3 tragic words I never want to hear again

It was a good day! I got to sleep a couple more hours than usual, and then my husband and I walked to the local Farmer’s Market. The weather was just about ideal: sunny skies and low 80’s. We chatted about becoming “that old couple” that people would see walking around town. He said they’ll say “there goes that fat old guy and the hottie.” I love that man.

At the market, we looked at the yummy baked goods and the fresh produce. There were a few tables with jewelry for sale, and -my favorite part- a six-week old pygmy goat!
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After purchasing a pie and some local honey, we walked back home and had some lunch. I had a leisurely but productive day planned: go to the library to use the computer, read a book I began yesterday, and get to bed early. I went to the library and then came home to read. After about an hour or so, I got a call from a number that I didn’t recognize.

A call from back home

It was my Aunt in Indiana. I’d only seen her a couple of times in the 26 years that she’d been with my Uncle. He is my Dad’s youngest brother, and a lot like my Dad.

We chatted a little, and I caught her up on how we’d moved to Virginia last year,and how my sons were doing. She told me about how her home-based business has taken off and is doing well.
She told me about my Uncle’s health, which I’d known had been poor, years before. My Uncle was a chip off the old block, and like his brother, and his Dad, (and his niece) he had been a voracious drinker. Grandpa instilled a strong work ethic in his sons, and at the same time, a strong thirst for whiskey. I guess my Uncle’d stopped drinking 4 years ago, but not before it had taken a serious toll on his health.
She began talking about having a nurse come in to help with bathing him, and a hospital bed being placed in the living room, and palliative care…and that’s as far as my mind went.

Wait. What?

I told her I must’ve missed something. The last time I saw my Uncle, who happens to be 2 years younger than I am, he was as health as any 40-something man who’d lived on a farm for most of his life. But she was talking about Nurses coming in to bathe him??
She told me “He’s dying from End Stage Cirrhosis.” He is unable to get to the restroom unaided…

So, my Saturday ended on a much more somber note than any in recent memory. It’s the sort of thing that really makes me grateful for so many days that I don’t have to learn that a relative who used to be my childhood friend -like a brother, really- is nearing the end of their life.

The tears will come

So, here I am, thinking about my Uncle. When we were young, we climbed trees together, shared secrets, swam in the pond together, and we even turned an old delapidated hog shack into a, well, less delapidated fort-like thing.

Today he is a broken man, raised with so much childhood pain, so many battles to fight…now in hindsight, I see in him one more victim of the disease of alcoholism.

My Uncle never chose to be born to an angry, violent alcoholic. He learned from his dad how to fight, how to run away, and how to destroy anyone who got too close. He learned to hurt those he cared for most, by watching his Mother’s abuse. And in the end, as is usually the case, he learned from his Dad how to progressively kill himself.

Tomorrow’s another day

And it’s about 3 hours later than I’d planned to be going to bed. You know what they say, “if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

Posted from my cabin far away from home.

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22 responses to “3 tragic words I never want to hear again

  1. I am so sad for your uncle and all who love him/care about him. We are all so fragile in so many ways…so easily broken if not for fortuitous circumstances that turn us from any number of destructive paths….there but for the grace of God…I’ve said a prayer for all of you…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Abbie,
    that is such sad news about your uncle. And, not sure if it is a platitude to mention this now but I am happy that you quit, happy that I quit. Alcohol is such a destructive substance. :-/ I guess I need that reminder for things to sink in deeper. Thank you for sharing.
    xx, Feeling

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Wendy! It’s a sad fact of being a member of a multi-generational alcoholic family: sometimes we die early. Thanks for your comment and I’ll gladly take the hugs. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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