My uncle died when I was 14. I expected it, yet I was totally and completely shocked. Actually, upon reflection, I don’t think it was shock; rather, it was denial. I thought he was getting better. The last time I saw him he was smiling, and eating. And he hadn’t done that for a long time. He looked better, like he was turning around.
What I didn’t comprehend the last time I saw him was that he had been sent home for a reason. There was nothing left that they could do for him. He wasn’t getting better, and so he was send home to die surrounded by those that loved him, in the comfort of his own home.
I wish they had told me. Had made me realize that that visit was the last. That he wasn’t ever going to get better.
I think maybe I knew it, but a confirmation might have been nice. Or maybe not.
I remember not knowing what to say. Knowing, but not knowing that we didn’t have any plans to make, no future to discuss. No more trips to Hollywood to hang out and explore.
I remember feeling like a stupid teenager, not having the words to bring up anything with substance to talk about. Uncertain how to act.
So, I avoided the room and pretended that it didn’t hurt that someone I loved was dying right before my very eyes.
And then, like the moron that I was, I asked my grandma if I could have this Chanel bag that I saw and figured he wouldn’t be needing anymore. She asked him (I thought she’d just give it to me) and he told me that I could have just asked him directly. I felt like a jerk.
He was ready to confront what I wasn’t. I still regret asking for that bag for a lot of reasons, but mainly because it repesents my inability to express what I wanted to. It shows how emotionally immature I was. And it overshadows my goodbye.
Do I remember hugging or giving him a kiss goodbye? Nope. I remember asking for a ridiculous freebie bag.
I didn’t even keep it. It was a stupid, glossy, paper Chanel bag.
He shouldn’t have died. He was young. Too young. Yet he did. I felt powerless, and still sort of do. I’ve always wished there was something that I could have done.
The reality is, that nothing I could have done would have saved him. But, things I can do, things we can all do, just might help save someone else.
Today’s Tribute goes out to those that have or are battling with cancer. And to those that are taking steps to raise cancer awareness. Like Jay of Halftime Lessons.
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