How I Found Life Through My Sister’s Journey and Passing From Cancer

It’s been an emotional two weeks for me. Last week was one of the most draining and emotional weeks I’ve had at my job in a very long time. I am a social worker, and now that I am a processor, I love my job. I am grateful for it. I go to work, put my music on, and process paperwork. For the most part I love it because it is peaceful, and with the new changes in Medicaid, and President Obama’s Obamacare, in my own little way I am able to help thousands of people be able to obtain medical coverage. I’m also learning to be positive and thankful for what God has blessed me with. With all this being said, last week, my spiritual guard was down and I allowed some negativity to get me off track. My job can be very stressful and some of the people can be very negative. I am learning that I have to work extra hard to keep negative vibes and people away from my spirit and mind. Last week I didn’t do so well. I am human, I had a bad week, I almost allowed situations and certain persons make me feel like I am the worst person in the world. I almost allowed the devil to get in my head and have me on the road of negative thoughts about myself, but then God sent a reminder through my now angel in heaven Alaia Robinson.

Last Friday, I came home and instantly laid down for a nap. Like I stated earlier I was seriously drained, it was a VERY long week. I figured if I just closed my eyes, and slept it off with a quick nap, I could wake up refreshed and get some other work done. Although I managed to get a nap in, I was awaken by a thunderstorm. Like most people now a days, the first thing I did was roll over and checked my phone. ‘One missed call from Aliyah, ok I will call her back in a few. Text message from Frenchie “Hey Sis, Alaia isn’t doing well”. Damn it, ok so now I understand Aliyah’s call’. For some reason I subconsciously didn’t respond to Frenchie’s text. I think for me, had I responded via text in writing, that would have made her comment too real to me.

I opted to called Aliyah back. As we spoke about our basketball sister Alaia we shed some tears. I switched up the convo and tried to bring light to a sad situation, trying to convince myself more than Aliyah that God is in control and we have to trust His plans. By the end of the convo it was agreed that we would be going to go visit Alaia the following morning. Before hanging up, Aliyah and I told each other we loved each other, something we don’t say often but its understood. The following morning, about 6 of us hopped into a couple of cars and rolled to Alaia’s hospital room in Manhattan. We do this often, usually about 5 or more deep. We simply go spend time with our sister. The bond I have with my basketball sisters is amazing and such a blessing. It’s amazing that we are all connected through basketball, a simple round object, a game that has tied us together since childhood, and which has bounded us all as family now as adults. We grew up playing with and against each other. We all went away and came back and still play with each other throughout the years. My Jersey basketball sisters are an amazing group of women. We honestly are a family and I love each and every one of them, through good, bad, and ugly.

For me, this particular Saturday was a little different from past trips I’ve made. This was my first time meeting some of Alaia’s extended family members. We all spent about 5 hours in the room as we usually do, with Alaia coming in and out of convo from sleep. We laughed, we spoke politics, sports, life, lessons, religion, goals, and our love for Alaia. Doctors and nurses came in and out all day, and it amazed me that even in Alaia’s physical state, which wasn’t good, she still managed to ask each doctor, and nurse how they were doing. On the few occasions when we as a group had to leave the room so the doctor’s could do their thing, upon our return, Alaia would ask for each of us. It was like she wanted to simply put her eyes on us, or wanted to check and see if we were ok and still there. We shared so much love in that room, and by the end of the visit I felt I had gained more family.

Leaving that hospital, again I was reminded of strength. I made a mental note, ‘Ok Jae, if Alaia can find a way to keep fighting and stay so positive and upbeat through her pain and cancer, surely you can’. I was ready to take on the week. The following Monday October 12, 2015 was the year anniversary of my friend Aki Jones’ passing. It was an emotional day but with the conscious reminder of Alaia’s light, and my little cousin Chevie and home girl JD, they helped me get through the day. A brief catch up for those of you who may not follow me on social media, and don’t understand the dynamic person Aki Jones was. He was this larger than life man literally and figuratively. Aki and I went to Fordham University together. He was a beast on the football field and an comically cool asshole off. He was an amazing person and great friend. Aki Jones is another significant young person in my life, who daily helps remind that life and short and I should never take it for granted. Fast forward to Wednesday October 14, 2015 a little after 10pm, as I’m leaving a get together at my Fordham team-mate Lara’s home, I get the call that Alaia passed.

I’m not totally sure that it has really hit me that I will not be able to see this amazing woman ever again, but I thank God that she is with Him. I thank God that my sister is no longer in pain. She fought an amazing fight against cancer. Well over 3 years of pushing through. The light she gave me will help illuminate my darkest days. Although I am nowhere near where I want to be, Alaia Robinson has shown me what it truly means to be a fighter. She has shown me how to appreciate life. Although my current career as a Family Service Worker is not my ideal career, I will thank God for it and continue to do my work to help change the world.

There were a few times during Alaia’s battle with cancer, that her medical coverage was cut. Times when she couldn’t come into the office to do paper work to reinstate her medical because she was literally in the hospital fighting for her life. I never personally handled Alaia’s case because this would be a conflict of interest in which I could lose my job. However, I thank  God who trust and bless me with the job and knowledge of who and what needed to be done to help Alaia. I take my job seriously. Everyday I have the opportunity to help a person who may not have had medical coverage for years because of whatever reasons. Through an my angle Alaia Robinson, I have learned to push through, to be in the present instead of stressing my past mistakes. I have learned to appreciate the now, and the time we have on this earth. I am not the best person in the world when it comes to reaching out to friends and family, but I understand quality time. Quality Time is definitely my strongest Love Language. Alaia Robinson, Aki Jones, and Charlie Slade are a few phenomenal people who came and went too soon. They all help motivate me to be my best and continue to push through even when I feel like I’m not where I’m supposed to be.

I will never understand why it had to be them. And although it hurts like hell our loved ones may no longer be physically walking with us on this earth, we must not forget to thank God for the time we have together and the lessons we can all learn from each other and every situation.


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