The Fall of Man

They found him. Gunshot wound to the chest on his birthday. Although, it makes sense, his heart was what hurt the most. His wife passed away four years ago in a car accident. He was the one driving the car… He had sold his house two weeks before he took his life. He wanted to move out of the city and on with his life. But, with no job prospects and no real friends anywhere else, he must have lost all hope. Deep down, we all knew this day would come; we just thought it would have happened shortly after she died, not now.

My uncle Steve is was an introverted, angry man. He didn’t like the outside world. When he met and married my aunt, his second wife, new life was pumped into his veins. He turned himself around, started going to parties, meeting people, and he even thought about having children! He said and did things he, and we, never thought he would do. But, when he accidently hit the other car that caused her death; he also died. The spark she implanted in him was gone; he went back to his old ways, hating the world and everyone in it. Each year that he remained alive, we considered ourselves lucky.

The last time I saw him was the day before his birthday. We were at a family gathering at my grandmothers. It was to celebrate her birthday, as well as his. He retreated to the living room for most of his time there, and when he was in the kitchen, he wouldn’t talk to anyone. All he wanted to do was play with his smart phone. When my grandmother talked to him, he answered her with a strong tongue and boiling anger in his eyes. No one could say or do anything to please him at this point.

I didn’t even bother trying to talk to him for fear that he would lash out at me. In fact, in all the years that we’ve been family, I’ve never said more than a few sentences to him. He wasn’t the type of uncle to show up at your high school play, take you out for ice cream, or make small talk. He was a man who just wanted to be left alone.

Sure, I could cry my heart out, take off of work for a few weeks, and preach to everyone about how you need to, “hold you loved ones close.” But, I can’t. I’ve never loved this man. To me, this isn’t a heartbreaking loss.

In fact, this isn’t a loss at all. My uncle did not die; he’s very much alive. Today he turns another year older…and colder, that is true. And, as I sat near him the other day, not speaking a word, I was reminded of how awful of a person I truly am. I realized in that moment that the man sitting near me is a man I’ve known my whole life; but he’s been nothing but a stranger. I realized that if he died tomorrow, even from suicide, it would not have a major impact on me. Sure, I would feel awful. No one deserves to die, no matter what the cause! And, no one deserves to feel alone. But, to me, it wouldn’t feel like a major loss. I can honestly say that it would hurt more if my dog died than if he passed away.

Four years ago, this was where my family found themselves; on suicide watch for my uncle. It’s awful to admit that someone who is supposed to be such a huge part of your life doesn’t matter to you. Writing those words, “It would hurt more if my dog died than if he passed away” makes me feel like a terrible person, but I know deep down that I’m being true to myself. Although, sometimes, we have to admit that even those people in our lives who are supposed to be family and the closest humans to us, mean zilch. That is why we all must create our own “families.” “Families” that are made up of blood relations, friends, acquaintances, dogs, cats, etc. “Plant your own seeds and grown your own garden because you have the power to choose who you become and who is allowed to influence you along the way.”

Granny Smith – over and out

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21 thoughts on “The Fall of Man

  1. What a heartfelt story! I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the page. No, you are not a terrible person. You are human, with feelings and an important message. God bless you for your honesty.

  2. I’m surprised at the dearth of comments, actually. I’m in late as I’ve been playing catch up again.
    I’m actually slightly annoyed at your uncle for making people do a suicide watch. Is that also wrong? Maybe. It is awful that he only found a reason to live because of someone else, too. It’s not an endearing quality, and definitely not going to ever make you feel close. Still, it sucks his life was so terrible and he probably did the right thing, for himself, to end it. That is probably also wrong to say. He wasn’t going to change or get better again.

  3. I was just talking with a friend recently about how some people (in the story, me) are totally oblivious of their impact on others. Even when it’s glaringly obvious to everyone else. It’s tragic that some light came into your uncle’s life and then he lost it—and he’s clearly blaming himself. No but. It’s just awful on all counts.

    His life—and your story—are a reminder that we can choose. And the every day is a new opportunity to do our life differently. Thanks for living and telling the tale.

  4. First time on your site and will assume you talk about real things and people in real time. A sad story ended by the one holding that decision in his own hand. Never an easy story but it seems the writing was on the wall. It never makes it right, it just makes it what it is. Very well written given the topic.

  5. This is so moving. I am sure your uncle is not beyond hope, because no one is. But short of knowing where the void came from in his life, it’s hard to fix it. It sounds like maybe he didn’t really know love until he met your aunt and losing her was also losing his connection with love. Maybe he’s had some terrible experiences that destroyed his hope. Maybe he just needs love again but he probably Can only respond to the kind of love that only comes from God.
    I hope he has that experience someday soon.
    Thanks for sharing such a powerful emotion with us, Smith

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