I was blessed to have two fathers growing up.
One was my biological father and the other was my uncle. While my father taught me everything necessary to make me a good human being and taught me the values of life, my uncle was my second father.
He bought me my first phone, my first computer. He took me to every Harry Potter book and movie release growing up and made time for me, no matter the expense. After living with him for almost ten years, there’s nothing that my siblings and I didn’t know about him.
Those ten years were years of being spoiled by a compassionate, generous and loving man.
With no family of his own, we were his children. We shared with him all the secrets we knew were safer with him than our own parents. Pretty soon, as we passed our teen years, we had our own lives and no longer depended on him to take us out.
We had our friends to talk to or hang out with. It wasn’t long before our relationship with our uncle began to sour. He had lost his job and the idleness of being at home ate him up. The feeling of incompetence became too deeply ingrained in his heart to be removed.
While we tried to assure him that he still had the same level of importance in our lives as always, he never believed it. Rejected invitations and unanswered responses to his calls led to frequent mood swings, angry arguments, and eventually physical abuse.
Us siblings vowed not to tell our parents. We loved them far too much to hurt them. We loved our uncle too and prayed that it was only a phase. Months passed and the situation for my sister and I only became worse.
The utterance of a few words, “you have no right,” led to a verbal and physical battle. My legs were dragged from the bed to the floor. Uncontrollable tears and shrieks followed the burning sensation on my face from being dragged on the carpet. My sister’s shouts were drowned out by my screams.
Within seconds I found myself running down to my parents’ room screaming and crying. I sobbed in my mother’s lap for hours. I cried to relieve the pain. I cried knowing things would never be the same. I cried knowing that I had torn apart a family. A few days later my uncle packed his bags and left to visit his friend in another city. Three days later his car flipped over in a collision and he died on the spot from internal bleeding. Our relief overcame our sorrow mixed with the guilt of driving him away.
Some days, good memories of him will resurface, only to be shot down by my sister who only remembers the worst. My trust in one of the most important figures in my life changed how much I trusted everyone in my life. There are some secrets that hurt too much to remember and even more to tell. The one thing about these secrets is that they inadvertently teach a lesson.
It took three days for intense anger to build in my heart.
Within those three days, I lost my chance to ask my uncle for forgiveness. I lost my chance to apologize to him for turning his own brother against him. We all make mistakes, some are easy to forgive and others not so much.
It took me a while to forgive him and my biggest regret is failing to ask for his forgiveness.