Time Taken for Granted

I think differently from everybody else. This might sound cliche but I really do. One thing I usually do is overthink and blame myself for things. I feel like I should be held responsible for a lot of things especially if I am aware of the situation. As a human, everybody in this world has the opportunity to do things that they almost never do. There are a lot of reasons that we decide against doing a lot of things that we truly know need to be done. One of the biggest things that I regret is not being there when I know I should have been. I had the chance to help. But I did not. Instead of helping I sat there and said nothing. I did nothing and here I am writing this essay with a guilty conscience that sometimes starts to eat at me. I honestly don’t know what to do to fix it. Someday I will have to realize that I did mess my only chance up. I have to realize that I decided against doing everything that I could have because I just wanted to be to myself and not with anyone else. I did not want to hug anybody or say hello to anyone. I did not want to check up on anyone. I definitely did not want to say things would be okay because I knew they wouldn’t be.

Reading this, you probably have no clue what I am talking about. I haven’t exactly said it yet because it is still kind of hard to process the events. It’s still hard talking about what happened because I wish it did not happen. I was in seventh grade and we had not been too far into the school year. I knew Uncle Bill was sick so I truly don’t understand why I was so shocked when we got the call. I had just got up to get ready for school and my mom told me something that I was not quite ready to hear. She had just gotten a call from Uncle Bill’s wife, Aunt Tiny. I probably don’t even have to say what happened at this point and I really don’t want to. I remember going in the bathroom and not believing what had exactly happened. I was confused and shocked and hurt. All I wanted to know was why this happened. I continued to get ready for school but I felt no emotions at all. It was as if all my senses had been taken away from me and I was left with a body that I had absolutely no control over.

I remember being in school later that day, and while I was having a conversation with my friends laughing, I blurted out that my uncle had died. My friend asked why I was laughing and okay, but I didn’t know why I was. A little later into the school day I got a message from my mom saying that she was coming to get me. Because it was so early in the day when I got my early dismissal, my teacher asked why I even bothered coming to school. I didn’t even bother to tell him about what had just happened. When my mom came to get me I found out that the reason she had left work so early was because her boss wanted her to “go home and take it easy” since she had been at work upset and crying. I didn’t exactly know how to comfort her because I didn’t know how to comfort myself. I then decided to just leave the situation alone hoping that my mom would eventually be in better spirits.

The hardest thing about writing this essay, is trying to write this essay as the person I was when I first received information of his death. I can no longer be that emotionless person especially because I still haven’t gotten over the death of Uncle Bill. I’m not sure if I ever will. I still find myself balled up in the corner crying on his birthday, August 24. I still cry on the day of his death, October 29 because I find myself replaying the events of that day in my head. Saturday, November 2, 2013 was the day of his funeral. I was not sure what to expect at the funeral. I was okay until we got to the funeral. The church was packed as I walked down the aisle next to my aunt, who was one of his many nieces. When we got to the casket I could not look at him. He was not the same person that I had always known. I began to cry and I don’t remember stopping until the end of the service. During the service everyone kept telling me that things were going to be okay because he was no longer suffering from the cancer that we thought he could handle. But I honestly don’t think that anybody understood how I looked at this.

I have probably been to about 100 funerals in my lifetime. Growing up my family was very active in church and I would always end up at any event that they had to attend. Since my grandparents were ushers, and I spent a lot of time with them, I would usually attend the funerals at church that they ushered. Sitting in the back of the church, I would see all the families crying but I never knew exactly why. Yes, I understood that they had just lost a loved one. But it seemed that going to all these services caused me to build a barrier to protect my feelings when I went to funerals. I would never cry at any of the services  including those of strangers and the family members I saw laying in the casket. In third grade I was even hysterical when my mom did not allow me to go to my cousin Aaron’s funeral. He was a teenager who had just been killed in Southwest. Something about these funerals engaged me and interested me. That wasn’t the case for Uncle Bill. For the first time I felt what those families had felt. Seeing someone that you can no longer hug or hold laying in a casket stiff and cold has to be one of the most devastating feelings ever.. You start to feel empty and cold inside because you don’t know what is next for you.

We knew Uncle Bill was sick but we didn’t know it would end like this or even end at all. Everyone was telling me that he was going to be okay and I believed them because what else could I do. For weeks we would go over his house and there would always be a people there either speaking the word (reading the bible), or bringing comfort food to his wife. Crowding around him, people would hold his hand and talk to him about past memories just to see him smile. I never did this though. Everytime we went over, I sat on the couch watching television, Sometimes I wouldn’t even go over and greet him and at that moment I wasn’t quite sure what was causing me to stray away from him. One of the days that we went to see him, I was sitting on the couch sneezing. As he lay on his deathbed, with little to no strength at all, he said “bless you”. This was the man that I grew up knowing and loving. Someone who was very protective and caring about his family especially the girls in his life.

Now that I look back at that year, I felt the most hurt from my grandfather, Uncle Bill’s brother. As a young teenager I was never really as concerned about how he felt in this situation until now. During the process he was always very quiet and to himself, which was unlike him because he was known for “talking someone’s ear off”. Whenever we went over Uncle Bill’s house, Pop Pop (my grandfather) would sit next to Uncle Bill’s hospice bed and hold his hand while he talked on and on about memories from their childhood up until now. One of my favorite stories was the story about how Pop Pop and their other brother, Uncle Walt, had pushed Uncle Bill down a hill in a little wagon which caused him to end up with a broken arm. Stories like that brought tears to my eyes because it made me realize how tight their bond was. That right there was an explanation of what would happen next.

Throughout this whole process, I tried as much as possible to stay to myself. I wasn’t aware that this would get me into trouble. One day, I came home and I did what I had been doing everyday, staying to myself. Things were pretty quiet in the house until Pop Pop approached me. Yelling at me, without yelling, he asked me why I wasn’t worried about Uncle Bill and why I never ask him how he was doing. I distanced myself because I never knew what was coming next. All I knew was that I had been told everything was going to be fine and somehow things were never okay. Those endless nights of me crying my eyes out never stopped because I still never found out how to deal with death.

This essay is especially hard for me to write because I am still dealing with how to deal with the death of a loved one. Since the death of Uncle Bill, I have not looked at death the same.  During 2017, I lost 3 people who I truly love. Uncle Jazzy, Aunt Jo, and Aunt Stelle lost the life that once graced their bodies. I regret every second that I passed up because I was being selfish and laying in my own bed of pain while I ignored theirs. It takes such a toll on me because I always feel like there is so much more that I could have done to help that person and to help myself. It is incredibly hard to deal with change that not only takes a toll on you, but also the people around you. I am supposed to be answering the question, “How does the self react to and deal with change?”. It’s simply hard to answer that question because I am still unsure about how to deal with change. I would explain how others deal with change but everyone around me deals with it differently. When things begin to change, it begins to disrupt the normal flow of how things go and as hard as it may be to say this, things will never go back to the way they were before the change happened. So I guess the best way to deal with things like this are to adapt although it might be one of the hardest tasks life throws at you.

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