on death and guilt

My dad’s brother is dieing.

I call him my dad’s brother, because he’s not my uncle.  He never has been.  I can’t feel much sympathy for him because he’s done this to himself.  He’s had heart problems for what seems like forever, and was told to quit smoking, start drinking things other than Pepsi, and get some exercise.  But he’s done none of that.  And now, finally, years longer than the doctors said he would last, now he’s finally dieing.

When Noah and I got married, we went out to Vegas and we invited all of our immediate family.  We called everyone and told them, we understand if you can’t afford it no biggie, but we wanted to let you know that we’d love for you to be there.  Because this man is my dad’s brother, and because dad made me, we invited him too.  He said, “Oh that’s nice.  I don’t think we can make it.” and then asked to be handed back to my dad.  We had a reception in my hometown for all the family and friends that couldn’t make it out to Vegas with us.  He RSVP’d that he was coming and then didn’t show up.  No phone call, no card, nothing.  Just didn’t show up.  He never once said congratulations to us and since then, about 6 years ago, he hasn’t really ever spoken to Noah.  He doesn’t speak to me, that’s fine, but he should have at least said congratulations and should recognize that Noah comes to family events.  But no.

At Thanksgiving, I went to Cleveland to help my dad move his brother down to Greenville.  It was a mess.  I thought I posted about it, but I guess not.  So here goes.  On the way up there, my dad got into an accident.  He hit a patch of ice and we turned around several times and somehow managed to only hit one car.  So we were delayed for at least an hour dealing with the fallout from that.  When we get there, the house is a freaking mess.  It was like a scene from those “flip this house” type shows where the person who buys the house shows up and has to bring in a dumpster because of all the previous owner’s mess.  And he left most of it.  Just left furniture, clothes, pictures, etc.  Just walked away and locked the house.  The carpet, walls, everything was disgusting.  Absolutely disgusting.  Also, he has three labs.  He’s not able to afford anything except cigarettes and Pepsi and his medications, he can’t even afford gas money to come visit his father, but he has three labs.  And he is unwilling to let any of them go.  One of them is mean, one of them is just weird, and the third one is normal.  So we get the two trucks and one moving van loaded up and I’m driving Dad’s truck home.  Dad says to me, “Which dog do you want to take in the back seat?”  So of course I tell him that I’ll take the normal one.  To which Dad says, “Well I don’t think your cousin can handle the mean one, why don’t you take him?”  Sweet.  Of course.  Stick me with the dog that’s been growling at everybody non-stop since we got there.  Fine.

So we leave.  I’ve got the growly one in the back and we’re doing pretty good.  I just turned the radio up so I couldn’t hear him.  We decide to stop at 36 and 71 for gas and refreshments.  Everybody gets gas, Dad and I head in for something to drink and to use the restroom and Dad’s brother just goes ahead and pulls away.  So I wait for Dad to get back in the UHaul and get going.  Except he doesn’t.  There’s a warning light on about the brakes and a really loud dinging noise.  And of course this is the day after Thanksgiving and Dad’s brother just left us.  Just drove away without making sure that the people who are carrying all his worldly possessions are OK.  And his cell phone is off.  Of course.  Long story short, we had to wait for the repair people to come, we tried to get the growly dog out to let him go to the bathroom and he bit my dad.  Blood flowing, bit my dad.  We waited around for hours and finally, against my better judgment, Dad says “We’re going.  Just don’t let anyone else get behind me because the brake lights don’t work.”   We still had a two-hour drive ahead of us and…we’re going anyway.  Have you ever tried to follow a UHaul without brake lights?  Scary.  But we made it home.

This man, my dad’s brother, is so self-centered.  He doesn’t think about other people.  He’s the golden child in my grandpa’s eyes, even though it’s my dad who stayed in town so that he could take care of my grandparents.  He and my mom made that sacrifice, and it isn’t even appreciated.  My dad’s brother is loud and obnoxious.  When parents have something, he has to go out and get it.  When I joined a club or sport, his step-children were forced to join the same club.  Everything is a competition to him.

Last night my mom called to give me the update on him.  I asked her if it was awful that I didn’t really want any more updates until he passed away.  That is awful, I know it is.  And I feel slightly guilty, but the only reason why I care is my dad.  And the fact that I’m going to have to take time off work.  That’s horrible isn’t it?  I feel guilty because I feel nothing.  I feel like I should care if he passes away, but I don’t.  Not really.


2 thoughts on “on death and guilt

  1. Your feelings are your feelings and you shouldn’t feel guilty about them. Your relationship with this man has been strained a long time. You’ve had plenty of time to figure out your feelings.
    Be there for your dad and his family – I think that’s all you have to do.

    • Thanks. I just feel like I should care and that not caring makes me a bad person. But it’s not like he’s really been family to me. *sigh*

      Let me know how things go with OE. I’m definitely interested!


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