Dear Uncle Davis

2 Dec

Uncle Davis,

I have been trying for a week now to write a letter to you, and I just haven’t been able to do it.  But I think I’ve got it now. I miss you.  I miss you a lot.  I just…I want you to be here for Christmas, my birthday, the new year…I wanted you to see me make a life for myself — I’ll be a great photojournalist one day, and I’ll shoot those things you and I both love.  We’d have got along great, you know.  We liked the same things, and if I’d had time to grow out of my awkward young adulthood and had time to embrace you as someone I really loved and admired — like when I was young, before I knew what awkwardness was — we’d have been great friends. I want to be mad at you, Davis.  I want to scream, “How could you? How could you? How could you?” Your dad is barely over his pneumonia — he’s in rehab, and you were taking care of him.  Your siblings are now dealing with him, alone.  My mother now has to take over all the shit you were doing for Granddaddy — the bills, paperwork, that sort of thing.  I think it’s good for her, considering.  She’d be a wreck if it weren’t for that paperwork, but she shouldn’t have to take it over.  And, I mean, you know better than anyone what it’s like to lose a close relative.  You (and my mother and my other uncle) lost your mother so young and then your youngest brother.  And I’m guessing it hurt like a bitch.  And now you’re putting your father and siblings through that terrible pain yet again.  I want to say I don’t understand, I want to scream in anger. But I can’t be mad at you.  I understand that there must have been deep and immense pain that consumed you.  I wish you could have gone to someone, told them you needed help.  I wish you could have poured your soul out to someone, and I wish it would have lifted some pain. And — you know what — there is one thing I can be mad about.  Why did you have to do it during the holiday season?  Thanksgiving was tainted — what did we have to be thankful for?  We could see nothing through your death.  And we’ll have a blue, blue, blue, blue, blue Christmas without you.  We can’t even begin to move on properly until January because your wife — bless her heart — doesn’t want to put any more pain in the holiday season than is necessary. I love you, and I miss you.  For the first time in my life I want there to be some sort of afterlife that you are happy and safe in.  I want you to be able to read these words to you and understand how much I and everyone else loves you.  I hope that you are safe and happy wherever you are (my philosophical teachings tell me you are nowhere except a pile of ashes held by your wife — and I am trying so hard not to believe it).  I hope the pain has gone away, and more than anything else I hope your method was too quick for you to ask yourself, “What have I just done?”

With all the love I never expressed in life,



One Response to “Dear Uncle Davis”

  1. Nadia Elpis December 2, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    Dear Rachel,

    What you say here is so true… so damn true. Today is the 4th anniversary of the day when my husband’s best friend committed suicide. The death of this man, young and from any angle very promising, was a shock, a huge personal tragedy that left so many mixed emotions and unanswered questions.
    I am a freelance photographer and I’ve started out purely as a photojournalist. The suicide attempt and the life after became the major line in my project “Attempters”.
    I wish you a lot of courage and best of luck,
    Nadia Elpis

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