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Posted by on 2013/01/11 under Uncategorized

When someone close to you dies, you feel full of something horrible ,but totally empty at the same time. At first, you understand what’s happening and what it means, but you never fully realize that it’s real. You WON’T see that person again. You will never get to talk to them, laugh with them, cry with them again. A major part of your life is missing and you learn to deal with it. It makes you grow as a person. You learn to deal with pain.
But I never knew my uncle. The last time I spoke to him I was a child. No more than 6 years old. The last I’d heard of him, he was an alcoholic and living on the streets of Dublin. I heard he was sick. I didn’t visit him. I heard he was dying. I didn’t visit him. He passed. I was suddenly filled with dread. Suddenly everything seemed different. I felt regret. I was hurting and I didn’t understand why. I went to visit him.
My family is broken. They don’t speak. We stand outside the funeral home together. there’s little conversation. I see cousins and an uncle and auntie I haven’t seen since my childhood. Tensions are high. There are disagreements lurking beneath us, but everyone is polite and greeting each other. We stand in silence. Then it’s time to go inside.
Suddenly I get a memory. He always was fond of alcohol but when I was young I thought he was the fun and cool uncle. We’re in a garden, I think it’s a BBQ. He picks me up and spins me around. Tells me I’m his favorite little girl. He tickles me and I’m screaming with laughter. That’s all I can remember. That one memory of my uncle and suddenly I don’t want to see him lying in that coffin. I pause at the door but people are behind me waiting to get in.
Breathe. Take it easy. I see my mother. She’s upset. She was angry at him, and I still don’t know why. But she hurts. My father is comforting her but her face doesn’t crumple and she doesn’t let any tell-tale gasps for air blow her cover. She’s the strongest woman I know. But I see that tear fall. I wipe it and kiss her cheek.
It’s time to see him. I’ve been in the room for what feels like minutes, but can’t be more than a few seconds. He’s there. I can see him. I dare not get too close. I watch from the back of the room. I hear someone whisper ‘He looks peaceful’. How can he look peaceful? He looks dead. He doesn’t look like he’s sleeping. He’s too still and pale. I hate this. I’m crying. I don’t want anyone to see. I slide into the corner. Nobody notices. The room fills up. I can’t see anymore. I feel faint. I want to leave.
I will never know that man like my mother knew him, her brother. But I will cherish that memory of him.
Maybe he’s in heaven. Maybe he’s glad I remember. Maybe not.

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