8.02.2011

Wake Up

My mom had a brother named John, we called him Johnny.
He was sick a lot, there were some things wrong with him and he was also a short but rotund man. But he was Uncle Johnny. He died when I was 3ish.
The story goes that he slept a lot, because of the decreased amount of oxygen he was receiving. Whenever we would go over to the farm house and he was there he would be sleeping on the sofa.
I would take it upon myself to climb up his belly and pat him on the face telling him I had arrived and it was time to wake up and play with me. He would wake up and I would continue to climb all over him.

When he died I hear I was told that he fell asleep and woke up in heaven with Jesus. He would stay there forever. So when we went to his funeral and I saw him laying in his casket I believed he was asleep. There were also those little Catholic kneeling things in front of his casket.
So when I was unattended I wandered over to the casket and climbed up the "steps" and looked at him.
Yep, he looked asleep.
So I kept climbing and crawled into the casket and up his belly until I could reach his face. I put my hands on his face and I said, "Wake up Uncle Johnny, I'm here! It's time to get up and play with me!"

I don't know what happened next, that part of the story was never told. I can imagine that my Grandma, his mom was pretty upset as were a lot of the other adults. He was pretty young when he died.

I do remember asking my Grandma about it when I was 16. I was trying to find out more about Uncle Johnny and what he was like, since I didn't remember him that well. I only really remembered how I felt when I was around him. After a little bit of small talk I asked her if the funeral story was true.
She stopped talking for a moment and just looked at me with hard little eyes. Then she said, "Yes. I can't believe what a selfish and cruel girl you were to do that to me at my sons funeral. I will NEVER EVER forgive you for what you did."

As all memories and stories go I remember more about how I felt during each part of the story than the specifics. The story had been told and re-told so often that I honestly wasn't sure if it even happened. That's why these are memories, that are probably only partly true. But I remember the shame I felt. Because I believed her when she said I was selfish and cruel, I believed her when she said I was bad.
I believe that she never forgave me until the day she died. There was no reason to doubt a woman that held a grudge for over 70 years couldn't nurse one for over 15.

2 comments:

Courtney said...

You did it out of love. You loved him and wanted to play with him, which is the biggest thing a child can give. :hug: (I am so sorry she couldn't see that.)

jake said...

I love you.