I’m used to my phone ringing in the middle of the night. That’s what happens when you do crisis work. When my sister called at 3:30am on May 13, it took a few minutes to realize that something was seriously wrong. She knew about the “do not disturb” function that I implement at night when I’m not on call and she knew to call twice to get through in case of an emergency.
Lauren, my 18 year old cousin (who has always been another little sister to me), called my sister and mom because my Aunt Nancy (my second mother) was sitting on the floor of the bathroom only semi-responsive. My Uncle Mark was working over night at the warehouse, so Lauren was the only person home. Lauren heard her calling from the bathroom and was told to call 911. After that, my aunt was only able to nod in response to questions.
I immediately texted to check in and to make sure Lauren was okay. She called in a panic after the initial text. I tried to distract her once the paramedics took her mom into the ambulance. I called my mom and sister because she stated the paramedics told her to drive to the hospital separately. They went to pick her up. The officers stayed at the house, so my mom stayed with them. My sister took my cousin to the hospital. Lauren had done everything she was supposed to do and remained as calm as possible through the whole thing, something I am not sure I would be able to do at her age.
My mom assured me she would tell me if I should come down. By 4:25am, I received the call that Aunt Nancy had died in the ambulance. As soon as they put her in the back, her oxygen levels dropped to 25%. They think it was a heart attack. They tried for 30 minutes to start her heart again to no avail. They told my family in a private room at the hospital. I guess that is what happens when a 49 year old woman dies of a heart attack so unexpectedly. This is after visiting different doctors throughout the week without anyone catching that anything was wrong.
My Aunt Nancy was an incredible person and incredibly involved in my life. She was my mom’s best friend, she was someone that we saw every weekend–my mom’s side of the family is a very tight knit group. When we were younger, Sarah and I would spend the night and hang out at her house often. We would all go to craft shows in the fall and Shipshewana in the summer once we were a bit too old for monthly sleepovers. I am so glad to have known her as an adult and as a friend. Aunt Nancy, I love you and miss you.