Outlived by a Nephew

May 6, 2008
By LaThomas Graves, LaVista, NE

It was March 23, 1998. I was at the wake of my great uncle, Carl Ebow. Dressed up in a navy blue suit, I walked through the doors of the mortuary; all I could hear were the cries of so many people. As I walked up to the casket, holding my mom’s hand, I saw him. He was lying there motionless like road kill. All of a sudden my mom burst into tears and I did not know what to do. I was scared and surprised, but my mom crying caused me to cry and then it hit me like a car hitting a brick wall. Death is an odd thing isn’t it? Someone could say that a relative or friend died, but it never hits them until they see death first hand. Death is never real until a person sees it.

I remember spending Christmas of 1997 with my great uncle. That was probably one of the best Christmas’ ever because I got the new electric lime green Huffy bike that I wanted. When my uncle saw my new bike, he would have let me take it outside and ride it but there was snow on the ground and my mom said it was too cold outside. My uncle loved holidays. That year, we had so much fun just eating food and listening to him tell jokes. The happiness that my uncle generated made my family happy and cheerful. It was like this at every holiday.

It was March 19, 1998. I remember my mom not coming straight home from work. I was being babysat by my aunts. I remember having a distasteful dinner of ham sandwiches and Lays
Classic potato chips, when I could have had an awesome Kids Meal that included a toy at Burger King. I had to eat nasty sandwiches and chips because my mom didn’t cook dinner and that was the only thing in our house to eat. I remember that night in which my mom never came home, fighting with my aunts because they would not let me have the remote to the TV, and that is when my aunt told me that the real problem was not the remote or the TV, but what was going on at the hospital. My aunt told me that my mom was at the hospital. She was at the hospital because my uncle had problems with his liver. I heard that because he would drink a lot of alcohol, the alcohol poisoned his liver and it was starting to shut down. As his liver started to shut down, soon the rest of his organs did too. My aunt then told me how he started to cough up blood and how he was soon going to die. That same night my uncle died. When I saw my mom the next morning, I felt how discouraged she was.

At eight years old, I was young and ignorant and naive. I loved to play outside and ride my new bike. I was spoiled rotten being the youngest child in the family and I had no concerns or worries with life and I never thought that someone could die at anytime or get very sick. I remember that all I cared about doing was watching my favorite show, “Scooby-Doo” on “Cartoon Network.” I would come home after school, eat Oreo’s, drink Sunny Delight and watch my favorite show. When people are young, nothing ever matters to them.

When my mom told me that my uncle died, I clearly did not understand. She told me how it was his time to go, but I was not sure what that meant exactly. I didn’t ask her any questions because I saw the hurt and sadness on her face. I did not understand what my mom said until I went to the wake a few days later. When I saw my uncle just lying there motionless, I finally
understood what my mom was trying to tell me earlier. He is dead and gone. No longer would I see him at holidays nor hear his jokes nor see the happiness and love that he had for his family.
Even though I really never told my uncle how much I loved him, I know that he knew it anyway. Seeing my uncle lying there breathless opened my eyes. The next year Thanksgiving and Christmas were not the same. My uncle’s death affected everyone. That year we did not have big family dinners every Sunday like we used to. We did not share gifts with each other. Each separate family did their own thing. The death of my uncle led to the first step in the process of my growing up. It had made me grateful for my family and what I have because a person never knows when it can all be taken away. His death showed my how life is not always full of good times, but also full of times of heartache and pain.

Death is unrealistic until you see it first hand. The death of my uncle has done many things for me. His death has kept me close to my family, just in case anything happens. His death made me want to become spiritual and believe in eternal life once a person dies. My uncle’s death has made me want to have a good attitude on life because I don’t know what could ever happen to my family or me. Neither can I predict when death could strike.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.

Swoon Reads

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!