Ayda M. Nichols died on Friday, September 20, 2019 at Ball Memorial Hospital in Indiana. She was 42.
The cause was complications of metastatic cancer.
Ayda was born in Bucaramanga, Colombia on July 31, 1977, the first of two children. Her father, Jaime Vasquez, worked as an entrepreneur, and her mother, Myriam Blanco, worked as a buyer for Cerrejón. Ayda graduated from Universidad Autónoma de Bucaramanga in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing management. She went on to earn a marketing specialization from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and Universidad Externado de Colombia. In 2012, she went back to college and earned an MBA in Human Resources from Liberty University. She also graduated from the transition to teaching program from Taylor University in 2015 which allowed her to receive her teaching license in business and Spanish to begin teaching at Daleville Jr./Sr. High School.
On March 20, 2005 she married Scott A. Nichols. He survives her, as do their children, Maria, Sara, and Isabella.
In 2002, after graduating with a marketing specialization, Ayda joined Coca-Cola FEMSA in Bogotá where she worked as an account executive. Her co-worker, David Rodriguez, described her as a “highly intelligent and a fun person to work with… she made our jobs and environment enjoyable.” In 2005, she began working for Kimberly-Clark after being discovered by a headhunter.
In 2005, she received her visa to live in the United States. Ayda and her husband moved to Denver, Colorado. They decided to live in the cheapest home in the best neighborhood so that Maria could attend school in the Cherry Creek School District.
In 2010, her husband’s company decided to close their doors in Denver, Colorado. This forced them to look for additional employment. Scott was offered a teaching position in Colombia which allowed them to move to the La Guajira region in Colombia.
In 2011, Ayda learned that she had metastatic lung cancer after returning from vacation in the United States. From this point forward she changed the way she viewed life and focused her attention to God’s purpose for her life.
During her final months she began writing a book. She was not sure the purpose or how this would be used, she just felt compelled to write.
“In recent years I have had multiple thoughts and words moving in my mind as I go through a variety of emotions that have come and gone during this process with cancer. Some days I have many concepts that I would like to write and hide to reveal in the future, other days I feel as if I have nothing to say. The idea of leaving has created in me the desire to reflect with words who I am, so a part of me can be recreated in my absence.
My motivation to model this writing does not come from the fear of being forgotten but from the fear of being missed. My reason for postponing this introspection for years has been the dread of the confrontation that waits for me during my reflection regarding the inevitable feeling of loss that will remain in my absence.
Meditate on aspects such as life and death bring with it an inevitable nostalgia. For the benefit of my project, I have asked God to replace it with a feeling of incalculable gratitude and fulfillment as I see and accept all parts of my life as a perfect canvas drawn by God.
I would like to find in this writing a portrait of my past and the hope of a possible future, but I also do it with the intention of being a participant in an intangible way in the events to which my body will be limited, prostrating my dreams and wishes for the future.”