Dear James (Uncle),
Let me begin by reassuring you that I do respect you although I could understand if you do not feel this is the case. Simply put, I have had difficulty calling you ‘Uncle’ given the proximity of our ages. You are like an older cousin to me rather than an uncle.
With that now said, I also respect that you are grieving the loss of your brother. Grief, I understand. I sure have experienced it more times than I care to remember. I can only imagine how much sadness is coursing through your being right now. To you, I am sorry you are feeling the pain of it.
It saddens me to know you are hurting. Although this is the case, I need to offer my condolences from afar, even after these months. I cannot bear to witness the pain in your eyes, not only for your grief but also for what I am about to say.
You see James, I do not share your grief. For me, I am numb of it. This is because your brother became non-existent to me a long time ago. Oh, how it feels so unpleasant remembering why this happened.
Even now, the mere thought of it starts a churning in my stomach along with disgust and loathing coursing through my veins. How could he have been so very different to you? To this day I still find that incredibly difficult to comprehend.
If only you knew how much I hated him so many years ago. And why. It was like a heavy weight had been surgically implanted into my being that made it terribly hard for me to move. I had to find a way to discard it, so I was could function and live my life. The only way I found at the time was to make him obsolete. I never considered the fact that at some point in the future he would die, and I would be reminded that he did once exist, and what he did, in fact had happened.
When I heard the news that he had died, my immediate emotion was relief. Even after all the years that he was nothing, nobody, not a part of my thoughts, I still felt a wave of immense relief. The thoughts and emotions that followed were sickening. I almost vomited as the memories rose from the very deep recesses of my mind. When I packed them there so long ago, I thought they would never be unveiled again.
Perhaps his early death is some form of justice having been served. I can only hope. Sadly though, the fallout, like always, affects his loved ones (and others), not him. Sure, he is not here, able to live; his life cut short. Also, he is not here to have sufferance upon him either. I am left with that, if I do not have enough resilience to close the door on this for once and for all.
So, James, as sorry as I am that you are hurting and in pain, I am not sorry his life was extinguished. Decades ago, I had wished for that. I wanted him dead. He didn’t deserve to go on as if nothing had ever happened at his hands. He was never made accountable. Got away with it.
I doubt I will ever see you again and I suspect this may be the last contact we have. This is the last I ever want to think about what your brother did.
I do love you James, I always have. You are so different to what he was.
Forever in my heart,
Your loving (niece) Laura xxx
Image credit: Felix Lichtenfeld
Further reading on grief: a non-fiction piece I wrote about grief I experienced last year in ‘A Loss Felt Hard‘