A couple weeks back, my family and I went to Riverside. Cause for the trip, you ask? To visit my favorite uncle. He is buried out there. He passed away the summer before my senior year in high school. I feel as though, I never dealt with his loss because I was so busy filling out college applications and having fun with all my high school friends.
Going to the cemetery with my family helped me to release all the pain that I had inside me. He was one of the best people I've known in my lifetime. And although I miss him, I will continue to live on.
I wanted to share a piece I wrote to him a few months back. Read and enjoy.
Dear Uncle June,
I cried at your funeral. I was scheduled to speak but once I got to the podium, words got stuck in my throat and tears began to flow from my eye sockets. I was choked up and I feel like I was never able to give you a proper goodbye but I can say that I tried. I wanted to spend an entire day, no---an entire week, with you. Drive on the highway, site see, eat at a few good diners... take a road trip because that was your favorite thing to do, you know?
And I knew they were going to pull the plug but I couldn't bring myself to get in the car that summer day and ride to the hospital with my mom. I wanted to have fun, smile, laugh. It was hard and I was selfish. I did not want to cry... I just wanted you to live and I knew that things were not about to go my way.
Before I left for Spain, I was hopeful that when I came back, everything would be back to normal. No more bed rest, no more hospital visits, and definitely no more worrying. But when I came back, that was not the case... everything was worse when I came back. You were in the hospital, you could barely speak a word and I wanted to cry but I knew that wouldn't have helped the situation. Why had you neglected yourself for so long? You knew that you had cancer, but you didn't tell a soul until it was too late. You continued to help others, eat unhealthily and put yourself last. You never said no, not to a single soul. Not even to a person that had never done anything good for you. I wish you had learned to say no. I'm beginning to think they should start teaching that skill in school. I don't want others to go through what you when through.
And I don't want to blame you for being gone. I just can't help but think selflessness killed a great man. If for once, you would have thought of yourself, you know... been a little selfish, I think you would have still been here. A part of my college experience. You were supposed to come visit me... We were supposed to go to New York together... remember that? The family hardly even goes to Vegas anymore... but when we do go and stop at that McDonalds, I think of you. And every time I see a green '94 Ford Explorer, I miss you. And I can't help but think that selflessness killed a great man. You picked me up after my newspaper meetings in 10th grade when I was too selfish to just take the bus home. I miss you.
But I'm tired of missing people. And I don't want to have to miss anyone else. My mom though, she's starting to do the same things you did. Help everyone but herself. And I don't think I would be strong enough to lose another person that is so important to my life. I told her to be selfish, but she's a bit stubborn like you were. Like brother, like sister, huh?
Uncle June, you were a great man. NO, you are a great man. I will continue to make your dreams come true. I will travel the world for you. I will listen to KNX 1070 to check the traffic. I might even try liver for you. And I'll be a little, and I mean a little, selfless for you.
I miss you, Uncle June. But I will continue to live because if I didn't I know you would be sad.
With sincerity and a lot of love,
Your niece, Deonna Nishay.