Narrative Essay About Death of Family Member

It’s safe to say that not everyone’s memory is perfect. We all forget things, like someone’s birthday or what our password for our phone is. Very normal, everyday stuff. In my life, I have experienced lots of forgetfulness. One of the biggest things in my life that seems to have been forgotten is my aunt.

My aunt, Stacy, was possibly one of the most wonderful people I knew (at least when I was a young child). She was smart, goofy, driven, and extremely kind. She had a sparkling personality and loved to wear bright colors and lots of sequins and glitter, so it was as if she was really wearing her heart on her sleeve. Though she was estranged from her given family due to reasons unknown, she devoted her life to having a strong family connection. She affected everyone around her. She looked up to my grandmother as a mother-figure since she didn’t have a great relationship with her biological mom. She had two sons, my cousins Jacob and Max, who she gave so much of her attention and love to. She and my mom would act like sisters everytime they were with each other, even though they sometimes didn’t see each other for months at a time because she lived in Florida while my parents lived in Vermont.

After I was born, Stacy and my mom’s bond got even stronger. Stacy had her two sons, but she always wanted a little girl, so once I was born she was able to live a life with a niece who she treated as a daughter. She and my mom would always go out shopping together, and she would constantly talk to my mom about how “gifted” she thought I was. She scheduled many visits so that we would all get together; sometimes in Florida, sometimes in Vermont.

It was about nine years ago when we first found out that she was diagnosed with a type of cancer called Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. My grandmother was visiting us in Vermont when we got a call that she was diagnosed. Around Christmas-time that same year, we went down to Florida to visit her and the rest of my family who lived there. She had just started Chemotherapy, and I remember being really confused when I walked in and she had no hair. It was weird seeing this strong woman I had known since I was born suddenly be so weak and yet so happy. We were visiting at that time to talk about her getting treatment in Dallas, Texas, but I didn’t know that until very recently. The following March, she officially began treatment in Dallas. The treatment was experimental, so no one knew if it was going to help her at all. In her case, the treatment didn’t help at all. By mid-April, the cancer had spread around her body, eventually making it to her brain. The doctors said that there was no treatment that would help her get better from this point, and that they would have to admit her to hospice. My mom rushed down to Florida as they transferred her to hospice, and she passed away just two days later.

After Stacy passed away, my uncle, Bennett, seemed to move on very quickly. He met his current wife, Katie, a few months after Stacy died, in July, and they were engaged after around four months, in November. They were then married the following August. The whole process seemed very sudden and fast to me, and still does to this day. It felt as though he never gave himself a chance to grieve before he moved on to someone new, and it still feels that way, at least to me. It felt as though he was pretending that over 15 years of his life never happened.

It has now been about seven and a half years since Stacy passed away. These days, my uncle and his new wife are tied up with raising three young girls. My uncle doesn’t pay much attention anymore to the needs of his two sons. One of his sons, Max, has Autism, and as soon as Stacy died, it seemed like he pushed Max away. Max started being raised by my grandparents for a while and is now in a career program where he isn't living in the best conditions. However, most of what I know of this scenario is coming from my grandmother, who likes to exaggerate what is happening, so maybe parts of this story aren’t entirely true. His other son, Jacob, acted as a nanny to his young siblings for many year and wouldn’t put his needs first. I’ve always wondered why Jacob let my uncle push him around so much since it’s really not Jacob’s job to be raising my young cousins. However, he did just start going to college for nursing this year, so I’m hoping that that will help him feel like he can make his own decisions.

One of the biggest factors of how things have been run in the Gordon family is my new aunt, Katie. She is a very strong-willed woman who doesn’t really like to let others make important choices. She convinced my uncle to have a child, who ended up being my cousin, Mira. They then adopted two more young girls, one from the Congo (Ellie) and one from China (Haley). My parents and I found it odd when they decided to adopt since it didn’t seem like they were in a place in their lives where they could raise more kids. Perhaps my uncle wanted to have daughters to somehow fulfill Stacy’s wish to raise little girls. Maybe that’s the last glimpse left of Stacy in my uncle’s life. I kind of hope that that’s the case. I’d like to imagine that he didn’t push her out of his mind completely, even if it’s not true.

I’ve always wondered why my uncle moved on so quickly. Maybe it’s because that was the only way to forget the traumatic experiences he went through in the last few months of Stacy’s life. Maybe his way of coping with his feelings is to push them away and forget about them. The latter seems to me as the reason for his actions, but of course I could never be one hundred percent sure of that. I hope that one day I can crack the case as to why everyone’s personalities and normal actions changed so much since Stacy’s death. I miss how close every part of the family was. I liked how often we would do visits, and how I felt like Max and Jacob were my older brothers. I know that those kinds of changes do come with ageing, but I do feel like some of this wasn’t caused by growing up.

I am definitely not the most religious person. I don’t go to my temple’s services every Saturday, and I don’t partake in Shabbat dinners on Friday nights. Regardless of this, sometimes I imagine some type of heaven for those who have passed to go to. As she’s up there in that hypothetical heaven, I wonder what my aunt might think when she looks down on Earth and sees the way things are now being run in the Gordon household. Is she proud? Is she discouraged? Is she ashamed? Maybe she feels forgotten. From the way I perceive my family’s actions, everyone in the Gordon household seems to pretend she never existed. No one, especially not my wonderful, kind, and brave aunt, deserves to be treated that way after death. No one deserves to disappear from people’s lives in an instant.


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