January 8, 1987 – January 16, 2005
Saturday evening I was informed by my mother that my cousin Nicole was in a hospital in critical condition in Orlando while on her senior trip. I payed it little attention except to think sucks for Nicole. I guess everyone that dies is in critical condition before it happens. But that term has become cliche to me because with modern medicine being able to bring people back from the dead you don’t really think anything baring an explosion will actually keep someone from being saved. I assumed whatever the situation, which hadn’t been explained to anyone, she was in a great deal of pain assuming she was conscious. But, I was certain that her being 18 years old, having just made a birthday a week earlier, in the prime of her physical conditioning she would pull through. I had another cousin in serious condition with “Colonitis” last year. So when I called Nicole’s sister Adele back, before going home to watch the playoff game, I was knocked literaly off my feet to hear that Nicole had been brain dead since arriving at the hospital and was being taken off the respirator. I’ll spare the trivial after effects her untimely death has taken on me. Instead I will concentrate on my memory of her. I was not close with Nicole in the way I am close with some of my cousins. That is to say I did not recieve updates from her on her day to day activities. However, her brother is my roomate and her sister is like my sister so I have always held Nicole in high esteem as she was very dear to people I was very close to. I absolutely adore all of my cousins. Especially those in my sisters age bracket. They are all very talented in one way or another and some are multi talented from singing, to dancing, to musicianship, intelligence, etc. Nicole was an artist in the truest sense of the word. Talented in drawing and writing she filled pages of sketchbooks with her creativity. But I must say my favorite thing about Nicole and the most admirable quality of hers is that she was truley her own person. She was always very quiet and introspective. She was not shy, just reserved. She was never overwhelmed by a need to show off or conform. She blended into the background and observed, perhaps quietly judging, us mere mortals. Her mother is a very strong willed woman and her brother and father are very stubborn. So from an early age it was obvious that Nicole followed her own path. Always silently. Never in a disrespectful, or bragadocious manner. Never glory seeking or compromising to her own integrity. A most unique quality for a teenager. I often think lovingly of my cousins and wish to infiltrate into their lives in a larger role. They’re all in that funny stage where they are pretty caught up in the world. Nicole however I didn’t approach for a different reason. She was caught up in her own world. I did enjoy those momments when she would give me a smirk in response to some mature commment I knew would not be lost on her. I remember the first time I saw her when she wasn’t an infant. She was 6 years old and I was 15. I sat her on my lap and bounced her once or twice. She was not amused and my sister was jealous. It is hard to grasp the fact that she is gone. It’s unfortunate for the rest of the world that her talent will be denyed them. But it is a blessing that she is an Angel now. She will be dearly missed by those of us lucky enough to have known her.