Letter to a dead aunt
November 2, 2009, 12:32 am
Filed under: literature, Mysteries | Tags:

Dear Aunt M,

I didn’t know you. I mean, I knew your face and name and that you were Mama’s sister and you knew my face and name and that I was her grand-son, but there wasn’t anything past that. I don’t know if you ever found out about how you died. It was on the news.

It was your husband, G. I don’t know why he did it, but the same string broke in him that broke in an unusual amount of men in that side of the family. One day, while you were in bed with your emphysema and Alzheimer’s he scooped you up in his arms and carried you outside into the summer twilight and laid you on the dark, warm lawn. Then he shot you. I don’t know why. I know that for more than fifty years he loved you more than anybody loved anything. So, it wasn’t the real him that did it. But, he shot you. Then he shot little J, y’all’s nine year old grandson. He was running and screaming like he does and G shot him. I’m sure he’s not so autistic in whatever place you are now, but I wouldn’t tell him what happened anyway. He doesn’t have to know these things until he’s older.

After G had done these things he sit down in a lawn chair beside were you were laying and shot himself in the heart. Then he dropped the gun and followed you two.

What most people still here said at the funerals was the worst part was that your daughter, D, saw it all. That’s how I know these things. She told S who told Mama who told my mother who told me while I drove her down to Norcross so she wouldn’t be alone that night.

I watched a reporter on TV stand in your backyard while I ate left-overs.

I’m sorry you were killed. I don’t know why it happened. I hope that were you are now you can breathe easily and that your short term memory has returned. And I hope you’re with G and that you can both see through the frail, mortal, misery that rotted out his heart for that one moment. The way Mama talks about you I know you couldn’t resent him.

You’re buried near R., who I called Granddaddy. If he’s there with you when you get this letter, please, tell him I love him. And that his wife, G, who I call Mama, didn’t break when he left. Tell him that she’s made of stronger stuff than stars, and that we all look up to her. And that when she leaves to be with y’all that it might be us that break.

With love, your grand-nephew,


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