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If you know me well, you know that it takes a long time for me to get through with a thing. And I do mean anything. Even candy. The reason is that I don't like to chew hard candy is that I don't want it on my teeth. Therefore, I basically hold it in my mouth until it dissolves. I know it sounds a little strange, but I've always done it. (By the way, I've never had a cavity, so my method isn't all bad.) But I digress...

I said all that to say this -- I am too through with my uncle. He recently passed away, and my mom, my other uncle, my cousin, and I went to pay our respects. While I recognize that his children and his wife haven't been especially close with all of us, I was completely unprepared for what I learned at the funeral. Apparently my uncle had created a world where he was the lone hero, and family that raised him was just plain evil. His son even went to far as to say that his father didn't grow up in a Christian household.

When he said that, my mouth dropped and the look of shock on my face probably said more than I could ever say. It was at that point that I realized that the distance between us and his family was more wide-reaching that geography could define. It also brought clarity to the fact that they've always disregarded us and acted like we were, well, heathens who didn't deserve to be around them. What was really painful to me was that it exposed the lies that my uncle had taught to his wife and his kids.

That's why his wife told my grandmother that her husband, "didn't have a family." My grandmother lit her up for that comment, but in retrospect, HE never said a word in his mother's defense. All those years, we thought his wife just didn't like us.

I actually confronted her about it. I asked her, point blank, what was REALLY going on. I wanted to understand why she felt like it was okay to be nasty with people that she barely knew. As she tried to defend herself, I hit her with, "Well, the bible says...," and she cut me off with, "Don't you bring the bible into this because you are far from the bible!"

It also explains a comment one of my cousins made. When his wife asked him why we didn't keep in better contact with us, he told her, "Daddy's family is difficult." I said, "We're not difficult. You just don't know us."

With my uncle's death comes the realization that he had absolutely no regard for his family of origin. At all. He didn't talk about us to them, and he actually taught them not to love us. To me, the killer of all this is that he was a preacher. How do you preach the word of God with that much unforgiveness in your heart?

As far as his wife is concerned, I don't really know how to think about her now. In retrospect, she was reacting to what her husband had told her. However, that doesn't excuse her blatant nastiness all these years. And the fact that they taught their children to basically hate us is inexcusable.

I guess the thing that bothers me the most is how awful this situation must be for my favorite uncle and my mother. As much as it hurt me to hear the lies about my grandmother, I can't begin to imagine how it felt for them to hear lies about their mother.

Honestly, I've turned this thing over and over in my head. On one hand, I think the whole situation needs to be explained and exposed. However, the only person who can really do that is dead. And on the other hand, I wonder if there's any point. After all, my cousins are all well into their 40s and 50s. What good would it do for them to know the truth about their dead father? Would help or hurt them to know that he lied to them about his mother and siblings? The last thing I want to do is add more grief on top of what they're already experiencing.

That's why I've decided that I'm through. I'm washing my hands of this entire situation. If someone ever asks me, I'll tell it. Otherwise, I'm just going to let them go along believing the lies that they were spoon-fed from childhood.


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