Natalie Cole passed away on New Year's Eve. Her family finally revealed the cause of her death as being heart failure induced by lung disease. The Grammy award winning singer and daughter of jazz star Nat King Cole was 65.
Her funeral was held at West Angeles Church of God in Christ, where she was once a member. R&B sensation Chaka Khan sang at her funeral. She will be buried next to her parents, sister, and brother at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.
Cole's career spans four decades and 27 albums. Some of her most loved songs include "Miss You Like Crazy", as well as R&B hits "Our Love" and "This Will Be" and, of course, the amazing intertwining of her legacy with her father's through re-recording the "Unforgettable" that went multiplatinum and brought her multiple Grammies, including an album of the year award.
Though Cole has had some amazing success, her life was hardly one of ease and comfort. Growing up with the stress of famous parents has its own challenges, which she once detailed in a CBN interview. She said that she felt pressured to, "stuff" and "suppress crying," as well as emotions such as "sadness, being needy, looking for attention, wanting to be hugged, wanting to be held more because maybe your mom is not around as much as you want her to be or your dad is not around as much as you would like him to be."
So she found herself looking, "to others for affection. We had some wonderful people raising us, but they still weren't our parents. As you get older, it gets distorted and convoluted, complicated, and, of course, you start looking for attention, affection, affinity in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways."
When she was 14-years-old, her father passed away; she struggled deeply with "devastation that he died, the fact that I wasn't there when he died, the fact that I did see him before he died and I was still recovering from that, the way he looked, how sick he was--it was a combination of things. [I was] trying to make sense out of it, and it just came crashing down on all of us. I don't think that the impact was greater on me than anyone else. I just think that I dealt with it differently, and I acted out more than anyone else in the family."
Some of the unhealthy choices that she made to try to bring relief from the pain of that loss included using cocaine, heroine, and toxic relationships. She hit a low point when she finally landed in prison, where she called on the name of the Lord and asked Him to save her.
She admits that God surrounded her with people of strong faith and spiritual power and that, "I saw little miracles happen in their lives. By it happening in their lives, I started believing it could happen to me."
She eventually caught the revelation that, "God was going to be to me the father that I never had, the father that I didn't have enough of, enough time with. God was saying, 'I can do that for you if you let Me.' And that's what He's been to me. I had to learn to trust that as a father He would be there for me, that He disciplines me, that He encourages me, that He tests me, that He challenges me, that He believes in me, and that He has great things for me."
The challenge was to learn that, "all I have to do is trust and follow."
But once she understood that, it brought her to a place where, "I was actually content for Jesus to just be the man in my life. I didn't need anything else. I didn't need anybody else. A man would come in and that was just not me. I was just in a state of desperation for many years. I really wanted a man in my life so badly it was pathetic. It was pathetic because it took so much of my time and it took so much out of me. I realized that every time I did that I would give myself away. I was not keeping the most important part. And the most important part was what God wanted to use of me. I had found myself in a place where I was giving my best to the man who deserved it--and that was Jesus in my life. Then He gave me a man that I deserved. He didn't have to do that."
One of the most valuable things that Cole believes she has learned in life is to, "Never stop working on your relationship with the Lord. It is an awesome experience. He is there in our lives."