12 years ago, the most important person in my life passed away suddenly. That person was my great uncle, John. I lived with my father and Uncle John every other weekend for the last few years of his life. He was a far better parent than my own ever tried to be, took good care of me, and even spoiled me a bit. I'm one of the most stubborn people around, and don't take orders from anyone. If he said something, I listened no questions asked. If he was mad at me, I didn't cry out of bitterness, I cried out of guilt.
He was a wonderful person, and I still cry over his death. I did not go to his funeral, and I have never visited his grave. I was going to travel there today, but I caught a terrible cold. My father takes care of my grandmother, who has cancer and a weak immune system, and since we would have taken the trip together, I decided I valued her life more. Uncle John would not want me to sacrifice his sister-in-law's life just to pay homage to his corpse.
Some things about him. He loved daffodils, and flowers in general. We planted tulips together in the backyard when I was little. He loved ladybugs and butterflies, and didn't really like cats at all. His passion for waterfowl was evident the moment one entered his house. He had pictures of geese everywhere, some goose and duck shaped pillows, and a drake phone (which I inherited)! He smoked, his only flaw in my opinion, and had a deep and raspy voice. He laughed a lot. We watched movies together, played old video games together, and he put up with me for a long time. He was far too kind to me--I suppose his biggest fault WAS his kindness; it often led other people to take advantage of him. Dad was his only protection...by the time I had discovered humility, it was almost too late. I wish I wasn't such a brat, I wish I had protected him.
We had a huge back yard, with no fences! The hill leading from the back porch was completely covered in ferns; most of the backyard was fields of grass. There was a BEAUTIFUL dogwood tree surrounded by wild violets!! It was a magical place. I'm convinced it was touched by God. Sadly, a few years after his death, my horrid grandfather sold the property. Everything was torn down, including that beautiful tree, and a gated community replaced our backyard.
I was an infant in that house. Before my parents found a place of their own, we lived with that wonderful man. I always believed that I would inherit the property, and grow old there, myself. I was crushed when we moved away. I'm not usually the type to hold grudges, but...I'm still not over that.
Everyday I wish I would wake up as a little girl again, and spend all my days with him and maybe save his life. See, if I had done the right thing and lived with my dad instead of my mom (she and my step-dad were horrible to me), I would have been home from school when he collapsed that day. I could have called 9-1-1, and he wouldn't have had to lay there for hours until Dad got home. He wouldn't have had that second stroke...or at the very least, I would have gotten to say goodbye.
I love you Uncle John. Whatever flaws you may have had, whatever wrongs you may have committed, any mistakes you might have made...you were nothing but a saint to me. I would be a far better person today if I had gotten to keep you. You were my father, my mother, my grandparents, my teacher...and my friend. No one could ever replace you in my heart. I hope you are resting well in Heaven, and that I will join you someday. I look forward to our happy, tearful reunion.