Natalie Cole Coping with Life's Joys and Sorrows

09/23/2009 at 07:00 AM EDT

Natalie Cole Coping with Life's Joys and Sorrows
Natalie Cole
For Natalie Cole, the past four months can be summed up in one word: unforgettable.

Back in May, the singer received a life-saving kidney transplant. But when she came out of surgery, she learned her sister Cookie, who had been battling lung cancer, had passed away.

"This was a very joyous moment where I've got new life. It was also a very sorrowful moment, where my sister had gone on, and the family that donated the kidney had lost their daughter as well," Cole, 59, says in the November/December issue of AARP The Magazine.

"My first reaction was that I wished I were back on dialysis to have my sister," she says. "These two people had left this earth – and I was here. Why? I feel like I don't deserve it."

Cole was at her sister's bedside when she received word that a kidney was available, and her family forced her to leave.

"I've lost some very special people, but Cookie is the toughest," says the Grammy winner. "There's a part of me that's missing now. I don't expect that I will ever totally get over it."

It had already been a rough year for Cole, who was diagnosed with hepatitis C in April 2008. Chemotherapy treatments left her sick and weak, and she later developed kidney problems, which required dialysis three times a week.

She had little hope of ever being healthy again: "They told me the average wait for a kidney was three years. At first I thought, 'There goes my life.' "

But thanks to the transplant, Cole is – as she told the audience at her Sept. 9 comeback concert – "100 percent" healthy. "I didn't know that I could feel this good again," she says in the interview.

And she has more people than her doctors to thank.

"Those angels on my shoulder who've been there all along – now I know that my sister Cookie is one of them," she says.

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Lupita Nyong'o: Most Beautiful!
  • Lupita Nyong'o: Most Beautiful!
  • Chelsea Clinton is Pregnant!
  • Exclusive Royal Tour Diary

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners



Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters