Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Uncle Steve (Ch. 40)

My Uncle Wally came and packed up my stuff and told me I was going with him to Atlanta, GA.  I didn't want to go.  I begged my Uncle Steve not to make me go.  I had only met my Uncle Wally a few times and had no idea what would be waiting for me in Georgia.  I was afraid to leave the only person that I knew loved me.  I had no choice in the matter, I had no where else to go.  

"Start putting your stuff in the car, we leave in 15 minutes."  It was too sudden, I wasn't prepared for this!  For the last few years I was the one that had decided what would happen to me and where I would go.  This control was what held me together.  The responsibility for my own well being is what I knew.  The helplessness I felt was enormous.

I put my things in the trunk and as I was walking back in the door I overheard my Uncle Steve say, "She is ruining her life... going to end up just like her mother.  She's out all night partying.  You have to get her out of here."  When I walked in they stopped talking and my Uncle Wally told me to say goodbye.  Uncle Steve had tears in his eyes and his mouth in a tight grim expression.  I ran to his chair and sat down in front of his legs.  "Please don't send me away, I'll do better," I cried.  He just shook his head and told me that he didn't know what to do.  I gave him a stiff hug and walked out the door angry at him.

I thought him sending me away meant that he didn't love me, but it was because of how much he loved me that he sent me away.  I wish I would have know that then.  I wish I would have hugged him one more time, kissed him and told him thank you.  I wish I would have told him how much I loved him.  Uncle Steve was the only family I had ever known all my life and leaving him that day felt like someone was taking the only love I had ever been given away.  Less than a year later, his love really was taken from me forever.  That was the last time I ever saw him alive.

Uncle Steve saved my life.  If it wasn't for him, my uncle Wally would have never came for me.  I would have never made anything of my life.  I would have never left there.  I would have been a high school drop out, pregnant at 17 and living off a government check for the rest of my life.  I might not have made it to 17.  I might have died while drunk driving and killed others too.  

Living on a reservation makes you blinded to things the world has to offer.  The government assistance Native Americans receive makes it easy to lose all ambition for bettering yourself.  With minds clouded with alcohol, each day is lived only for the present, because they can see nothing else.  This isn't true for everyone, but it is for the majority.  It took me 7 years to realize I wanted more out of life, but I would have never realized it if I were still on the reservation and he knew that.  He changed my life.  He gave me a real family.  Thank you Uncle Steve.  I love you.


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