The Sleeper: Part Three

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Part Three

Written by Derrick Nadeau

Greg’s mind frantically searched for a way out of his predicament, but was unable to find any solution.  Closing his eyes, Greg ran through the events that had led him to this point in his mind.  Greg had enjoyed his life as a sleeper agent, married to a wonderful wife and raising a good son, but his life had been ruined earlier in the evening when a man arrived at his door handing him an envelope and informing him that he had been activated.  Being activated meant that, in addition  to completing an assignment given to him by his superiors, Greg would also have to kill both his wife and his son to tie up any loose ends from his life as a sleeper.  Though it broke his heart, Greg had completed the first step of his assignment, killing his wife by shooting her in her bed.  The murder of his own wife had left him so distraught that Greg could not bear to kill his son.  Instead, Greg had woken his son up from his slumber and attempted to escape with him.  As Greg and his son attempted to run, his house had been invaded by a squad of men, each carrying a weapon.

Greg stared at the three men pointing guns at he and his son when he was suddenly distracted by the sound of footsteps climbing the stairs.  Greg focused his gaze to the stairs in time to see the man who had activated him earlier in the evening approaching.  Greg’s heart sank as the man walked up to him, paused briefly to look Greg in the eyes, then continued on to the bedroom where Greg’s dead wife lay.  Greg looked down at his son and felt the urge to cry as he witnessed the pure terror in his young son’s eyes.  A moment later, the man who destroyed Greg’s wife walked out of the bedroom, pausing once again to look in Greg’s eyes and shake his head in what Greg could only guess was disappointment, then continued on to the room of Greg’s son.  Greg felt a sudden pain in his chest as the man then walked out of the bedroom carrying the gun that Greg had used to murder his wife.  The man walked up to Greg and his son and pointed the gun at Greg’s head.

“What is your name son,” the man asked Greg’s son.

Greg’s son was too frightened to answer and could only stare up at the man with tear filled eyes.

“Too scared to answer,” the man continued.  “I understand.  It doesn’t matter any way, I know your name is Peter. “

“Please,” Greg pleaded.  “Don’t hurt my son.”

“Shut up,” the man growled, jabbing Greg’s own gun into his forehead.  “Shut up and do not say a word or I will make sure you and your son die a very slow, very painful death.  Now then, Peter, my name is Samuel.  But, you can just call me Sam.”

Sam bent down on one knee, looking Peter directly in the eyes, and let Peter get a look at Greg’s gun in his hands.

“Do you know what this is Peter,” Sam asked.

Peter’s lips trembled as he stammered out his response, “a g-gun.”

“Well, Yes,” Sam agreed.  “But it is more than just any gun.  This is the gun that your father used to kill your mother.”

Peter began to shake his head furiously as tears streamed down his face.

“It’s true,” Sam said, his face taking on an expression of mock sadness.  “I’m sorry to have to tell you that.”

“You are lying,” Peter shouted.

“I know it must be hard for you to believe,” Sam said in a soothing voice.  “But it’s true.  You mom is dead, and your father is the one who killed her with this very gun.”

“Shut up,” Peter screamed.  “You are lying!  I don’t believe you.”

Sam let out a long sigh before standing back up and turning to one of the three men pointing guns at Greg.  “Take him in and show him.”

“No, please,” Greg said, resulting in one of the men to jab the butt of his gun into Greg’s ribs.

As one of the other men grabbed Peter and dragged the screaming boy into his parents bedroom, Sam turned to face Greg, who was doubled over in pain from the shot to his ribs.  Greg coughed as he clutched his sore ribs, and a few specks of blood found their way to the corner of his mouth.

“Why would you do that to him,” Greg asked between coughs.

“You surprised me tonight Gregory,” Sam said, examining Greg’s gun in his hands.  “I am always surprised by you sleeper agents.  No matter how many times I do this, I can never figure out what you fools will do.  I can never anticipate how you will react.  I guess, ultimately, that’s what makes my job so much fun.”

“What the fuck are you talking about,” Greg asked, spitting blood towards Sam.

“Oh, this is my absolute favorite part,” Sam replied with a hint of glee in his voice.  “It might be a bit of a cliché, but I absolutely love this part where I get to explain everything to you right before I kill you.  I completely understand why villains in movies do this.”

Before Sam could continue, he was interrupted by the cries of Peter in the bedroom.

“Ah, I see your son has seen your handiwork,” Sam said.  “That’s certainly going to scar him for life.  That will make him easier to keep in line.”

“What do you mean,” Greg asked, suddenly horrified.

“This is my favorite part,” Sam said, leaning in close to Gregory and speaking softly.  “The truth is that you aren’t what you think you are.  You were never what you thought you were.  Everything you thought you knew was a complete lie.”

“What are you talking about,” Greg asked, spitting blood again.

Sam straightened up, flashed a wicked grin at Greg, then turned to face Greg’s bedroom.

“Bring the kid back out here,” Sam called out.  “Let’s show Gregory here who the real sleeper agent is.”

The Sleeper: Part Two

cooltext1471861634Part Two

Written by Derrick Nadeau

Greg stood next to his bed and stared down through tear soaked eyes at his dead wife bleeding out in front of him.  The last few hours of the day ran through his mind like an unstoppable train of horror and sorrow.  Greg’s entire life began to fall apart the moment a strange man arrived at his door during dinner and informed Greg that he was no longer a sleeper agent living a quiet life in the suburbs, but had at that moment been activated to complete an assignment.  To Greg’s horror, being activated meant that he had to destroy all evidence of the life he had built as a sleeper agent, including killing his wife and son.  Greg had struggled with his task for hours afterwards, drinking scotch and rereading the assignment notes until he had at last built up the courage to begin his assignment.  Even as his heart was breaking, Greg somehow found the nerve to shoot his wife as she lay asleep in their bed.  The act of murdering the woman he loved nearly tore Greg’s soul apart, but he managed to hold himself together in order to complete his assignment.  Greg wondered at that moment how other sleeper agents dealt with such pain, but then thought that perhaps they did not allow themselves to become attached to anyone the way Greg had.  Greg’s mind began to wander down the path of what it actually meant to be a sleeper agent when he suddenly snapped himself back to reality.  There was still one more task for Greg to complete in order to separate himself from his past life, and Greg was left with no other choice.  Killing his wife had pushed Greg past the point of backing out, the only option left was to murder his own son.

With tears still streaming down his face, Greg turned and slowly walked out his bedroom, into the hallway, and continued to his son’s room.  Greg placed his hand on the door of his son’s room, thankful that it had been closed and had hopefully kept his son from waking up, and paused long enough to compose himself.  Greg took a deep breath, held it for a moment, then slowly opened the door to his son’s room.  Once his eyes had adjusted to the darkness of the room, lit only by the wash from the hallway light, Greg took a quick scan and saw that his son remained in his bed, undisturbed and sleeping peacefully.  Greg fought back the urge to cry again as he quietly walked over to his son’s bed.

Greg stared down at his sleeping son as a surge of memories flooded his mind, causing such sorrow that he began to feel actual physical pain in his heart.  The birth of his son had been the single greatest joy in Greg’s life, and that joy now lay shattered at the bottom of his heart as he prepared to murder his own son.  Greg could feel his hands shaking, almost losing his grip on the gun he had just used to kill his wife.  Greg sucked in a quick gasp of air, tightened his grip on the gun, and forced his nerves to calm down.  Greg closed his tear soaked eyes and raised his gun towards his son.

Greg took several more deep breaths to calm himself, opened his eyes,  and lowered his gun.

“I can’t do this,” Greg whispered to himself.  “I can’t kill my own son.  I can’t.”

As Greg stood there, staring at the gun in his hand, he began to hear the sound of music playing.  Greg quickly realized that the music was coming from his son’s cellphone lying on the nightstand beside his son’s bed.  In a panic, Greg grabbed the phone, tried unsuccessfully to shut the phone off, then threw it out into the hallway.  Greg’s first instinct was to run out of the room and keep running, but the sound of his son’s voice caused Greg’s mind to suddenly go blank.

“Dad,” Greg’s son croaked in a sleepy voice.  “What’s going on?  What are you doing in my room?”

“I-” Greg began to answer his son, but quickly found that no words came to his mind.

“Dad, are you okay?”

“I’m so sorry,” Greg finally whispered.

“What did you say,” Greg’s son asked, sitting up to face his father.

Gregory could not answer his son, but instead dropped to his knees, allowing the gun to slip from his hands and slide down to the floor.  As Greg dropped, some unknown object struck the wall behind him exactly where his head had been a moment before.  Greg realized instantly from the sound of the impact that the object that had hit the wall was a bullet.  At that moment, Greg let his survival instincts take control, grabbing his son and pulling him out of his bed onto the floor.  Greg pulled his son close to him as he crouched down near the bed and tried to quickly plan his next move.  Greg looked over to the door of his son’s room, made a quick distance judgment, then focused his attention on his panicked son.

“Listen to me now,” Greg shouted, trying to hold his son’s attention.

“What is going on dad,” Greg’s son cried out.

“Listen to me,” Greg barked again.   “Just focus on me.  Don’t worry about anything else.  Just focus on me.”

“I’m confused dad.”

“Don’t worry, I will explain everything after.  Right now I just need to get you out of here.  To do that, we need to make a quick run out the door of your bedroom.  But you need to stay low and get out as quickly as you can.  Do you understand?”

“What is this?  What-”

“Don’t worry about that now,” Greg replied, grabbing his son by the shoulders and forcing him to focus.  “You need to do what I tell you.  Do you understand me son?”

“Okay,” Greg’s son replied, staring at his father’s face.  “I understand Dad.”

“Good.  Now, when I tell you too, you need to run out to the hallway as quickly as you can.  But, you also need to stay as low to the floor as you can.  Understand?”

“Yes Dad,” Greg’s son replied.  “I got it.  Run to the hallway.  Stay low.”

“Good.  Now get ready.”

Greg and his son moved to the edge of the bed and prepared themselves for the quick run out the bedroom door.  Greg paused for a moment, signaled his son to be quiet, then listened closely to the surrounding area.  Greg’s eyes widened as he heard the sound of whispered voices coming from somewhere outside his house.  At that moment, Greg realized that his handlers had been watching him since the moment he had been activated.  Having failed to kill his own son, Greg knew that his superiors would send in a team of specialists to clean up the mess he had caused.  At that moment, Greg decided he would do all he could to save the life of his son.

“Are you ready.” Greg asked.

“Yes Dad,” his son replied as he crouched down like a cat about to pounce on its prey.

Greg took one more deep breath and stared at the doorway that now represented his son’s salvation.

“Go!  Now,” Greg shouted as he instantly ran towards the door.  Though they tried to stay as low as the could, Greg and his son were forced to expose themselves as they left the safety of the bed and ran to the doorway.  Several more gunshots ruptured the wall near them, and Greg realized that there must be a shooter in the house of their neighbor across the street.  Greg wondered briefly if that meant that his neighbors had been killed as well, but quickly pushed that though out of his mind.  Though it seemed like an eternity, Greg and his son reached the doorway in seconds, stopping only once they had made it safely into the hallway.  Greg grabbed his son once again and quickly scanned him for any injuries.  Greg let out a sigh of relief when he saw that his son had made it out of the bedroom unscathed.

“Are you okay,” Greg asked his son.  “Are you hurt?”

“I’m fine Dad.  I’m just confused.”

Greg embraced his son and let his tears flow freely.  The only thing on Greg’s mind at that moment was the love he felt for his son.  Nothing else in the world seemed to matter as Greg and his son stood in the upstairs hallway hugging each other.  The moment was soon ruined by the sound of loud pounding on the front door of the house.  Greg let go of his son, moved to the top of the stairs to look down.  Suddenly, the front door burst open and several men burst through, pointing guns in front of them as then entered.  The men spotted Greg instantly and ran up the stairs towards him.  Greg tried to grab his son and flee to one of the bedrooms, but the men were upon him before he could run.  Greg held his son close to him as three men surrounded him and pointed their guns at him.

The Sleeper: Part One

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Part One

Written by Derrick Nadeau

Greg had just sat down to dinner with his wife and son when the doorbell rang.  Greg frowned in the direction of the door,  then looked back at his wife who returned his look of disdain. Greg let out a sigh, stood up, moved to answer the door in the front hallway.  On the other side of the door stood a man in a grey suit and black trench coat. his face stern and joyless.

“Good evening,” Greg said calmly.  “Can I help you?”

“Are you Gregory Sanders,” The man asked.

“I am,” Greg replied cautiously.

“You have been activated,” the man stated, he handed Greg a sealed envelope.  “This is your assignment.”

“I see,” Greg said, feeling despair grip his heart as he stared down at the envelope.

“You have until the morning to prepare for the assignment,” the man continued.   “You must be ready to begin your assignment by dawn tomorrow.  All information regarding your assignment can be found in that folder.”

“Understood,” Greg said again, looking back up at the man before him.

“That is all I have for you,” the man said as he turned and began walking away.  “Good evening.”

“Yeah,” Greg answered back realizing that his mouth had gone completely dry.  “Goodbye.”

Greg closed the door, walked to his study adjacent to the front hallway, and placed the envelope in the top drawer of his desk.  Greg stared down at the desk and took several deep breaths in an attempt to calm himself down.  Though he knew the day of his activation would eventually come, it had been twenty-two years since Greg had been placed in his small community as a sleeper agent, and he had foolishly allowed himself to believe that he would never be activated at all.  No matter what happened, Greg’s life would be permanently changed once dawn arrived.  Greg took one last, long, deep breath to steady his nerves, and let it out slowly before returning to the dinner table.

“Who was that,” Greg’s wife asked.

“Oh,” Greg replied pausing briefly to decide on a convincing lie.  “It was just some religious people trying to get me to join their church or something like that.”

“Those people are so annoying,” Greg’s wife spouted off.  “Not bad enough they come and bug you, but to do it at dinnertime?  That is just completely rude!  I hope you gave them a piece of your mind.”

“Not really,” Greg said, smiling at his wife’s  indignation.  “I wanted to get back to our lovely dinner as quickly as possible, so I just got rid of them as fast as I could.”

“Well then, I can’t blame you for that,” Greg’s wife laughed.

Greg pushed the thoughts of his assignment to the back of his mind and tried his best to enjoy his final dinner and conversation with his family.  After dinner,Greg helped his wife clear off the dining room table and then excused himself telling her that he had a big assignment for work the next day that he needed to go over in his study.  Once he was in his study, Greg closed the door, poured himself a scotch, and sat down to read through his assignment.  Greg took a sip of his scotch, opened the envelope, and removed the contents.  The envelope  contained several pages of typed information accompanied by a handful of pictures.  Greg quickly read through the typed pages, instructions and pertinent information on a target Greg was to assassinate, searching for one single piece of information that he hoped he would not find.  Greg’s heart sank quickly when he finally stumbled across the one sentence he had been dreading.

Before you begin your assignment, your wife and son must be eliminated.  

Greg took another long swig of his scotch and read the line again.

Before you begin your assignment, your wife and son must be eliminated.

When Greg had first been planted as a sleeper agent, he had known that he could be activated at any given moment of any day, but he never expected it would take twenty-two years.  In that time, Greg had slowly allowed himself to grow comfortable in his role as a common man.  Five years later, Greg met and fell in love with his wife, leading to the birth of their son five years after that.  Greg’s handlers had been very supportive of his decision to take on a family, which led Greg to eventually believe that he might never be fully activated.  Greg had taken employment as an assistant to a scientist in the genetics field, and he believed that as long as he continued leaking the scientist’s research to his handlers, Greg might never need to be activated and he could enjoy the life he had built for himself.    Greg felt a sadness wash over him as he read through the assignment given to him.  Greg’s main objective was to assassinate the scientist he had been working for, and had become friends with, for several years.  The assignment would be difficult enough without the fact that Greg would also have to destroy his family and erase the life that had made him truly happy.

Greg poured himself another scotch, pulled a set of keys out of his pocket, and unlocked the bottom drawer of his desk.  Greg reached into the drawer, pulled out a black case, and placed it on the desk before him.  Greg took another long drink of scotch, and stared at the case for a long, sorrowful moment before finally opening it to reveal a nine millimeter pistol and silencer.  Greg pulled the gun out of the case and  attached the silencer hesitantly.  Once the silencer was attached, Greg took another drink of scotch and stared at the gun with an expression of repugnance.  Greg had often enjoyed going to the local gun club to practice his shooting, even taking his son with him on several occasions, but now the gun in his hand was the tool he would use to destroy what he loved the most.

Greg finished the scotch in his glass, took one more deep breath, and headed out of his study to begin his assignment.  As Greg slowly walked up the stairs to his bedroom where his wife had already gone to bed, his mind began to flood with memories.  Thoughts of Greg and his wife moving into their new home when they were still newlyweds bled into memories of the day they brought home their newborn son, which then turned into memories of dinners with his family, parties with friends, and all of the wonderful times Greg shared with his wife and son.  Once Greg reached the top of the stairs, he moved as silently as he could to the bedroom where his wife lay sound asleep.

Once in the bedroom, Greg walked up to his wife’s side of the bed and looked down at her.  In the faint light flooding in from the hallway, Greg’s wife looked serene as she slept.  Greg wanted nothing more than to grab his wife, embrace her, and hold her tightly in his arms, but he knew that he would never be able to complete his assignment if he allowed her to wake up.  Greg grabbed a pillow from his side of the bed, placed it over his wife’s head, and aimed his gun down at her.  Greg could feel his hand shaking from the emotions welling up inside him, and tears began to stream down his face.  Greg tried to steel his nerves, but was too distraught to find any sort of calmness.  Closing his eyes for a moment, Greg tried to imagine that the woman he was about to kill was not his wife, but rather some stranger he had never met before that he had not emotional attachment to.

As Greg tried to calm himself, his wife suddenly stirred and let out a muffled moan.  Greg panicked suddenly, fearing that his wife was about to waken, and instinctively pulled the trigger of his gun, firing a bullet through the pillow.  Greg’s heart began to race as his wife’s body went suddenly limp, and he fired two more quick rounds into the pillow.  Greg, now a mess of nerves and adrenaline, held his breath and quickly scanned the area around him, listening for any indication that his son had been woken up.  When he was satisfied that all was quiet, Greg moved the pillow from his wife’s head and angrily threw it across the room.  Even in the dim light provided by the hallway, Greg could tell that his bullets had found their marks.

“Oh God,” Greg whispered as he watched his wife’s blood pool out onto the bed.  “What the fuck have I done?  I just killed my wife!  What have I done?”

Greg fell to his knees and let the tears flow from his eyes for a few brief moments.  Greg then closed his eyes and took several deep breaths to calm himself.  With the murder of his wife now completed, Greg knew that everything he built was now destroyed.  The life he had led was over, and Greg had no choice but to continue on with his assignment.  Accepting the fact that it was now too late to turn back, Greg stood up, his shaking knees threatening to send him crashing back down to the floor, and prepared himself for the next step of his assignment.  Greg’s wife had been eliminated, next, he would have to kill his son.

Announcement

It has been a very long time since I have posted anything on this blog, and I have decided to make some changes. First of all, I have created The New England Society of Geeks, a blog, Twitter account, and Facebook Page that I will be using to write about topics as a geek from New England. If you are a geek, or a New Englander, or both, I hope you will go and check out The New England Society of Geeks. I hope you will find it interesting.

Secondly, this blog will be metamorphosing into something completely new and different.  I originally started this blog with the intention of using it as a platform to write about things that were occupying my mind at any given time, hence the name.  However, as you may or may not be aware of, my posts on this blog have been infrequent at best.  It seems that I did not enjoy writing about the things on my mind as much as I thought I might.  So, instead, I have decided to shift gears on this blog and from now on I will be using it to showcase some of my fiction stories.  I will write and share short stories, episodic serials, and even the occasional poem with you.  I am looking forward to sharing my fiction with everyone, and I hope it will be widely enjoyed.  I may even still include the occasional non-fiction essay as well if something good should come to my mind that I feel the need to write about.

So, stay tuned to this blog because I will be starting this new direction soon, hopefully this week.  Thanks to those that have read my blog in the past, and I hope you all enjoy the new direction.

Thanks,

Derrick.

My Thoughts On The Boston Marathon Bombing.

I have taken a break from writing my blog the last few months, but I have been thinking about writing again lately.  I had planned on writing a fun piece about the kitten that my wife and I took in last year, but it seems that will have to wait until my next post.  Right now, I need to talk a bit about my thoughts and feelings regarding the bomb attack that happened in Boston on the day of the Boston Marathon, April 15, 2013, and the weeks that followed.  There are so many different emotions and thoughts running around in my mind right now that it is somewhat difficult to sort through them all, but I will try my best.

A tragedy like this always shows us both the good side, and the bad side of humanity. Unfortunately, it seems we have seen these tragedies happen far too often lately.  When I think back on just the past twelve months alone, I am shocked by the tragedies that have happened.  All of these tragedies are horrific examples of the evil that humanity is capable of, yet they also bring out some of the best in humanity as well.  A few of the recent events have affected me on a more personal level, and the bombing in Boston has been more personal to me than any of the other events.

I was born in Massachusetts and I have lived there my entire life.  Boston is just over an hour drive from my home and I have spent many fun days in the city walking the streets and enjoying some of the many tourist attractions that Boston has to offer as well as its rich history.  I have gone to Boston to watch plays, eat wonderful food in several of the amazing restaurants, and I have even gone to the city to attend comic book conventions and other events.  I have loved the city of Boston my entire life, and I will continue to love it for the rest of my life as well.  It is because of my love for the city that this particular tragedy feels so close to home for me and affects me on a more personal level.

It is always sad and shocking to witness an event that causes so much pain and suffering and death, but the fact that I know, and have been to the exact spots that the bombings happened has hit closer to my heart than other tragedies that I only know about through my tv.  As the events following the bombings unfolded, I found myself going through so many different emotions.  It started with shock on the day the bombings happened, followed by sadness as the world began to realize what had occurred. 

I went on Twitter as soon as I could to find out as much as I could about the bombings, and it was there that I began to see things that began to make me angry.  In the midst of all the questions and concerns about what had happened and trying to tell some people from across the world what had happened even though I was not sure myself, I saw a few individuals who immediately used the tragedy as a means to spout off their political views, on both the conservative side, and the liberal side.  I found it very offensive that these people would start spouting their political venom even as the injured and dying were still being taken away from the bomb site to local hospitals for treatment.  That was a time for people to come together and help each other, not try to throw their political daggers around.

My anger didn’t last long however as I saw reports of the people who rushed in to help the bombing victims without concern for their own safety.  It warmed my heart to hear about the marathon runners who continued to the hospitals to give blood despite the fact that they had just been running a marathon.  We’ve all seen these images and stories about the heroes that helped out in any way they could, and it is important to see that there are people like that in this world to counter the evil people who would plant bombs and try to harm and kill others.

Speaking of the stories of the tragedy and the heroes that rose from it, I am now reminded of the news media and their rush to get out the stories involved in this tragedy without taking a moment to verify their reports.  I’m sure everyone reading this will know exactly what I am talking about.  It is a sad fact of the state of news today that reports are rushed to get on the air in order to beat reports coming from online sources and social media that often can be just as incorrect.

As that first week wore on, the non-stop news coverage of the events became almost unbearable to watch.  I have now seen the footage of the initial explosion so many times that I can see every detail in my mind now whenever I think about it.  My poor wife ended up seeing a disturbing image of one bomb victim because one of her friends posted it on their Facebook page without warning anyone about the gruesome details of the picture.  By the time Friday rolled around, I no longer wanted to hear any more about the bombing for a while because I had become overwhelmed, but that is when things began to get interesting.

I woke up Friday morning and heard the news about the shootout between the bombing suspects and the police and I immediately became interested in the whole ordeal again.  I normally have Fridays off, so I spent the day following my normal routines.  I spent time catching up on recorded tv shows, doing my laundry, and other mundane tasks while checking in on the news that had been running almost twenty-four hours straight on every channel every day since the bombings for constant updates.

As night fell on Friday, my wife and I were glued to our tv as we watched the police and FBI search for the missing suspect.  We were on the edge of our seats as we switched from channel to channel to see if anyone had any breaking news.  Finally, the police caught the suspect hiding in the now famous boat and I found myself filled with joy that the suspect had been caught, and pride in all the police officers and FBI agents that had worked so hard to bring this terrorist to justice.  I also felt a bit of relief that the ordeal was finally over, for those of us who were watching at least. 

Unfortunately, for the victims of the bombings, and those that lost someone, the ordeal will most likely never truly end.  My heart goes out to all of those victims, whose stories we have seen more of as time has passed, and I hope they are able to piece their lives back together as best as humanly possible.

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Part of the memorial for the bombing victims.

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Another small section of the much larger memorial.

Yesterday, my wife and I finally made a trip out to Boston to see the memorial dedicated to all the victims and visit the site of the bombings.  I am not ashamed to admit that I got choked up at the sight of all the love sent to Boston from around the world, and at the memory of what had happened on that horrible day.  Boston is recovering from the events of that day and the city will continue to heal for as long as it needs to.   I know that my favorite city will not let these events destroy it and will continue on as strong as ever.  I also know that the city will never forget the pain and horror that happened on that day either, and I know that I never will either.  But those memories will just help to make the city and those that love it stronger than ever.

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A sign hanging outside a building near the bombing site.

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Boston strong ribbon put up in a storefront window at the bombing site.

 Whenever something as horrible as this happens, people always say that they can’t understand how anyone could do something so disgusting and so evil.  To those people I say this, be glad you can’t understand their motivations, because that means that you could never do anything that would cause so much pain and horror, and that makes you a better human being than those terrorists will ever be.

Happy Thanksgiving

It seems I have let a large chunk of time pass since my last post.  I didn’t mean to stay silent for so long, I just got caught up in life.  Though I have neglected my blog for a few months, I have decided that a perfect way to get back into the swing of writing would be to write about my experiences with Thanksgiving, the American holiday of feasting and reflection on the things in our lives that we are thankful for.  There is much for me to be thankful for this year I am happy to say.  One of the things I am very thankful for is the joy of the holiday itself.  There was a time when I felt indifferent about Thanksgiving.  A period of time in my life that I just didn’t care about the holiday at all.  That may sound odd until I explain why.

When I was young, as far back as I can remember, I used to love Thanksgiving.  I don’t remember anything from before my parents got divorced, but I do remember Thanksgivings after that time where my father would take my sister and I to his Aunt Eve’s house for Thanksgiving.  The entire family would meet up at Aunt Eve’s house, and I loved going there. I would get to see cousins, second cousins, grandparents, and family members that I didn’t get to see on a regular basis.  There was always a huge amount of food to eat, and plenty of family bonding.  I look back on those days with many fond memories.

As time passed and everyone got older,  Aunt Eve stopped having big family gatherings at her home on Thanksgiving.  That is when the tradition of Thanksgiving began to unravel, and I began to lose the joy that Thanksgiving used to bring me.  For a couple of years, my grandmother started making Thanksgiving dinner for our more immediate family until she felt that it was too much for her to handle at her age.  After that, my father would take my sister and I out to a restaurant for our Thanksgiving meal.  That only lasted a couple of Thanksgivings until the day I finally gave up the idea of ever having a traditional family Thanksgiving again.  Although I don’t remember the exact year it happened, I will always remember the day my father told me and my sister that we would be on our own for Thanksgiving.  My father had made plans to spend Thanksgiving with the woman he had been dating that would eventually become my stepmother forcing my sister and I to seek out other options for our holiday.

I spent a Thanksgiving or two after that having dinner at the homes of some of my friends.  I am grateful to my friends for allowing me to join their Thanksgiving celebrations, yet I couldn’t help but feel like an outsider the whole time.  My mind just couldn’t accept that this would be how my Thanksgivings were spent, and I longed for the holidays of my youth at Aunt Eve’s house.

I began a new Thanksgiving tradition  a couple of years later when I met my wife.  Shortly after my wife and I began dating, she invited me to share Thanksgiving with her and her family.  At the beginning, I still felt out of place even though my wife’s family welcomed me to their holiday celebration.  Once I grew more familiar and comfortable with my wife’s family, Thanksgiving began to feel like a warm family holiday once again, and I was happy.

Alas, as the saying goes, all good things really do come to an end.  A few years later, I lost my job due to a lay-off right before Thanksgiving.  I was able to find employment a few months later at a new company.  The new company that employed me, however, had a work schedule of twelve hour shifts working seven days a week.  The only time the plant closed was on Christmas day, which meant that I ended up working a twelve hour shift on Thanksgiving day.  Let me tell you, nothing made me feel as indifferent towards Thanksgiving as being forced to spend the holiday at work.  Sure, the cafeteria at work would make a decent Thanksgiving meal for all of us at work that day, but that couldn’t hide the fact that we were stuck at work.

Fortunately, three years later I changed my shift at work and I no longer had to work on Thanksgiving and could return to spending the day with my wife and her family.  That would only last a couple of years, unfortunately, due to a death in the family right before Thanksgiving a couple of years ago.  That year my wife and I had a quiet Thanksgiving with just the two of us and a small turkey that my wife cooked.  Despite the recent family tragedy, spending the day with just my wife eating a good Thanksgiving meal, watching parades and football, and not having to leave the house at all turned out to be a very pleasant way for us to spend our Thanksgiving.  For that reason, that will always be one of my favorite Thanksgivings, even though the weeks leading up to that day were tragic.

Last year, things changed once again when my father and stepmother finally moved out of their tiny apartment into their new home.  Now that they finally had a home with plenty of space to share, my father and stepmother decided to host Thanksgiving dinner.  My wife and I were happy to head to my father’s new home and join my father, my stepmother, and my stepsister and her family, and begin a new family tradition.  This year, we are once again heading up to my father’s home for Thanksgiving.  I am happy to say that Thanksgiving, once again, feels like the proper family holiday it should be.  I am actually looking forward to spending the holiday with my family this year.

After all the ups and downs of my past Thanksgivings, I can honestly tell you that this particular holiday has become very important to me.  Thanksgiving is now one of my favorite holidays, which is something I have not felt in a very long time.

I hope that everyone reading this will have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I hope you will appreciate the family around you. You many not always get along with your family, but you just might miss them when they are not around anymore.  To those that don’t have family to spend Thanksgiving with, I hope you can find some joy and happiness on the holiday too.  I understand how it feels when you don’t have family to celebrate with, and I know how much of an impact that can have on you.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Hello Newman…..

Hello everyone, I’d like to take a few minutes of your time to introduce you all to my cat Newman.  Newman, say hello to all the fine folks out there.

Tell me that’s not an adorable face.

My wife and I adopted Newman from a local cat shelter with a no-kill policy two years ago, and he has been a vital and cherished member of our family ever since that day.  I remember the day we adopted him very well.  We had lost our previous cat, a part of my wife’s family even before my wife and I met, to old age and serious illness.  After a month of mourning the loss, my wife had finally decided that she was ready to open her heart to a new love.  We went to the shelter with the idea that we would not be the ones to choose a cat, but would instead let the cat choose us.  My wife and I spent a long time walking around the shelter, playing with all of the various cats and falling in love with each and every one of them.  Choosing a new pet out of all the cats we played with seemed as though it would be an impossible task.  It was then that we discovered Newman,  or Larry as he had been called at the shelter.  Newman was so shy and scared that he would only come up to us for a minute or two, rub up against our legs, and then run and hide whenever another cat would come near.  Even though he was nervous, Newman kept approaching us to rub up against our legs again and again.  It was his shy demeanor and determination to introduce himself to my wife and I that made us realize he was the cat we had been looking for.

After signing the appropriate paperwork and paying the adoption fee, my wife and I brought Newman to our apartment.  Being that Newman was so shy and nervous, the trip from the shelter to our apartment was quite traumatic for him.  As soon as we got home, we placed Newman’s cat carrier on the floor of our living room and waited for him to feel comfortable enough to leave the carrier on his own.  It took a while, but when Newman did finally come out, he sniffed around our apartment briefly, then climbed behind our couch where he decided to camp out for the next several hours.  My wife and I waited as patiently as we could for him to come out, but we were starting to get worried about him, so we thought we would have to try to coax him out from behind the couch.  My wife came up with the idea of using one of the toys we had for our old cat, a cloth ribbon on a stick, to play with him and get him feeling more comfortable.  Sure enough, cats love ribbons on sticks, and Newman was out and playing with my wife in a few minutes time.

Here is a picture of Newman and I after he came out from behind the couch and relaxed a little. Look how tiny he was.

We played with Newman for a while, and let him get accustomed to both my wife and I, and his new surroundings.  Later that night, my wife and I went to bed as we normally would, and let Newman be by himself to continue getting situated.  Let me tell you, that first night was not easy at all.  Poor Newman was so scared that he spent the entire night on our bedroom floor crying and wailing.  He got so loud at one point that my wife, no doubt frustrated because she could not sleep, swore she would return Newman to the shelter the next day.  I convinced my wife to calm down, and everyone eventually fell asleep.  It’s a good thing we both had taken the week off from work for vacation, because we were exhausted the next day.  Fortunately, everyone, Newman included, managed to survive that first night.  Here it is three years later, and Newman has become a beloved member of our family.

Here is Newman sitting on his favorite cat tree by the window taking in some sun.

Now, Newman feels right at home with us and is a very happy cat.  I must point out however, that Newman has really become attached to my wife.  Sure, if my wife is not around he’ll be friendly with me, and even climb up on my lap and sleep.  As soon as my wife comes home, it’s as if I don’t even exist.  Even if Newman is sound asleep in my lap, as soon as my wife enters the house, he leaves me behind and instantly runs to her.  In the evenings, if my wife is watching tv, or playing on her computer, Newman has to be on her.  If my wife sleeps too late, which is still pretty early in the morning by the way, Newman will come into the bedroom and start meowing loudly until she gets up.  It gets to be a bit much for my wife at times, but we still love him.

My wife even tried to dress Newman up for Halloween once. It did not go well.

Newman’s attachment to my wife has raised one concern for me, however.  I have tried to tell my wife of my concern, but she just thinks I am overreacting.  You see, I have become convinced that Newman may be trying to kill me so that he can be alone with my wife.  It all started when I would be doing something, say the dishes for example, and I would turn around for some reason.  I would often notice that when I turned around, Newman would be there staring at me.  I would stare back at Newman for a brief moment, then Newman would let out a single meow and walk away.  I didn’t think anything of it at first, until I noticed it happening more and more often.  One day, Newman woke me up out of a sound sleep by jumping on my stomach from the top of our headboard.  That was not a fun way to wake up, let me tell you.  There are other example as well, but I will not dwell on them.  Let me just say that I have been watching Newman closely ever since.  If he is trying to kill me, I will be ready for him.  Just keep this in mind if a long period of time goes by without hearing from me at all.  Then, you will know that Newman got me………..

I caught Newman one day hiding behind our treadmill as he waited to lash out at me. He tried to act innocent, but I know the truth.

In all seriousness though, my wife and I are very happy to have Newman in our lives. He may frustrate us on occasion, but that is true of any relationship really.  Newman has brought so much joy into our home and our lives would not be the same without him.  Recently, my wife and I bought ourselves a new house, see my previous post http://wp.me/p28lvf-4x for details on that.  Moving Newman to the new house proved to be very interesting.  My wife put Newman in a room by himself and we let him come out on his own just like we did on that first day we adopted him.  Newman spent a couple of hours hiding behind boxes, but eventually ventured out to explore his new surroundings.  My wife and I were actually surprised by how quickly Newman adjusted to the new house.  Then, on the third or fourth day at the new house, we bought a cabinet for the dining room that I had to put together.  Two hours of screwing the cabinet together and pounding twenty-eight nails into the back was apparently too much for Newman to handle.  Poor Newman ran upstairs, hid under the bed, and would not come downstairs for two whole days.  Newman eventually found his courage again, and I am happy to report that he is now relatively comfortable in our house and is ready to claim it as his own.

In closing, I offer you a couple more pictures of Newman so that you can see why we love him so very much.

Here is Newman sleeping on a blanket on my wife’s chair. It’s a tough life I tell ya.

Here is Newman in a tub of towels fresh out of the dryer. What is it with cats and freshly washed towels?

Here is Newman sleeping in a pile of pillows on our bed. He has the whole bed to himself, and I am very jealous of him in this picture.

I hope you have enjoyed meeting Newman.  He has brought a lot of joy into the lives of my wife and I, and I’m sure we’ve brought plenty of joy into his.

Our House…Is A Very, Very, Very Fine House

I realize it has been a while since my last post, but I have a very good reason for that.  I am very happy to announce that my wife and I have just bought our first house after many years of waiting.  Buying and moving into our new house has taken a lot of our time, and I am glad that we are finally settled in and can get back to a normal, although completely new, semblance of life.  As I stated, getting our new home has been a long, roller coaster ride of a process, and we are very happy that it is over.  When we began searching for our house, everyone we knew told us that it was one of the single most stressful experiences anyone can have in life, and they were absolutely right.

In the beginning, when my wife and I had finally reached a point where we were ready financially to begin looking for our new home, we were very excited.  We looked forward to each weekend when our realtor would take us out to look at homes.  We wanted to look at as many as we could, and when we weren’t out looking, my wife and I would search the internet for homes in our price range.  It was very easy to fall in love with houses we saw online, a lot of work goes into making the houses look good in listings.  The houses we looked were an interesting variety, ranging from comforting and homey, to not quite as nice as we had hoped.   My wife and I looked a couple of nice houses that we really liked that, unfortunately, turned out to be in unappealing neighborhoods.  On the flip side, we also looked at a few houses that were in decent enough neighborhoods, yet the houses themselves were disappointing.  After a couple of months of searching, the fun of looking at houses began to wear off, and my wife and I were beginning to grow anxious to find our home.  We had to constantly reassure each other that we would find our perfect home, and we would know it as soon as we found it.

To be honest, I thought that was just something we would tell ourselves to feel better.  Yet, as soon as we walked into our home to look at it, we pretty much knew instantly that was the perfect house for us.  Of course, it probably helped our decision that the house we looked at prior to our chosen home was an absolute dump.  The people who lived in that home didn’t even bother to clean up the house before showing it, which I still can’t believe.  The house was in rundown shape, and the family had trash all over the house.  The garage alone had a large pile of used pizza boxes stacked up in the middle of it!  I truly felt bad for the realtor that had to try to sell that house, and I wonder if it has been sold yet.  After looking at that disaster of a house, we came directly to our house.  While waiting for the realtor to arrive and let us in the house, my wife and I took a look at the outside of the house and the surrounding property, and were very pleased with what we saw.  Then, as soon as we walked inside the house, we instantly fell in love with everything we saw. As we walked around the rooms of the house, our happiness increased.  Although we loved the house, we did have another house we had previously looked at that we were also happy with, and the decision came down to those two houses.  After taking the rest of the weekend to discuss the pros and cons of each house, my wife and I made our decision and haven’t looked back since.

Choosing our house was only part of the battle though.  After choosing a house, you must then apply for a mortgage.  That is where the real stress begins.  Even though my wife and I had already applied and received pre-approvals from four different banks, we knew that it was not a guarantee that we would be approved for a mortgage.  My wife and I put in our application with the bank we preferred to use, along with as much of our financial information as we could give them, and waited for their response.  In the immortal words of Tom Petty, the waiting really is the hardest part.  As each day passed, the stress level of my wife and I skyrocketed.  Adding to the stress was the fact that days would go by and we would not receive any contact from the bank at all.  My wife and I fully understand that this is a busy time of the year for the banks, and that a lot of people buy homes around this time.  We also understand that those of you who have already gone through the process most likely went through the exact same experience, but knowing these facts did not ease our stress in any way unfortunately.  When the day finally came that we found out we had been approved for our mortgage, my wife and I were ecstatic.  The stress we felt instantly melted away leaving behind only joy and excitement.

Ironically, as we were going through the whole searching and buying process, my wife and I slowly began to despise the apartment we had been living in for nine years.  We began to notice that things that we had once tolerated because we had no other option, began to grate on our nerves.  Whether it was the upstairs neighbors stomping around at all hours of the night, or the fact that I worked later hours and could never find a parking spot when I came home from work, everything about our apartment that used to just be a minor annoyance seemed like the end of the world.  Nothing will make you hate living in a tiny apartment more than waiting to move into your new, beautiful house.  The day we moved was exhausting, as moving always is, and joyous at the same time.

Now, my wife and I are happy to call ourselves homeowners.  We no longer live in a dark, dungeon-like apartment, we live in a house.  It is our house, and it is indeed a very, very, very fine house.  We may have only one cat, and he never goes out into the yard, but we are truly happy.

Mother

For many people, today will be a happy day bringing gifts to their mothers, perhaps taking them out to eat, or just finding some time to spend with one of the people they love most in the world.  I wish all of you a very happy Mother’s Day.  Mother’s Day for me, however, will always be a day that let’s dark and bitter memories rise to the front of my mind.  You see, I have not spoken to mother in nearly twenty years.  That may seem harsh to some people, but I assure you I have my reasons.  Please allow me to explain.

When I was in my preteen years, my parents got divorced.  Their divorce was not a smooth one.  In fact, I’m pretty certain that my parents hated each other by the time their divorce was finalized.  They may even hate each other now, we don’t discuss that time period much in my family.  One thing I do remember vividly is how often my parents would argue with each other, and how intense those arguments could get.  As is the case with most divorces, my mother was given custody of my sister and I, while my father fought just to get visitation rights.  I don’t have a lot of memories of my childhood, perhaps because I have chosen to bury those memories in my mind, but I do remember that my mother gaining custody of us was the beginning of what would perhaps be the worst time period of my entire life.

The first thing I remember my mother doing after gaining custody of my sister and I was moving us to a completely different town, leaving behind our friends, family, and most importantly, our father.  I remember we moved in with a man that my mother was dating, who looked remarkably similar to the singer Rick Springfield.  I don’t remember the man’s name, but I do remember that I did not like him at all.  When I was a very young child, the tendons in one of my legs were not growing properly.  I had an operation on the leg to fix the problem, I still have the scar on my ankle to prove it, but it took me a long time to recover from the operation. I spent a few weeks in a full body cast as a child, which I’m sure must have been unpleasant even though I don’t remember any of that time.  For many years after the tendon problem, and operation, I would occasionally find myself walking on my toes instead of walking properly on my feet purely out of habit.  I was so used to walking in this manner, that it took me a long time to break the habit and walk on my feet normally.  My mother’s boyfriend could not accept my ‘habit’ at all and would yell at me every time he caught me walking on my toes.  I tried to stop, but walking that way had become second nature to me, and I did it without realizing I was walking that way most of the time.  After a while, my mother’s boyfriend got so tired of seeing me walk that way that he decided to start spanking me with his belt whenever he caught me.  I do remember my mother trying to stop him from hitting me at least, but he was determined to break me of the habit.  Eventually, I was able to break the habit without his ‘encouragement’.

The next thing I can remember is that my mother, for reasons I cannot recall, decided she was going to move across the country with my sister and I because she had family out that way.  I don’t remember if she was still seeing the Rick Springfield lookalike at this time, perhaps they had broken up and that’s why she wanted to move.  As you can imagine,  the idea of my mother moving my sister and I across the country did not sit well with my father.  I believe it was against the custody agreement to take us out of state, but I’m not entirely sure.  My father decided to prevent the move by taking us away from my mother one day.  It was there at my father’s apartment that I experienced the single worst moment of my entire life that I will never forget as long as I am alive.  I remember clearly my mother standing in the doorway of my father’s apartment, because my father would not let her enter the apartment at all, screaming at him to give us back to her.  My father, also yelling as I recall, told her that she was not allowed to move us out of the state, and he would not let her take us away.  It was at that moment that my mother said the words that would haunt me to this day.

My mother told my father, point blank, that she just wanted to take my sister with her, and that my father could keep me.

That is the moment that the truth finally came out.  My mother didn’t want me.  My mother never wanted me.  My mother only cared about my sister, and never really cared about me much at all.

I hope with all my heart that anyone who reads this will never have to go through what I went through at that moment.  I’m not even sure I fully understood what she meant at the time she said those words, because I was so young.  Yet those words have haunted me for years.  My own mother, the woman who gave birth to me, did not want me.

When people tell you that everything you do and say has an effect on your children, I can tell you from personal experience that they are completely correct.  I am now, and have been since that day I believe, extremely afraid of rejection in any form.  Any time I feel any sort of rejection at all, whether it is real or just in my mind alone, I tend to fall into a depression.  This has affected my personal life in many different ways.  I have always had trouble talking to women because of my fear, which is no longer a concern thanks to my wonderful wife, and I have been afraid to face rejection with my writing as well.  You would not believe how long it took me just gather up the courage to finally start this blog, which is why I am very grateful to you for taking the time to read my words.  I don’t actually blame my mother for my fear of rejection though, I don’t want to be one of those types that blames their parents for all their woes.  Her rejection of me may be the cause of my fears, but it is up to me to overcome those fears, and I am working very hard to do so.

I didn’t break contact with my mother immediately after that day, that came years later when I became old enough to realize what my mother had done to me.  My mother has made attempts to talk to me on occasion, but I no longer want to have anything to do with her.  I don’t hate my mother now, though I did for a very long time.  Now, I have accepted the fact that I don’t need her in my life, and I am happy without her in it.  My mother did not want me as a child, and I have no need for her as an adult.  In fact, I didn’t even invite my mother to my wedding, and my wife has never actually met my mother either, and I have no desire to change that fact.

I hope that after reading this, you will think about your relationship with your own mother.  I hope that you have a wonderful relationship with your mother and that you are very happy to have her around.  If, like me, you do not have a relationship with your own mother, I hope that you will read my story and know that you are not alone.

Happy Mother’s Day to those that are celebrating today.

Dedicated To My Uncle Lenny

I told my cousin that I was going to write this post many months ago.  I guess it’s about time for me to actually write it then, even though it’s the hardest post I’ve tried to write yet.

I don’t have a lot of memories from my childhood, which I believe is because I have blocked them out of my mind.  I won’t discuss the reasons behind my memory blocks in this post, that will be a post for another day.  This post is about the fond memories that I do have about my Uncle Lenny, and the strange impact his death had on me.

My Uncle Lenny was one of the most interesting and fascinating men that I knew when I was a child.  Uncle Lenny seemed like a very busy man to me when I was young because he had a lot of hobbies as I recall.  One of Uncle Lenny’s favorite hobbies that I can remember was ice racing.  My uncle owned a car, which he may have built himself, or had at least modified, specially suited for racing on a frozen lake bed.  The car had chains on its tires and a painting of Snoopy in his pilot costume on the side of the door.  I remember going to the races and cheering my uncle on as he raced.  I’m sure I often froze my buns off, but I remember the races fondly.  In a related hobby, my uncle also owned a kit car that I think he built himself  in his spare time, or he may have had it built for him, I’m not quite sure.  I remember the car was a beautiful blue sports car, though I don’t remember the make or model, that sat very close to the ground.  I thought that car was the coolest vehicle of all time when I was a kid.

Beyond cars, I remember my Uncle Lenny owned his own telescope.  Uncle Lenny loved taking me and my cousin and sister out to his back yard and showing us the stars in the night sky.  Uncle Lenny was the man who introduced me to all of my favorite constellations in the sky as well.  I owe a large part of my love of space to my uncle.  Perhaps I should buy my own telescope to relive those wonderful memories one of these days.

Uncle Lenny had a great sense of humor and a wild imagination too.  My father told me a story once that my Uncle Lenny once spent an afternoon around the holiday times sitting in front of his Christmas Tree, concentrating on moving the tree with his mind.  The funniest part of the story is that at one point, my uncle actually believed he had managed to move the tree a couple of inches using telekinesis.  My father told me that my uncle was so excited by the accomplishment, he had to tell everyone.  My uncle was so proud of his accomplishment, even if nobody, my father included, would believe him.

My Uncle Lenny was great, and I loved him very much.  That’s why my reaction to his death has always confused me, and still confounds me to this day.  Let me try to explain how I felt, and hopefully you will understand.

Uncle Lenny died when I was thirteen years old of a massive heart attack.  My uncle was somewhere near my current age when he died, that’s one of the reasons I’m trying to lose so much weight now.  I remember the day I found out my uncle had died very clearly.  I had walked into the house after hanging out with my friends to find my cousin and sister sitting at the kitchen table.  They were both very upset and crying ,  it was instantly obvious that something terrible had happened. I asked what had happened, and my cousin told me that her father, my Uncle Lenny, had died earlier that day.

The death of  a relative, particularly one as close as my Uncle Lenny was, is a tragic and painful experience that we all must deal with at some point in our lives. Everyone deals with that loss in a different way, but generally it is met with grief and sadness.  When my cousin gave me the news about the death of my uncle, I don’t know how my outward appearance must have seemed to my cousin and sister, I just remember how I felt inside.  I remember thinking, oh, that’s too bad, as if I had just learned about the death of a stranger that I had never met before, or someone’s pet that I had only heard them talk about.  I felt no immediate grief, sadness, or even loss.  I can’t even say I felt numb or surreal at all.  At that moment, it was as if my mind didn’t even register what was really going on.  To this day I don’t understand why I felt that way, and I still feel bad that I wasn’t immediately distraught or even mildly saddened by my uncle’s death.  The days leading up to my uncle’s funeral did nothing to change my feelings.  I wanted so very badly to feel grief at my uncle’s passing, I just didn’t.

I remember very well the day of my uncle’s funeral, I recall it raining that  day.  The moment that stands out the strongest for me is my family and I waiting inside the entrance of the church that held the funeral services.  I stood there next to my father and watched as the rest of my family filed into the church, each face soaked with a sad combination of tears and rain, still wishing I could share their grief.  It wasn’t until I saw my aunt and cousin exit their car and approach the church that something changed.  I can’t say for certain what had happened in my mind at that moment, all I can say is that when I saw my aunt and cousin walking in, seeing them crying and distraught hit me so hard that it caused me to instantly break down and release all the tears and grief that had been missing from the previous days all at once.  I felt as though someone had punched me so hard that the pain reached my very soul.  There are only a few times in my life that I have cried as hard as I did at that moment.  I still get a bit teary eyed when I think about that moment.  In fact, my eyes are watering a bit as I type this.

After that moment, I was able to feel the full grief of my uncle’s death.  Oddly enough, I am grateful that the grief did at last come.  I have not had such an odd reaction to a family member’s death since my uncle died, and I hope to never feel that way again.  I think missing the grief immediately, then feeling a few days worth of grief all at once, is without doubt one of the most horrible feelings I have experienced in my whole life.  At times, I have felt guilty about my initial lack of grief.  When I feel the guilt, I remember how much pain I felt when I saw my aunt and cousin at the funeral, and I realize that the grief did come, it just took some time

 I have often thought about how my life, and the lives of my family would be different now if  Uncle Lenny were still alive.  I love my Uncle Lenny, and I miss him very much. Sharing all of this with you is my way of honoring the memory of my uncle, and I thank you for reading this important posting.

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