Dear Al

September 14, 2010
Dear Al,

Can I call you Al? I think you would’ve wanted me to call you that. My mom did. I guess I’ll never really know—but it’s nice to imagine.

Why did you do it? All of it? Where did you get that strength? I have read text book after text book of famous people, but none of them were as brave and strong as you. In my opinion. I don’t know how much that counts.

All those things you did—you helped a lot of people. Thousands, millions—does it matter exactly how many? The time spent in jail, the death threats, even the attempts…I know you thought it was all worth it. Bubba pleaded you to stop, so, so many times, but you never did. You never gave up.

Did you pass that strength to me? I know you passed it to your grandson. He’s following in your footsteps. You’d be proud.

But what about me? Did I get a part of it, or was he given the main share? I guess only time will tell. Once I’ve reached my full potential, I’ll write you again and tell you, even though you’ll never read it. A girl can hope.

My parents didn’t choose Alexandra because it was a lovely name, even though it is. They named me after you(I’m sorry but Alberta simply wasn’t practical). I loathe sounding sappy, but I must say, I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather be named after. If only I’d gotten your last name. Then people could have heard my name and thought “That’s Al’s great niece.”

I have many regrets in my life, short as it’s been. But one of the largest was never getting to meet you. Never getting to hear your moving, inspirational voice or see your smiling, whiskered face. I would have loved that. I know.

I’m sorry if I rambled, but it isn’t easy talking to the dead. I feel foolish enough as it is. Most likely you’ll never get this letter, but in my dreams I’ll see you read it. And you’ll smile.

Thank you. Thank you for everything. For my inspiration, my name, any strength I may have been given—thank you.

Yours in love

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

whatshername said...
Sept. 26, 2010 at 5:37 pm
who is this about? its very well written btw
butnotacrime This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 26, 2010 at 8:47 pm
Thank you. It was me writing to my dead great uncle Al.
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