I believe in letting go.

Anna - Hurricane, West Virginia
Entered on May 3, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Letting it All Out

I believe in letting it all out, so I can finally begin to heal.

In February of 2001, my life changed forever. I was 11 years old and just starting out my second semester of fifth grade. One Saturday night, I was sitting in the living room with my mom, grandma, and grandpa, when the phone rang. Grandma answered the phone. It was my Aunt Tina. “Ernie’s been shot, we’re on our way to the hospital.”

Ernie was my uncle, my best friend and next to my grandpa, the closest thing I had to a dad while I was growing up. He was the kind of guy you could just tell everything to and no matter how bad things were, his goofy sense of humor would cheer you up.

That one simple phone call started to turn everyone in the room to a bunch of hand wringing people with many questions on their minds. Who shot him? Is he OK? Why haven’t they called yet?

Then finally the phone rang again and Grandma ran to it. The next few moments of my life are a blur. I can remember a horrible, heartbreaking sound. My grandma’s scream. “My baby, my baby,” she said between her sobs. I remember Grandpa taking the phone and talking, but I don’t remember what he said. I just sat there staring at what was happening, wondering why they were screaming and crying. Then it hit me.

He’s dead.

My best friend, my uncle, the only one who could always make the world a happy place.

He’s gone.

I ran to the front porch. I couldn’t breath. My mom came and held me and we just sat there.

About a month after his death all the lies about who killed him stopped. Tina kept telling us it was a big “black” guy that chased him down and shot him for his wallet. I remember when the family came in for the funeral they kept all the kids locked in the house, afraid that the man had followed them. In truth, the killer had slept in our living room and stood next to me at the burial. See, after Tina and her family returned to Indiana, the man that was living with them, Damien Slaughter, confessed to murdering my uncle. It turns out that he was Tina’s lover and they had tried multiple times to rid themselves of my uncle so that they could collect the $50,000 life insurance that he had. After months of trials, they are now in prison.

It’s been almost seven years now. Most of the stuff I’ve written I’ve kept bottle in me for that long. I believe that I need to let go, to forgive, to forget, and just feel better about life. I will never forget my wonderful uncle, but I hope writing this will help the pain start to go away.