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He's Really Gone
Nov 12, 2002

He's really gone
Nov 11, 2002
Dealing with a tragic loss

Late one Tuesday evening, directly after a horrifying dinner in the cafeteria and during my bustle to get some homework done, I received a phone call from my mom. I thought it was one of those routine small-talk calls that college students usually get once a week from their parents. Because I didn't have much time to talk, I answered with a short and impatient tone.
With a struggling voice she replied, "I have something that I think you need to know. Your Uncle Deci was in a motorcycle accident tonight; a woman ran a red light and hit him with her car. He died at the hospital from internal bleeding." I found out later that night that not only had she hit him, but she had also run him over after she knocked him off of his motorcycle. Being the tough man he was, he had lived through the accident long enough to call his wife and children to tell them he loved them. He never saw them, though, because he died before they could get to the hospital.

Memories rushed through my head all at once. How could he be dead? I remember him vividly. He was a huge man, close to seven feet tall; he was so strong. Nothing could kill him. Even with that huge manly figure, he loved children. I remember how silly he was, and how he used to pick me up and hang me upside down by my feet. Recalling those fun memories of him caused me to break down. He was so loving; he did not deserve to die. He just could not be dead.

Throughout the week, I prepared to go to the funeral by finishing my homework and emailing my professors. I went about my life as if my Uncle had never died. I pretended like he was still living in some far away place where I couldn't see him anymore. On Friday, I traveled for two hours to El Dorado, Arkansas for his funeral. Everyone in the car was in high spirits, acting as if we were only going to a family reunion.

I have to admit that I really didn't believe he was dead until I saw that small casket being lowered into the ground. The reality of death hit me; a man was in that wooden box, and that man was my uncle. When I knew that he was not coming back, my real grieving process began. I began examining my life and his life.

I turned my thoughts to the man whom I had lost. Thinking about him made me realize how long it had been since I saw him, almost four years. I loved him, yet I never reached out to let him know that. Expecting that he would always be around, I took his life for granted. I left things unsaid. Because I was unprepared, his death was shocking. I can't say, "No, wait. Come back, Uncle Deci! I have some things I need to tell you." Rewind buttons don't exist in life.

During the funeral, I sat in the pew huddled close to my cousin Andrew, and I wondered exactly why I was grieving. Yes, my uncle was no longer with me, but why else was I grieving? While I was grieving that he died, I was also grieving over the fact that I don't want to die, and I certainly don't want to die the way that he died. It was about me, not him this time. My uncle's death also gave me the fear of being alone. I don't want everyone I love to die! His death was a trigger to the simple truth that some day my loved ones will die, and I will die too.

Also, I realized how much I really do take my own life for granted. I expect that I am going to wake up each morning. I look to the future without thought of accidents like the one that took my uncle's life so suddenly. While he was dying, I was complaining about how bad the cafeteria food was that night. I was too busy complaining to realize that life is a gift.

Two weeks later, I have accepted the fact that my uncle is dead, and I hope that some day I will see him again in heaven. However, his death has changed me causing me to realize many new things. Because I realized my selfish and neglectful attitudes, I can appreciate the time I have left in my life and appreciate my friends and loved ones while I have them here.

Lainey Moore North Little Rock, Arkansas
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