful life together.

Filed under: Hollenbeck • Homicide in Hollenbeck
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