Remembering my Aunt

TUNDE NYARFADI

“Hi, I am here to share my story of  how I have been touched by cancer. I am lucky, touch wood, fingers crossed, I do not have cancer. I am really blessed and lucky to say this, unlike many other people. I was about 18 years old when I found my aunt, my father’s sister, had brain tumor. She was only 37 years old, young, beautiful woman. I do not have much memory of speaking to any of may family members about it a lot. It was something really scary to think about, something awful I did not want to deal with in any way. I tried to block it out of my mind and just pretend it is not there. Thinking of it now, I feel like I was a coward.

My aunt was always a bubbly person, she had 2 children she left behind. Those children needed her. She needed them too.

I do not like to go to hospitals, really, who does? I do not like to go to funerals. I actually refuse to go to funerals. You may ask why. Allow me to tell you. 

After my Aunt had a few chemo therapies and was taking really hard drugs, she did not look like herself at all. One day I visited her at home after she got out of the hospital and I was shocked, Was it the same person I saw? Was this woman my aunt, I wondered as I stood in the doorway petrified. I did not want to move closer to her. She did not know who we were. She was sitting in a armchair in her living room, with a scarf on her head. She lost all her beautiful hair. The scarf was more than an accessory. It was covering up more than just a head. Her face was all swollen. 

She had some sort of a furry thing on the arm of the chair and I remember her calling it a cat…she was delusional. That was the moment when I decided I do not want to see her like this. This person in front of me is NOT my aunt, it can not be. This is when I knew I did not want to remember her like that. I wanted her to be in my memory as when she was healthy. That is all, healthy, not young, not beautiful, not old, not ugly, just a healthy person. 

I saw her in my dreams a few times just sitting in her chair, her head covered with a scarf. Shortly after she passed away I went to England to be a Au-pair. I stayed with my father’s godmother who looked very much like my aunt. When I arrived at her house with my uncle, she was sitting in her kitchen. She just washed her hair and had a towel on her head. She looked like my late aunt. When she got up to great me I did not cry happy tears to see her,. I had tears in my eyes because I saw my father’s sister in her. 

I did not go to her funeral. I do not go to funerals. It is not a lack of respect, it is a way of protesting against death, that I have no control over, but at least I can remember people the way I want ….they way when they were happy and alive.”

Submitted by: Tunde Nyarfadi. Tunde is Natural Light Photographer in York Region. 
Websitehttp://tny-photography.blogspot.com/ 
Twitter name: @TNy_Photography
Follow her: TNy on Facebook
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