I have been to two funerals in my life. Both of them for people I hardly knew. My grandfather on my mother's side, who was abusive to his immediate family and intimidating and scary to me (my only memory of him from when I must have been 4 or 5 is a big man cloaked in shadows with my uncle Bill trailing behind him as he walks by me playing in the kitchen and disappearing down the stairs). My aunt's husband who was kind, but my mom disliked her sister and we never really saw them much.

To think of it, they both died in cars. Not in car accidents, specifically, but at lights. I think my grandfather was in a car with my uncle Bill and had a heart attack while driving, and they might have been in a crash. My aunt's husband was at a stoplight and had a stroke or heart attack of some kind.

I've always been kind of removed, you know? It's an uncomfortable feeling. You don't even know what you're feeling, or what you're supposed to feel.

Then one of my friends' friends died. I knew him a little, mainly from playing cards in the library once with everyone. What was I supposed to say? Feel? I felt scared, lost... I think I cried a little but I didn't know if I was supposed to cry if I'd never really, truly known him.

I've got a lot of uncles. Not all of them are really uncles. More like good friends of the family. I think we've got three or four. We had three or four. One of them got pushed out of the circle by my mother.

One of them, my Uncle Ken, came from England. Has such a heavy English accent that half the time I can't even understand what he's saying.

He was lying on the floor of his apartment for three days, unable to move. The Superintendent found him and called 911 today. He was sent to Mac and then his condition deteriorated and now he's heavily assisted by a breathing machine.

His son can't fly over till the 22nd. That's 19 days away. I don't think anyone believes he'll survive that long.

I wasn't ever really close to my uncle Ken. Or, perhaps I was when I was young, but not anymore. I remember once he got me a doll from England with wide eyes that blinked and moved depending on how you tilted the head. I believe that doll gave me nightmares. He also often brought back small double-decker buses painted red with real advertisements around them.

We invited him over every Boxing Day, Christmas, and Christmas Eve, and we took him with us for Thanksgiving. He was invited over at other times too. But he was always a step removed from everything, and I wanted to include him but couldn't understand him with his accent, so I'd just make it worse.

He was kind though. Always kind.

I don't really know how to feel.


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