The One Where I Lost Someone Really Special

This has been a post that I have been wanting to do, but that I haven’t been able to bring myself to do. I have started writing and rewriting it so many times, but now is the first time I have been able to complete it. It brings out a lot of emotions that I have been dealing with and working through the last couple of months. I have talked about it a lot, but family is something really important to me, and I am lucky that my family and I have always been so close. I’m sure people have also seen that I have been in Nashville with my family a whole lot lately. I mentioned before that in the fall of 2020 my anxiety really took a turn, and I was having a hard time just to get through work or day to day tasks. I couldn’t figure out the cause of it which made it difficult to try to work through on my own. So I talked with my doctor and decided to take a medical leave of absence to take time to focus on myself and talk to a therapist.

If you follow me on Instagram or are friends with me on Facebook, then you know how close I am with my Aunt Cindy, and really all of my family. I was the first grandchild on my mom’s side of the family, so to say I was spoiled was an understatement. When I was little, my sister and I would spend the night at our cousin’s house, and many times that meant I got to have the exciting task of organizing Cindy’s tupperware cabinet. Which I am sure was just a task she probably didn’t want to do, but I loved doing.

They had two girls, Ashley and Natalie, so we did so much together growing up. During the summer we would all spend pretty much every day together at our grandparents house either swimming, playing dress up, arts and crafts, or playing outside. Our whole family LOVES Disney (I was born into the Disney love that I have). We took several trips with my family, my grandparents, and my cousins, Aunt Cindy and Uncle Dale, and we had THE BEST time! Luckily for us, Dale filmed everything, so now we can go back and watch our trips or random sleepovers any time we want.

Now after that little bit of a backstory so that you know everyone now... I came back to Nashville the beginning of December, and that is when things really started to flip upside down in my life. I came home on December 4th to take a month or so to work on myself, and December 7th my grandaddy was diagnosed with COVID-19. My grandmother tested positive the next day, but luckily she had a very mild case. Grandaddy didn’t have to go to the hospital, but I spent each day over at their house helping care for them. Within the next week, my uncle, cousin, and aunt all tested positive for COVID as well. While they all had pretty bad cases of it, my aunt Cindy had it the worst. We had been worried since COVID came along about her getting it, because she was at high risk. She was diabetic, and she had a liver transplant in December of 2009. My cousin and my mom took her to the hospital on December 11th where they thought they would be picking her back up that afternoon. Instead, they admitted her, and by the next night she was in the ICU since she was requiring so much oxygen given to her.

As we have all seen within the last year, COVID recovery is such a long road filled with ups and downs. We weren’t able to go in and see her at first, so we would have to call each day several times to check on her. Sometimes she would be doing good, others the same, and unfortunately worse at times. Such drastic changes that Christmas morning she was able to get out of the bed and walk to sit in the chair and not even a week later she was on a ventilator. She was only on it for a couple of days, and then she was able to come off of it. At this point she was out of the COVID unit, so we were able to go in and see her. I went in to visit with her one day that she was on the ventilator and then another time after she was off and doing better. I will never forget the time I came in and brought her some Panera soup. I went in first to get her all set up to eat, and then my uncle was coming in next to spend time with her. The nurse came in and asked Cindy ”well how is it? were you excited?" more talking about the food, but Cindy responded ”well I thought it was going to be my husband!!” in her sassy little tone. I couldn’t help but laugh! That’s when I knew she was feeling better, because she was getting sassy with us all again. (the sassiness runs strong in the family!)

Cindy was doing so well that she was able to be moved to an ICU rehab location on January 13th. This meant that they would be able to start working on getting her strength back to do just daily tasks and lower her oxygen levels so that she would be able to come home! We were all so excited that we were finally to the steps of talking about her coming home. We were prepared for if she needed to come home while still on some oxygen. We were ready to have her home no matter what!

At this point, I had plans to come back to Florida the end of January, and then I had a flight booked to come back to Nashville the middle of February since that’s when we were discussing getting to bring Cindy home! And let me tell you... it is crazy how things can literally change in the blink of an eye. My mom and I drove back to Florida January 29th, and the next morning my whole life changed. My uncle called my mom, and he said that something happened through the night and he didn't think Cindy was going to make it. My mom called out to where she was, and they informed us that she had actually already passed. I’ve never felt emotion like that before, because I had never lost someone so close to me. I remember just dropping to the ground in the middle of my apartment in shock. She was getting better and even supposed to be coming home, and then so quickly she took a turn. So my mom and I hopped on the next flight back to Nashville and I have been here since then. We later learned that it was due to blood clots that had formed and just spread through her lungs.

Grief is such a weird thing. One minute you’re doing okay, and then the next you’re crying uncontrollably and nothing can help. I felt like I was walking around in a fog. I didn’t feel like doing any normal daily tasks through the day. I couldn’t even mindlessly scroll through social media to get my mind off of things. Grief is one of those things that you just have to go through though. I had to go through the angry emotions, the sad, the denial all so that I could work through it and learn how to live this new life we were taking on without Cindy.

I am doing better now, but by better I mean that I might only cry a couple of times a week instead of a couple of times a day. I am so thankful that I have always been so close with my family, because now I have all of these amazing memories of my aunt Cindy. We have talked several times since she passed about a girls trip we all went on. It was me, my sister, my mom, Grandmomma, Cindy, and her girls, Ashley and Natalie. We had gone to a wedding and decided to go down to Myrtle Beach for the rest of the weekend. We all just about froze in our condo, because I am fully convinced there was no possible way for Cindy to get cold. I could be wrapped in two blankets freezing, and she would be in shorts and a t-shirt still warm.

Cindy always loved the snow. She would get out and play or sled with us anytime she got the chance. She taught me how to count to ten in French (and when you got to 10 (dix) you had to say it in a high pitched squeal voice), we were always quoting FRIENDS, she always joined in on the family game times even though she never knew how to play them, and some of my favorite memories are the times she visited me in Disney. Their family came down several times since I have been working at Disney, and I would always spend time with them. I am so glad now that I took the time off of work while they were here to spend time with them. I have so many pictures of us around the parks and them visiting me while I would be working, and those are moments that I will always think of while wandering the parks now.

Today would have been my sweet aunt Cindy’s birthday, so I figured what a perfect time to share this story and the love that I have for her. Although I'm not sure I could put into words how much she means to us all and how much we all miss her every day. Anyone that knew Cindy knew that she always had a smile on her face. She was usually laughing or doing something to make us laugh such as some of the dances from TikTok! Those are the way I choose to remember my aunt. My friend Tiffany over at Sew Cute Ears Co had made Cindy a pair of ears for their Disney trip last year to celebrate her liver transplant back in 2009, and had a keychain in the same color. I now have a keychain in ”Cindy Blue” that I carry with me every day to remember her by, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about her. I also have a Minnie Bow charm that goes on my watchband. I like to think that when it snowed, even just flurries, the day of her funeral that it was her letting us know that she’s okay. I know that this grieving process takes time, and I can say that I am proud of where I am now. If you have made it to the end, THANK YOU. Thank you for being patient with me as I go through this and for being there for me. I love you all.

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