finding strength through loss

March 10, 2009
November 7,2006 was one of the most devastating days of my life. I was twelve and didn't really understand how much it hurts to lose someone you love.

I'm sure it was hardest on my grandmother, because it was her youngest child. My family and I had known for more than three years that my uncle had cancer of the esophagus. My mother always told me that he'd be okay. The chemotherapy seemed to be working. In September I discovered that the chemo wasn't working, the cancer was too aggressive. My uncle was slowly dying. I had never experienced death in my family. Well, a family member I was close to anyway. About two months later I found out that my uncle was going to receive hospice care at home and they would come to the house to care for him and help my aunt. The weekend before he died, my brother and grandmother drove up to Maine to see him. My mother and father felt that it would be best if I stayed home in New York. At the time we didn't realize that he was so sick.
After my brother came back, he then agreed with our parents. He said, 'Christine I think I would be best if you remember Uncle Eddie the way he was, not how he is now.' I replied, 'What do you mean?' he answered, 'He doesn't look like uncle Eddie anymore Hun. He's very skinny.' ' Uggh fine.' I said disappointedly.

A few days passed and I was a cheerleading practice with our choreographer, working on our routine. When we finally got a water break, I noticed that my mother didn't look all right. It looked like something was wrong but I didn't think too much of it. When I got out of practice we went into the car and started driving home. She was driving slower then usual, and the car ride was silent. When we turned onto our street I knew it was only my mom and I in the house, because my dad and uncle already left for Maine earlier that morning. When we were one house away from our house, I noticed four cars in the driveway and some parked across the street. I asked my mom what was going on and she said she didn't know.

I walk into the house and everyone just stares at me, so I said hi. Then my brother takes me into my room. He sat on my bed, and I did the same. He looked at me straight in the face, and calmly says 'Christine, uncle Eddie has passed away.' I got all choked up, but managed to get the words 'are you serious?!' Out of my mouth. I didn't want to believe him. My mom walked into my room and joined us on the bed. I took one very shocked look at her, and she started crying. I got that feeling I hated, when your throat stings when you cry. My brother then explained ' its better that he passed, he's suffering is over.'

My grandmother and my aunt were with my Uncle when he passed. My grandmother told him that it was okay, and that his father was waiting for him. My father and my other uncle, who were going up to say their goodbyes, missed him by 10 minutes. I could only imagine how everyone felt, especially my grandmother and my aunt. I'm sure no mother would want to see her child die, and a wife to watch her husband change, and slowly die.

I didn't come to school the next day; and by that time my family was gathered at our house. We talked about all the good times we shared with him, all the stupid jokes, and how funny he was. It was my uncle's wish that when he passed, there would be no funeral. He wanted us to celebrate his life instead of being miserable. So we did what he wanted. My brother and aunt made a slide show presentation filled with pictures and some of his favorite songs. Everyone at the party was very touched. That's when it really dawned on me. He was gone.

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