You Have to Say Goodbye


My aunt is getting divorced.

My uncle is leaving us.

He’s known us practically our whole lives, knows one of my sisters since she was 1 year old, was a major father figure for another, and still hasn’t even met the last.

He left without saying goodbye.

I’m typing this post while slightly disoriented at 4:14 a.m. because I’ve just woken up from a dream about him. While other things happened in the dream (like me getting fat and realizing I’m pregnant, and trying to fight off vampires on the way to the drug store to buy a pregnancy test), this is what stuck with me the most.

My uncle had come to say goodbye. He had brought us all white flowers, all for the girls, me and my three sisters. He’d placed one in my youngest sister’s backpack, one on my middle sister’s dresser, and I didn’t see where he’d put one for the baby, but I just feel like he had.

Then he brought one for me.

It was a pretty little clear vase, full of bright green stalks, with tiny, shining flowers blossoming out from the top of the rim.

It was beautiful.

I tossed it on the bed before I left for the drug store.

But before I left, I had to talk to him.

We didn’t say much… or else I don’t remember the conversation. But I do remember my Aunt waltzing in, naked and exposed, showing off her brand new body (and her new personality), holding mother’s baby in her arms. And the look she gave to my uncle… there’s not even words to describe it. Well, maybe there are.

It was a look that said, “Ha. I’m better than you. You left me, but look how I’m doing now, you pathetic loser.”

Then she proceeded to regale me with stories about how she was dating some rich Cuban guy.

When he saw her, my uncle looked at me with his own look, one that said, Really? Since we were all giving each other looks instead of talking (perhaps because this was all going down inside my own brain and I already knew what everyone was going to say, making the need for conversation moot), I gave him one saying, Don’t even mind her. And we smiled at each other, and went our own ways.

Off to fight vampires and discover a possible pregnancy.

I haven’t thought about my uncle in weeks. I don’t approve of what he did, or how he did it; and, he was quite the annoying character. He had such a personality. But, he was a huge part of my life for such a long time. He took me to and from school, down to Universal Studios, out to the movies and lunch. He was the first person to reach out to TM and invite him to be part of the family, even before my own flesh and blood. He always bought us the best Christmas presents. He was the first person to say congratulations on my engagement, and to give us money to start saving up. $35.

He has to say goodbye.

I have to say goodbye.

If he’s not going to be a part of our lives any longer, then I have to say thank you, but most importantly, goodbye.

I don’t want either of us going the rest of our lives wondering, “What ever happened to…?”

So we’ll say our farewells, and wish each other the best. And maybe instead, one day we can smile about each other and remember.


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