Lives Lost: Beloved aunt would ask: ‘Where’s the celebration at?’

Published Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020 | 12:07 a.m.

Updated 54 minutes ago

For family members and good friends, Lydia Nunez constantly had jokes, hugs and lots of appreciate.

She was the “glue” that brought folks with each other, the a single who remembered birthdays, spoiled her nieces and nephews and brought a spark to any area she entered. “Where’s the celebration at?” was a single of her preferred phrases.

So when she died at 34 from the coronavirus, her devastated older sister, Erika Banks, went purchasing, just as they employed to. For Nunez to put on in her white casket, Banks purchased a red dress at Macy’s a wig, so Nunez’s hair would be lengthy, as it had been prior to she reduce it and a preferred lipstick, Ruby Woo.

Having anything fantastic for her child sister gave Banks a single final likelihood to take care of somebody who had constantly lifted the spirits of other people in spite of battling her personal well being issues.

“I wanted her to be the standout, to be the pop of color” at the funeral, mentioned Banks, 41. “I wanted her to appear incredible, to appear her age, to appear as fabulous as she was.” ___ EDITOR’S NOTE: This is component of an ongoing series of stories remembering folks who have died from the coronavirus about the planet. ___

Banks had constantly wanted a younger sibling. Regardless of a six-year age gap, she and Nunez grew up extremely close. They took turns sharing the tv, as they liked distinctive shows, and hung out with other young children in their Los Angeles neighborhood.

At age eight, Nunez was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. Whilst managing it meant she had to do points differently from her good friends – such as often pricking herself to verify her blood sugar – she did not let it define her. 1 of her largest worries in elementary college was creating positive other youngsters knew they couldn’t “get” diabetes from her.

Probably it was that self-awareness that helped her see other people.

Nunez’s mother, Lorraine Nunez, remembers how her daughter, when in higher college, as soon as asked for additional funds to throw a surprise birthday celebration for a classmate who wasn’t going to have a celebration simply because his parents had been divorced.

“Everybody loved Lydia,” mentioned Lorraine Nunez.

When Banks married and had her 1st youngster at 22, Nunez, then 16, embraced getting an aunt. Just after college, she would come dwelling, do her homework and then take care of the child boy, Jesse, so that Banks, then in nursing college, could study.

When some years later Banks and her husband moved to their personal location, Nunez would come more than and commit the weekends. As Banks had far more young children and they grew up — currently there are 4 among ages 12 and 18 — “auntie,” as they known as Nunez, helped raise them and enjoyed spoiling them.

In some cases that would come in the type of funny gifts, like a Disney bikini for a niece when she was only 3 months old, and other occasions, as the youngsters got older, she would periodically slip them money, an auntie “allowance” of sorts.

Extra than something material, she was constantly there for her two nieces and two nephews, whose names she tattooed on her left arm (her sister and some cousins had been tattooed on her ideal).

Eris Banks, 12, recalled how her aunt would come more than on New Year’s Eve, the day prior to Eris’ Jan. 1 birthday, and play board games simply because Eris didn’t like to go out and see fireworks.

“She would listen to you, what ever you had to say,” mentioned Eris Banks. “I would inform her about my mom, and she was constantly on my mom’s side, would constantly say mom was ideal.”

Nunez loved to dance and cook and was constantly prepared to assistance get celebrations going. A speedy wit frequently had folks laughing.

“Stop telling all my business enterprise, lady!” was a thing she would inform her mother at family members gatherings.

Just after finishing higher college, Nunez wanted to turn into a social worker and started classes at a neighborhood college. She also slimmed down, finding into Zumba classes and closely managing her diet regime. But in her early 20s, she was diagnosed with gastroparesis, a situation in which the stomach does not adequately method foods.

More than the subsequent ten years, she would endure a continuous cycle of stomach pains, medicines, surgeries and hospitalizations. Points would boost and then a thing would trigger a different wave. As soon as, just after Nunez vomited all more than the couch and living area floor in the middle of the evening, she woke her mother up. Writhing with stomach discomfort, she lamented that she had turn into a “burden.”

“God gave you to us. I’ll never ever get tired,” Nunez’ mom recalled telling her daughter. “I know occasionally you wake us up in the middle of the evening. It is OK. I want you to come to me and dad 1st. You are a component of each of us.”

Early this year, prior to the coronavirus took hold in the U.S., Nunez was enjoying a lengthy spell of great well being. Points had been going so effectively that she went on a getaway to Oregon with her mother, her sister and Jesse. When they returned from the trip in mid-February, circumstances of coronavirus had been starting to emerge in the U.S. The family members took each precaution, figuring out that Nunez was fragile.

On Could 23, the worry the family members carried for months about Nunez came accurate: she got sick once again, this time rupturing an intestine that essential a big surgery. There was no way to hold her at dwelling, no way to hold her from hospitals exactly where folks had been getting treated for coronavirus.

Just after surgery, she steadily recovered, till late June, when was diagnosed with the virus. She died July five. The family members wonders if they could have accomplished a thing differently, but mainly they just miss Nunez.

“I do not even know how to inform folks that I only have a single youngster now,” mentioned Lorraine Nunez, who spends some time sitting in her daughter’s area, holding a preferred headscarf to really feel closer. “At some point in the day, I have to cry.”

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