When I was working on my doctorate between 2000-2008 in North Carolina, my plate was full. I was a single mom, grant evaluator/analyst for school initiatives that required accountability documentation, and advocate for my autistic son, who suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome. He was violent and more than a handful, so at the time, my stress levels were off the chart. I lived in a large country rock home built on the side of a mountain. The house was moldy and damp smelling, but the view out the bay windows was priceless.
Soon after working on my doctorate my Aunt Gladys got sick from a dangerous bacterial infection she contracted after an abdominal operation. Another of my aunts, Aunt Fran, was taking care of her, going back and forth daily between Destin where she lived, and Pensacola, Florida where my Aunt Gladys was hospitalized.
I would drive down there to help Aunt Fran out between my school exams and work. During these visits I noticed my Aunt Fran constantly coughing like she had a cold or allergy issues. My last visit to see my Aunt Gladys, I told my Aunt Fran to get that cough checked out; she told me she had been on antibiotics but they didn’t seem to be clearing up the cough.
Several weeks later, around Christmas, I got a phone call to come down immediately — a sad visit, as my Aunt Gladys died, and my Aunt Fran was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. I remember crying my eyes out over the news. Every chance I got I would drive down to Florida from North Carolina to see her. I held her hand as she was dying. I laid hands on her to ‘sense’ how bad it was, and I could see with my ‘spiritual eyes’ the blackness closing in fast, very little light left, so I knew she wouldn’t have much time left to live, and it was not quality time.