A high school graduation in Texas.
In front of a crowd of several hundred.
A photo of the event.
The young people.
They’re standing there, they’re talking.
Then it all changes.
In one of the most memorable moments of 2017, one of these people, a woman named Maria, has a heart attack.
The only thing left to do is to save the life of the man in the front row.
And she does.
Maria has been hospitalized for more than a week with a severe blood clot in her heart.
She is one of thousands of people who have been killed in Texas since March, when Governor Greg Abbott signed the legislation that created Texas’ death penalty.
In this week’s episode, we talk to Maria about her life, and what this has meant for her family.
We also hear from the man who, before Maria died, told her, “I have a feeling I’ll get to be president of the United States.”
Maria has never met her hero, but she says he was her first.
She was just 13 when she and a friend started a party at a friend’s house to celebrate her graduation from high school.
Maria was 17.
Her friends were 16 and 17, but they were in a different era.
“They’re like, ‘We can’t get in this together,’ ” Maria recalls.
“It was this very new world.
It was a very new era.”
They were all living in a house that had no electricity.
“I remember, ‘Mom, I’m gonna get in trouble, because I’m just going to be so drunk.
I’m not going to have to pay for my birthday party,'” she recalls.
But she and her friends were there.
They were drinking all night, they were playing video games.
“So we had to sneak into a bathroom, and then we had a fight and a fight.
And then we were in the bathroom, we got into the bathroom.
And it was all so scary,” she says.
Then they got into this huge fight.
Maria remembers crying and screaming.
Then she started to bleed.
“The whole time, I was crying.
I was so scared, I couldn’t even go to the bathroom,” she recalls, sobbing.
Then the fight escalated.
“My mom came to me, and I remember her telling me, ‘You’re a little girl.
Get in the restroom, and go.
And I was like, I don’t want to do this.
I want to die.'”
She remembers crying in the hospital for hours.
“We were in so much pain,” she remembers.
“And she kept saying, ‘Go, get in the shower, you’re going to need a towel.’
And I just remember the water pouring down my face, and the towels, and just like, no matter what I did, I could not get the water off my face.”
Maria’s mother called the hospital.
They told her to come home.
“This is not happening.
This is not right,” Maria says.
They finally got her to a room, and she started crying.
She wasn’t really the type of girl who would be able to handle the trauma of a high school diploma. “
Maria was 16.
She wasn’t really the type of girl who would be able to handle the trauma of a high school diploma.
But now she has the ability to.
She graduated from high-school a year early.
She got to the top of the class, and it was an incredible experience.
She’s planning to graduate with honors, and in two years, she hopes to be a teacher. “
Now I’m thinking about my life and what I’ve achieved, and this was my goal,” Maria remembers.
She’s planning to graduate with honors, and in two years, she hopes to be a teacher.
But right now, she’s just hoping for the best.
She wants to see her son, who she says is her hero.
“That’s all I want for him to come back, and to be able do that,” Maria tells us.
“If that’s the goal, and he does come back and be the teacher, then I’m going to hold him to that, and be like, he’s my hero.”
The show airs Wednesday nights at 8 p.m.
ET on Fox.
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