Growing up, I had my mother, who was amazing and left us far too soon. After her passing, there was no shortage of women who gathered my sisters and I with open arms full of love. To call myself blessed to be surrounded by amazing women would be a gross understatement. Warrior women who hardly needed to be asked; they just did with amazing resolve.
My Aunt Delores was such a woman. I never remember having to ask her for anything. I can hear her now, in her thick Cajun accent, calling me “MEH-LUH-NEE,” giving full weight to each syllable. Sunday night, a short time after I learned of her illness, we lost her. I’m not dealing with it. Fortunately, I’ve been with friends, and I’ve done my best to laugh as much as I can, but I am not okay. It doesn’t make sense to me. It’s given me a very odd view toward karma and what we believe it is. Some things just happen. I’m not okay with living in a world where a beautiful spirit can go into a hospital for treatment one month, and be dead from lung cancer the next.
I’ve arrived at the age where my parents started losing their elders. The aunts, uncles and older cousins who seemed so distant when I was a child are now the people I held dear. That means it’s on my generation to guide the younger ones and keep my family history alive. I admitted my uncertainty and was told that if I wasn’t ready, I wouldn’t be trusted with the task. It’s hard to keep faith, when cancer and tragedy befall all of the strong women who shaped me. In the seventeen years since I’ve lost mama, I’ve lost four. Four women who took care of me, not as though I belonged to them, but because I belonged to them. My village was amazing. It’s my turn to become the village. Pray that I make them proud.
Rest in Paradise, Aunt Dee. You’re loved even more than you could have imagined.