mash: introspection / mental health
Dear Uncle V.,
Suicide isn’t a fun, hip subject. It isn’t light dinner conversation. It’s something we deal with privately, and talk about in hushed tones. Sometimes, we don’t talk about it at all.
But I want to talk about it. I want to talk about you Uncle V. I barely got to know you, but I miss you. I miss not knowing you.
My father never talks about you. Ever. Someone has to bring your name up, and then he just looks away. He loved you deeply. He loved you more than you know. There was plenty of people that needed or wanted help from him at one time or another. They wanted the American dream, and just needed some place to stay while they ‘got on their feet’. But Dad said no to all of them–all except you and your family. You know why he let you come live with us Uncle V.? Because he loved you. He enjoyed being around you. You brought out a twinkle of mischief in his eyes.
In fact, it seems that you brought that out in a lot of people. Auntie V. was normally so quiet and sedate, except when you were around. She’d roar with gut busting laughter at your antics. And why not? You were hilarious. And your son and daughter? Well they never felt safer than when they were with their father. You were, after all, boxing champion back home. And me? I was just proud to say you were my uncle.
You taught me about where my family is from. I remember sitting in the kitchen, eyes full of tears, as you taught me how to make homemade authentic caribbean pepper sauce. We bottled it in mason jars so that it could last forever.
We still had a few jars left when we got that call from the island. You’d gone back home. Your kids and Auntie V. had stayed. I was too young to realize what that meant. Now I’m too old to blame anyone. People split up. People also turn to alcohol to dull the pain of life. And when that doesn’t work, sometimes they silence the pain permanently.
Because he loved you. He enjoyed being around you. You brought out a twinkle of mischief in his eyes.
How I wish I could have you here right now. Dad is getting older, and he misses his younger brother. A few weeks ago Auntie V. passed away. Now your children have neither parent. And I just miss all the things I could have said to my very coolest uncle.
I’m not going to act like you were never a part of my life. And I’m not going to act like you didn’t commit suicide. I’m going to speak on it. I’m going to own it, because the whole experience of you in my life has affected me. I missed you. You’re loved, dear Uncle V.
Your Loving Niece, Mrs. M.U
Be sure to check out series writer for That’s Mashed Up, The Chick’s Letter to Depressed Souls that was inspired by Robin William’s recent suicide.