A Hurt Like No Other

Most people only see their extended family members at Christmas time or Thanksgiving. Some don’t see them until a family tragedy strikes. In other cases, a lot of people don’t see their extended family members at all.

With regards to my family, that’s different. I’m very close to my mom’s side of the family, especially my two aunts who live here in Toronto. I grew up with them; they babysat me; we travel together; go to church together, and talk often. I see my aunts on the same level as my mother, and that’s why this hurts so bad.

Queen Dulcie

On February 6, one of my aunts (the matriarch of her siblings) was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, a rare one at that. This came as a shock to all of us because we took her to her doctor appointments, and there was no sign or mention of cancer. Before her diagnosis, she was living on her own, doing her thing; she was a true example of an independent woman living her best life. However, that late Sunday evening to this morning in the one o’clock hour, our whole lives changed.

I’ve been crying for the last month and a half, so much so that at one point, I thought I ran out of tears and became numb to what was happening around me. That didn’t last for long. I went from being a scared niece to being her President, as she liked to call me, right back to this sad little girl longing for her to wake up and come back.

Although this is a hurt like no other, I also learned a lot about myself at the same time. In the words of Whitney Houston, “I didn’t know my own strength.” 

Whitney Houston on The Oprah Winfrey Show

Since my aunt’s hospital visits until her passing, I have done and became so many things:

  • I was her emergency contact
  • I assisted in making executive decisions on her behalf
  • I became her full-time caregiver (along with my mother and another aunt)
  • I became an assistant nurse (who would’ve thought I could give needles… Surely NOT ME)
  • I kept my family and her friends up to date with everything that was happening
  • And unfortunately, I’m now planning her end of life arrangements 

Right now, it feels like I’m operating on autopilot. On the one hand, my mind is in business mode, constantly thinking, “what’s going to happen next.” On the other hand, I’m emotional and mentally exhausted. 

Many people looked at me these last couple of weeks and said, “I don’t know how you do it ?”; “You’re so strong!”; “How are you coping between your aunt and school?”

To be honest, most times, I didn’t know how I was functioning. Just like other things in my life, I had to do it. I loved my aunt like I loved my mother, so to help her was like second nature. Without a second thought or hesitation, I did all that I possibly could. I have no regrets about how things were handled in her last couple of weeks. I gave it my all and made sure she was comfortable and surrounded by love from those near and far. Also, thank God for technology, one of the best things that we did for her was video call as many family members as we could from all over so they could see her, she sees them, and they could tell each other how much they love one another. 

My Aunts and I in 2003

My aunty was feisty and hot like a scotch bonnet pepper. She would set you straight on the Saturday and praise the Lord on Sunday. She was a true OG, and her presence will always be missed.

Love you Aunty Dulcie, to the MAX!

XOXO, babygirl

Update: watch my speech at my aunt’s funeral here

7 thoughts on “A Hurt Like No Other

  1. Natalie I am so sorry for your loss. My deepest condolences to u and ur family. I’m just a text or call away. May God strength and comfort be with u today and always.❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Natalie i am so so sorry for your loss. Sending my love to u and ur family. May God strength and comfort be with you today and always. I’m just a text or call away. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My deep condolences to you and your family. I know how it is losing someone close to you. I just lost my grandfather a month ago and it hurt me to the core. We never we’ll get to see our loved ones for the last time until they go. It’s great to hear that always a great connection with your aunt. I’m praying for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My condolences to you and your family during this difficult time, Natalie 🕊️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Natalie, my wife and I are so sorry for your loss and are extending our sincerest prayers and condolences.

    I know the pain of losing an aunt so close that she might as well be your mother. Understand that we’re here for you in any capacity.

    God give you strength and comfort and Thank You for summing the courage to write and share this your most private thoughts and feelings.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 🙏🏾❤️🥺 Thank you for sharing this piece. She made me feel so welcome into your family. What a treasure she has been. May God continue to bless you all for all the love you poured into her.

    Liked by 1 person

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