Sunday, May 30, 2010

Nora Jean

My aunt, Nora Jean, passed away Thursday evening after battling cancer. Actually, it was exactly two months from the day she was diagnosed (03/27/2010 to 05/27/2010). Unfortunately the cancer was caught late and was very aggressive. Her chance for survival was slim even with radiation and chemotherapy, but we all had hope. Sometimes hope and faith are the only thing you have to hang on to; It's what keeps you going. I remember getting the call from mom telling me about my aunt (her sister). I sat in my truck in the hospital parking lot 2 nerves short of an anxiety attack trembling and crying. I wasn't sure I could do this again (I recently lost my grams on my dad's side to cancer 8 months ago) but I knew I had to, for my mom's sake. I had to be there on her behalf when she couldn't because she lives 8 hours away. There was no place else I would have rather been than spending each moment I could with my aunt and my cousin Kimmie. I cant say that my aunt and I were close, but I loved her nonetheless. I knew I had to be there for my cousin; losing a grandmother is different from losing a mother but we were both care takers, so I hope even just the little advice I could offer helped. My heart goes out to my cousin, she was an only child but no matter what, she is not alone. She is lucky to have wonderful friends who have stuck by her and a special someone who is by her side to lift her up when she is down and encourage her.

Mom was on her way the night she passed away, she was a few hours short of seeing her before she took her last breath. I don't know what it is like to lose a sibling but if it was any consolation, I tried to tell her that it was for the best and she has wonderful memories. As difficult as it was, I was able to be there in her final hours. I held her hand and caressed her, I wiped her tears and whispered words of encouragement letting her know she fought courageously and I was proud of her. I told her my mother was on her way and she loved her very much. I would update mom every hour and to check up on her since she was traveling alone and in intense back pain. My cousin Laura and I took a break and went to have some dinner at a near by restaurant when I got a call from my mom telling me she saw the most beautiful rainbow as she was driving, it was sunny out. I arrived back to Kimmie and my aunt's home where I learned she took a turn for the worst while we had been out. I put two and two together and that rainbow was a sign from my aunt to my mom. When she passed away, I didn't have the heart to tell my mom. She knew something was wrong when the calls stopped but was afraid to call us and hear bad news. She pushed through the pain and arrived at my cousin's home at 1:30 AM only to find her sister gone. It was quite an emotional day/evening. It breaks my heart to be unable to console my mother, but I tried as best as I could.

We have had an emotional couple days and the services start tomorrow so I have to be strong for my cousin, mom, and the rest of the family. It is only natural to be selfish and want her here with us but she is in a better place now, a place with no pain and suffering.
“You can shed tears that she is gone,
or you can smile because she has
You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back,
or you
can open your eyes and see all she's left.
Your heart can be empty because
you can't see her,
...or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can
turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for
tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her only that she is gone,
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close
your mind,
be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what she'd want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.”

(Mom (Mary Ann) and Aunt Nora Jean)

(Nora Jean)