Shona - New Orleans, Louisiana
Entered on January 18, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

It was Christmas day 1992 and everyone gathered at my aunt’s house that year. There were so many aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters and brothers there. There was this huge Christmas tree in the corner of the living room that was ridiculously colorful with a massive amount of presents under the tree. After we opened all the gifts, played with all the toys and ate so much food that we could store it for next winter, someone mentioned a talent show.

My aunt announced that she was going to give twenty dollars to whoever did the best. So two of my younger cousins and I started working on a song with a dance routine to accompany it. We practiced our song and dance for what felt like the whole day. Once we had it etched in our memory it was our turn to perform and we blew our family away. Our routine was the best and we walked away with a crisp twenty dollar bill. We were so excited because we were kids and we were rich!

We were so excited and it meant so much to us that my aunt liked us the best. She was everyone’s favorite aunt and she liked our performance better than she liked the others. She was the aunt that all of the kids would bring their report cards to because we knew she was going to give us a cash incentive for our good grades. She was the aunt that was fun and we always wanted to be around her and spend weekends with her. She was the aunt that brought laughter and joy to the whole family whenever we would have family gatherings. She was the aunt that held our family together. She was definitely my favorite aunt and her name was Sarah.

On November 1, 1993 my aunt Sarah passed away at the age of forty. Some months prior to her death she got sick and was diagnosed with gall stones. She was supposed to have a simple surgery to get them removed but the surgery was far from simple. Once the surgery was complete, she came home and started losing weight very rapidly and still feeling just as sick as she felt before she had the surgery. After multiple visits back and forth to the hospital, we learned that the doctors did an experimental surgery on her which is now named the gastric bypass surgery.

Once we learned that information my aunt did not make a big deal about it because she was just focused on getting better. Therefore we just tried to move on with our live. On October 31, 1993(Halloween night) my aunt and my oldest sister took me and my four cousins out trick or treating and we had a blast. At the end of the night, my sister stopped at a store so my aunt could grab something and then we headed home. As my sister was driving us home my aunt reached over from the passenger seat and blew the horn to let us know that something was wrong. We pulled over on the side of the road and my aunt threw up. We were right down the street from our apartment complex so we tried to hurry home. However, we never got there because my aunt fainted in the car. Whenever we pulled in to the apartment complex her head just fell to the side and we stopped the car right there.

We called the ambulance and attempted to wake her up which was a success. We tried to keep talking to her so that she would remain coherent until the ambulance arrived. Once they arrived they accused her of being intoxicated and waited for thirty to forty five minutes before they put her in the ambulance and took her to the hospital. We later found out that she had been throwing up blood because in her initial surgery the doctors nicked one of her major arteries and she had been slowly bleeding internally for a while. Some hours after the ambulance arrived at the hospital we got a phone call from the doctor saying that my aunt passed away.

Sometime before Halloween I was upset with my aunt. Even as we were trick or treating I still had a little animosity towards her. I can’t even remember why I was upset with her. She was my favorite aunt and she passed away with me being upset with her. I never got the chance to apologize for being upset. I wrote this story to express how important forgiveness is. A lot of times we argue with loved ones and hold grudges toward one another, but we never know if that will be the last time we see them. Life is too short to focus on the small things. The next time that you argue with a spouse, mother, father, sister brother, cousin or friend, try to patch things up ASAP because the relationship is worth so much more than the argument. You never want to miss the chance to say IM SORRY.