I had a sad dream last night in which one of my uncles died.  When I woke up and remembered that he was still alive, I was very glad!  The kind of glad that makes you want to call everyone you care about and tell them you love them.   Instead of actually calling anyone, I just want to say that I am very grateful for this online community.  I really appreciate you all.  Sincerely.

Then I remembered that a different uncle died last week.   This one doesn’t deserve the title ‘uncle’, so from now on he will be called Greasy.

My first memories of him include fear.  As a toddler, I was afraid of him.  I tried to avoid him whenever possible.  Even remembering this brings back the feeling of a sunny day suddenly turned grey and chilling.

I’m sure he had redeeming qualities.  I just never knew him.  I look back on his life and see how he hurt my aunt and my cousin and I know that colours how I think of him.  If I had seen him in any context other than trying to control or belittle them, I probably could see his humanity and mourn the loss of it.  For now, I just mourn his poor choices and am unaware of his good ones.

The last time I saw him was a few years ago.  Instead of a toddler’s panic I felt sadness and a bit of disgust.  He verbally abused my aunt and limped around as if he was a bantam cock instead of a man artificially old from too much smoking and drinking.

I’m glad he is gone.  I am sorry I feel that way, but I do.  I’m relieved I will never have to see him again and I hope my aunt will finally be free of whatever hold he seemed to have over her.

Farewell, Greasy.  I hope those you’ve left behind will be better for it.

14 thoughts on “Farewell

  1. Ahab says:

    I hope Greasy’s family is healing from his verbal abuse and domineering personality. I wonder if he realized that he would be remembered with disgust.

    On a related note, one of my pet cockatiels died over the weekend. She was an elderly bird, so I knew this day was coming, but I still miss her. The finality of death and the fragility of life have been on my mind because of this.

  2. Donna Banta says:

    It can be a conflicting thing when somebody like Greasy dies. I hope you and your family, especially your aunt, can move on and enjoy life without him.

    Ahab, I’m so sorry! Cockatiels are such loyal pets, I’m sure you do miss her. I have dreams about our recently deceased dog, and they give me comfort. (She is always happy in them.) All pets deserve to go to “heaven.”

    Sending cyber-hugs to both of you.

  3. Ahab says:

    Donna — Thank you.

  4. Jon says:

    I have been lucky. Only the people I miss come back to visit in my dreams. Sometimes my animals come back, too. It’s very comforting of my subconscious.

    • prairienymph says:

      Ahab and Donna, I am also sorry for your losses. Cockatiels seem genuinely friendly. Cyber-hugs.

      Greasy did do us the favour of living for the past 20 years with a woman we never met. I think part of the hold he had on my aunt, who continued to take care of him in many ways, was church teachings. She believed that divorce was wrong no matter what. Even though other church people divorced and remarried, she was faithful to her vows. I hope she can finally see herself free both from his verbal abuse and from the church expectations of marriage.

    • prairienymph says:

      🙂 I’m glad you have a comforting subconscious. Very thoughtful of it.

  5. jen says:

    I find your honesty about feeling glad he is gone refreshing. I feel so much fear at expressing thoughts like these…

    I hope your aunt is finally free, and she doesn’t continue to hold herself prisoner…

  6. beenthere says:

    sounds like you had issues with greasy. I have had some too. Forgiveness is for ourselves, not for anyone else. If you don’t forgive and let go, you will always feel greasy fingers on you.

    • prairienymph says:

      Hi beenthere. I have let go, thank-you. I do not wish him harm; I would never wish any sort of hell or torment on him, but I will also never say that what he did was ok. It was not. He did horrible things and that is just fact. Stating that does not give him a hold on me. Quite the opposite.
      Forgiveness is a word that has been used to silence the abused and let the abusers continue. Because of the history of that word, I do not use it frequently. If it helps you, that is great! Just remember that while your methods of dealing with things may work for you, they may not necessarily work for everyone. Take care.

      • beenthere says:

        As I mentioned, forgiveness is something we do for ourselves, not for the abuser. I don’t believe forgiveness silences anything. I talk about my experiences all the time, as sharing my experiences has many times opened a closed door that allows others to share theirs. Perhaps “forgiveness” to some, means forgive and forget, but that is cliche, not truth, and to try to do it, doesn’t work. I guess that I agree that the word has itself has been abused. Forgiveness, though, as a personal experience, is a beautiful and healing thing.
        I found that though I had let go, there was an outrage at the injustice I saw around me, that had a negative effect on those close to me, and definitely on those on the receiving end. I realized, though maybe too late for somethings, that it was just a transference of the personal outrage I felt at my victimization. I still am able to share and act against injustice, but the outrage and damage it causes is gone. I am more effective in my focus, and I am walking into peace. I am learning what loving is really about. I am finding things(strong impulses) that were attached to my victimization have eased. As you say, it may not necessarily work for everyone, but I’ve seen so many it does work for. I really appreciate your blog, and the questions it raises. Your breastfeeding portrait is very beautiful.

      • prairienymph says:

        Thank-you for the compliment on the painting.
        I do not wish to discuss your use of the word forgiveness. I am glad you are working through that in your own way and appreciate you sharing your story.

        You assumed that I still have issues with Greasy and insinuated that I needed to forgive and let go. You have no right to make a judgement like that in the way you did. If you are worried that I am not at peace about something, you can ask me. My comment was to let you know that I am fine and your assessment was wrong. You are more than welcome to share your own experiences however.

  7. beenthere says:

    I agree about ending our dialog. My defensiveness has already caused me to share more of my personal life than I am comfortable with. I am not worried that you are not at peace; maybe I just have less than I thought, or I would not have overreacted. As a member of the older generation I appreciate your courage in sharing your life openly. Better for me to stay a reader.

    • prairienymph says:

      I was defensive as well. The comment about not discussing the definition of forgiveness was just because I thought you did a good job and I had nothing to add. Also, my reaction was not to your definition of forgiveness but to the way you worded your concern about me not having let go of Greasy. Part of the way you wrote actually reminded me of my mother (whom I respect, but we often ‘discuss’ things a little combatively) and so I reacted to that as well.
      I do appreciate your comments and your courage in sharing a little of your story. I feel like I am still learning proper social etiquette and have not found the balance between being nice and being too nice so I apologize if I was rude.

  8. beenthere says:

    Just got back from a trip. You were not rude. I value your right to work through your own experiences. Everyone has to, and mine don’t necessarily work for someone else. I just thought it better to read and learn more from your blog and the various sites linked to it, thus my comment about ending our dialog. I appreciate the discussions and will comment again at some point. I believe in a spiritual life as well as an observable one, and so appreciate all the points of view expressed.

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