It was Sunday, May 14, 2017. It was Mother’s Day.

I went over to spend the night with my Aunt Bert. She had been diagnosed with a rare cancer. We talked, laughed, and watched TV together. I spent the night by her side, just waiting to see if she needed me.

We got up in the morning. I made her, her usual morning drink hot water with one Splenda, I had my coffee. I showered and left for work.

I said goodbye, kissed her, and said “I love you.”

Twelve days later on May 26, 2017, my aunt died, with her friends and family by her side.

There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of her. I want to call her or text her. We both loved funny emojis. I still have all of our text messages saved. My aunt was my friend and my mentor. She was the consummate teacher.

As I faced this month, I kept thinking, how can it be a year already without my Aunt Bert?

A year without someone you love so much is indescribable. Dealing with loss any day is difficult enough, and then it’s the first of everything you have to experience.

The first time I reached for my phone to call her, and she wasn’t there. The first family gathering, and her beautiful self is not there. The first time I need my person, and she is not there.

I am struggling with the loss of my aunt and the anniversary of her death. It’s that gut-wrenching, empty feeling you have when you feel you will never be whole again. I know deep down that one day I will feel whole again.

How do I know? I know because I have a strong faith in God and belief in self.

My aunt helped me build a strong foundation of self. I have my family and friends who are always there when I need someone to listen to me or simply need a cry, a laugh or to just want to share some good news.

This last year has taught me that there is no time limit on overcoming loss, adversity or any specific change you want to make.

You need to take the time to heal. Time to grieve. Time to create a new normal life.

I am sharing about my loss in the hope that you know that I get it and you are not alone.

Remind you to be mentally tough, and remind you that you can do it, too. We all can and will do it. Remember you will get through this. It’s times like this that will teach us how strong we really are.

Please be nice to yourself along the way too. I know I am going out of my way to be extra nice to myself. I started practicing yoga and meditation to help me to grow and continue on my journey of self-love and discovery. Is there something you can do to help yourself?

My life will never be the same without my aunt. The love she showed me will always be in my heart and soul, and nothing will ever take that love away.

Through this loss, I have learned that true love never leaves your heart when you lose a person you deeply loved. Never stop loving with all your heart, today and every day, and remember to always keep loving yourself.

A picture of us at Epcot!