There’s one relative that I am much closer to than all of the others. When I have problems, she’s the person I call. When Milton was going to propose to me, she is the person he called. When I was trying to decide on a wedding dress, I took video of the dresses and she helped me make the decision. When I walk down the aisle, I wanted my Aunt Cheryl by my side.
While at UNC I would spend every Thanksgiving at her house instead of traveling home. My senior year, in 1997, Aunt Cheryl had a heart transplant. I remember being ‘mad’ at her that year because they left me alone for Thanksgiving. The transplant was supposed to give her 4-6 extra years of life. But that was 13 years ago. Whenever I could, I would travel to see her. She started dialysis a couple of years ago. She enjoyed reading National Enquirer to pass the time. So I ordered a subscription.
Milton and I were in North Carolina in December to see her. Milton told me that he wanted us to have the same type of fun loving relationship that my aunt and uncle had. When I returned home, she called me and said she has never seen me so happy before. She was excited for my wedding.
Recently I was getting my hair done and had a feeling of sadness run through me. I didn’t know what it was. A couple hours later I receive a phone call from my uncle. My aunt had to be resuscitated three times and it wasn’t looking good. At first I thought about flying down to say goodbye, but I didn’t want to have the last vision my aunt unresponsive and attached to all types of responses. The next day she died.
It was difficult because the motherly figure in place of my own mother was now gone. It was difficult because I knew how excited she was to see me get married. It was most difficult because instead of her traveling to see me get married, I was traveling to attend her funeral. I knew she was in a better place and the pains and illnesses she’d felt for a long amount of time were gone. I truly believe that things happen for a reason. I also know that she will have a back row (my parents will have the front row) seat to my wedding and all will be smiling down from above.
M.Y. February 2011