I have never been quiet about the importance of having a group of powerful women in your corner to go through life with. No matter how much you may strive to empower & motivate each other; there is no amount of life preparation that can prepare you for what my tribe & I have been experiencing these past few weeks. When you think of life events, you think of marriage, engagements, baby showers, but never, ever, ever do you imagine the day that you will ever have to put one of the members to rest like we did yesterday. Although we all feel the magnitude of her absence differently; no one could have ever prepared us for the grief we feel as a unit.
That being said, in her rest, our dear friend Ayana will be the Nickkie&Co. inspiration this week. I am so honored, that she left one last momentum to contribute to her legacy & I get to showcase it here, on a platform she supported from the beginning. In 2018, when I first started Nickkie&Co., I wrote about the importance of building a cabinet of truly inspirational & motivating women in a memoir, Building A Sisterhood ( https://nickkieandco.com/2018/01/07/sisterhood/ ). In that memoir, I mentioned the impact a solid sisterhood can have on the worst & best times of our lives. It was in that time that Ayana reached out to me; moved to tears because of what her tribe did for her; even until her last breath. Although, she never could finish it (whether she lost momentum or forgot about it) her legacy lives on & the best gift she could ever give the people who loved her was this message. This message shows she understood what she meant to us, even in the thick of her fight, she understood. It shows that although her battle was not always pretty, the way she viewed her friends, her tribe, her cabinet superseded that. Her tribe, to her, was beautiful.
When a person leaves you, you wonder if they knew how you felt for them. You wonder if you could have done or said something more. You are tormented by the all the things you could have said. But this message eliminates that. Ayana left a gift. She left one of the best gifts; a gift that says & will continue saying — “Yes, I loved you just as much.”
I wanted to touch on the topic that was addressed the first week of January, pertaining to having a sisterhood, cabinet, or tribe. This topic spoke to me when I first read it and I became very emotional that I had to pick up the phone and call someone from my sisterhood. In the end of 2015, I was hospitalized with what was thought to be cancer but not totally ruled out until February 2016. Now just having turned 30 years old in November, that was the last thing I expected to have the doctor come back and say. It wasn’t until February 2016 that I was officially diagnosed and that’s when my cabinet really made themselves known.
I had the support of family but to have the support of my sisters who I have known for most of my life really meant a lot. Once diagnosed I didn’t want many people to know; not that I was embarrassed but I just didn’t want anybody’s sympathy. The way I looked at the situation was that God dealt me these cards and he did it for a reason! I know they say not to question God and what he does and that’s exactly what I didn’t do. I felt in my soul that there was something that I had a blind eye to that he (God) wanted me to see and I wasn’t.
On to the hard part of cancer treatment. I did 2 rounds of chemo therapy treatments 1 of radiation therapy and 11 hours of surgery total. I had my surgery in June of 2016 and originally went in to be treated for one cancer but another was found during the surgery. During this time, God showed me who was really fighting with me and for me. I came out of surgery and all of my sisters were there and those who weren’t were kept up to date every step of the way. During that time my sisters put aside their issues and rallied around me. There were days that I woke up and some were just sitting in the room, they made sure my kids were okay, and brought things I needed. It was a lengthy recovery and they stuck by me every step of the way…
When all is said & done, it is THIS message you want left behind. Even though it wasn’t finished the message will not change. When talking to Ayana in preparation for this memoir, she was going to use her words to push others in fighting the same fight. Instead, this memoir has a totally different message; however, it is just as powerful.
Be the best kind of friend you can be within your capacity & love on those you love while they are here to receive it. Life gets hectic, but it is in those times of need that those who love you become evident. Although, Ayana did not have a pretty experience, she had the people who mattered to her most around her- always. Ayana was emotional, honest & raw. She did not sugarcoat or disguise what she felt & who she was at any point of her life. With Ayana, you got who you got & she was ok with that. She was without shame & was willing to express her emotions how she saw fit. She was raw but in the most honest way & beautiful way a person can be; she was unapologetically her. We all loved her for it. If she was happy; we felt it. If she was sad, we knew it because she was never ashamed to show vulnerability & if she was mad; we knew that too, because Yana was ok with the picture not always being pretty. But if one thing is certain, if Ayana loved you; she loved you & she thrived off of the love she got too. Cancer is ugly & I am saddened that it took our friend. But even in this, we received the best gift we could have ever gotten from her. A final gift of love.
Rest in Peace our dear friend, Ayana. We love you.