Just trying to write this post makes the tears come.
I have this uncle. He has been a part of my life since I was born, but unfortunately not in the best ways. His crippled gate, splotched skin, huge afro, and constant chatter about religion makes him seem more like a cartoon character than actual person. But, he is family.
Uncle Tony lives with my mother in the house their father left them. Tony had polio as a child and was never academically capable. I think he’s a little slow. His sickness kept him home. He didn’t have a traditional education, but oh, he took to the good book just fine. He calls himself a bishop now and acts as a wandering preacher, though his travels don’t take him that far. His gate is more of a rock than a walk. I really am amazed at his traveling resourcefulness.
When I was in high school, our bedrooms were side by side. It was those years that pulled whatever connection we may have had firmly apart. I remember being kept awake at night by his preaching over the phone. I was very resentful that once I had a test the next day, yet he kept going, even after I yelled through the wall. Once he complained to me, some time earlier, that my television was too loud one night as he tried to sleep. A teenager and a preacher do not make the best housemates.
My mother takes care of him, though he requires little looking over. She loves him, though I do not know how she can stand him. My interactions with him are brief. I make them that way. But, he is still family.
With the death of Ella this year, my emotions are often raw. Recieving a phone call from my mother with the word “hospital” in it, and not refering to her job, makes my insides tumble.
My uncle Tony fell down the stairs about two weeks ago. It was 3pm. My mother didn’t get home until sometime after 6. He laid there, I’m sure screaming for help. But there was no one, save her, to look after him. She called the ambulance and he was rushed to the hospital. He suffered a broken hip. I’m just glad he didn’t die.
The first thing that came to my mind when she called and told me was, “Oh no. Not another death in the family. Does he have insurance? How are we going to deal with this?”
I guess you can surprise yourself with your true emotions. Most of the time my resentment and disgust overwhelm anything else I feel about my uncle. I cried when my mother called. I don’t want anyone else to die this year. I don’t care what differences we have. He’s still family, crazy, eccentric, and all.
He made it through surgery and physical therapy at a nursing home. He’s back in his own bed now, with my mother tending to his medications and getting him around the house. She says she now knows what I went through with Ella. Really, she is only skiming the surface.
Categorised as: Family
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