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 household and close friends, Lydia Nunez constantly had jokes, hugs and lots of like.

She was the “glue” that brought folks with each other, the 1 who remembered birthdays, spoiled her nieces and nephews and brought a spark to any area she entered. “Where’s the celebration at?” was 1 of her preferred phrases.

So when she died at 34 from the coronavirus, her devastated older sister, Erika Banks, went buying, just as they utilized 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 just before she reduce it and a preferred lipstick, Ruby Woo.

Obtaining anything excellent for her child sister gave Banks 1 final likelihood to take care of somebody who had constantly lifted the spirits of other individuals regardless of battling her personal well being difficulties.

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

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

At age eight, Nunez was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. When managing it meant she had to do points differently from her close friends – such as regularly pricking herself to verify her blood sugar – she did not let it define her. 1 of her largest worries in elementary college was producing certain other little ones knew they couldn’t “get” diabetes from her.

Possibly it was that self-awareness that helped her see other individuals.

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

“Everybody loved Lydia,” mentioned Lorraine Nunez.

When Banks married and had her initial youngster at 22, Nunez, then 16, embraced becoming an aunt. Following college, she would come household, 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 spot, Nunez would come more than and commit the weekends. As Banks had much more young children and they grew up — nowadays there are 4 among ages 12 and 18 — “auntie,” as they named Nunez, helped raise them and enjoyed spoiling them.

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

Much more 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 correct).

Eris Banks, 12, recalled how her aunt would come more than on New Year’s Eve, the day just before Eris’ Jan. 1 birthday, and play board games since 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 correct.”

Nunez loved to dance and cook and was constantly prepared to aid get celebrations going. A swift wit normally had folks laughing.

“Stop telling all my organization, lady!” was some thing she would inform her mother at household gatherings.

Following finishing higher college, Nunez wanted to come to be a social worker and started classes at a neighborhood college. She also slimmed down, obtaining into Zumba classes and closely managing her diet program. But in her early 20s, she was diagnosed with gastroparesis, a situation in which the stomach does not effectively method foods.

More than the subsequent ten years, she would endure a continuous cycle of stomach pains, medicines, surgeries and hospitalizations. Items would enhance and then some thing would trigger a further 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 come to be a “burden.”

“God gave you to us. I’ll by no means get tired,” Nunez’ mom recalled telling her daughter. “I know often you wake us up in the middle of the evening. It is OK. I want you to come to me and dad initial. You are a aspect of each of us.”

Early this year, just before the coronavirus took hold in the U.S., Nunez was enjoying a lengthy spell of very good well being. Items had been going so nicely that she went on a trip to Oregon with her mother, her sister and Jesse. When they returned from the trip in mid-February, situations of coronavirus had been starting to emerge in the U.S. The household took every single precaution, recognizing that Nunez was fragile.

On May perhaps 23, the worry the household carried for months about Nunez came accurate: she got sick once more, this time rupturing an intestine that expected a big surgery. There was no way to hold her at household, no way to hold her from hospitals exactly where folks had been becoming treated for coronavirus.

Following surgery, she steadily recovered, till late June, when was diagnosed with the virus. She died July five. The household wonders if they could have completed some thing differently, but mainly they just miss Nunez.

“I do not even know how to inform folks that I only have 1 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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