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.


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.)

Anonymous said...

I love you.