My Uncle Bill | Teen Ink

My Uncle Bill

December 11, 2007
By Anonymous

My mom was the older of two children, the younger being my Uncle Bill. They were very close as children and as a result, he was an active part of my life from the beginning. The month I was born, my Uncle wrote my mom a letter from jail telling her that he had tested positive for AIDS due to his drug abuse. He was in and out of our house until he died when I was five years old. As a child, I did not understand why he was so sick or why he had to come and live with us. All I knew was that he was the greatest person to ever walk the face of the earth. He would play with me for hours on end and I still can vividly remember his laugh. One day, about a year before he died, I clearly remember him telling me to never make the same mistakes he did. He said that I had my whole life ahead of me and he knew that I would become something great and that I would make him proud. I had no idea what he was talking about at the time but I just said ok. As I grew up, I saw my mom struggle with the grief of his death. I saw her relationship with my grandmother dwindle as the blame for his death hung over the two of them. I heard stories of how he was in and out of jail, dishonest, and unreliable; the image of my hero was dwindling and I was not sure what to think of it. One day my mom and I went to visit his grave and I told her what he had once said to me. My mom told me how proud my uncle was of me even when I was little. She said that despite all his down falls, he loved me very much and believed in me with his all his heart. It was then that I started to understand what his command to me had meant. As I grew up and began to be faced with decisions, I always had him in the back of my mind. I saw the effects of the bad choices he had made, not only on his life but on his family's as well. I knew that I could never put my mom and dad through the pain he had put my mom and grandmother through. As a result, I was never tempted to go to parties, drink excessively, or do drugs; I steered clear of those people and those activities. I have had a fulfilling four years of high school and I did it without the drugs and the alcohol. My Uncle Bill instilled in me a desire to succeed and to not compromise my future or myself. It is because of him that I will graduate from Greater Atlanta Christian School with over a 4.0 and not a mark on my discipline record. It is because of his one statement to me thirteen years ago that I am where I am today with no regrets.

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