Less than a year after I moved to Atlanta, Uncle Steve got sick. He didn't go to the doctor, and because he was in a wheelchair, he couldn't cough effectively enough and ended up with pneumonia. He was hospitalized and put on a ventilator. My Uncle Wally went to be with him and I wrote a letter telling him I loved him and how I would be coming to visit him soon. I told him I was doing good and was glad I moved to Atlanta. I told him I had recently had pneumonia too and hoped he started to fell better soon. My Uncle Wally called to tell me that he read him the letter and Uncle Steve had tears in his eyes. I knew he loved me. He was the only person that had consistently shown me love as a child. The only person I had that was still here. I had my Uncle Wally, but Uncle Wally didn't know about the Boxcar Children, or Bird Bird. He didn't eat flies and he never watched me tap dance.
The idea of him dying was not even a possibility in my mind. Three days later, he was gone. He knew when Uncle Wally read him the letter that he was going to die. He made the decision for them to take him off the ventilator. It has taken me a long long time to stop being angry at him for that decision. For years I kept dwelling on the fact that he could have gotten better if he had just waited and let the doctors care for him. I cried when I first found out, but the heart ache of this loss is not something I felt right away. The hurt came later. It came on slow and built up the way a fire does. Years passed before I realized my loss had turned into an inferno. I used drugs to ease the burn. Still this fire is not out. It's smoldering and I'm not sure if it will ever be distinguished. I miss him. I will always miss him.