Friday, February 4, 2011

My Nehpew

The assignment this week from The Red Dress Club:

The requirement for this particular one is a character MUST tell a joke and a character MUST cry. One character can do both.

It can be fiction or non-fiction, you can follow the same rules - no more than 600 words, 3 minutes read aloud - and write about a time of laughter mixed with tears.


He was seventeen.  That summer, the doctors were treating him for mono.  In September, right before he turned eighteen, he was in the hospital with Hodgkins Lymphoma.  He was in stage B.

The news hit the entire family hard.  It hit his parents the hardest.  Each time they were around him, they cried.  The tears could not be held back no matter how hard they tried.  After several surgeries and in between chemo treatments, he was allowed to "go home."   Most of the time, that was on weekends.

I was his favorite Aunt.  He and I always had a unique relationship.  He didn't want to be around his parents.  Not because they didn't love him.  It was because they cried.  That made him sad.  So, he came to my apartment.  I was glad.  He and I laughed a lot.  I was going through my divorce and he helped fix a few things around the apartment.
His parents liked the idea too.  It gave them all a break from the tears and silence. 

I picked him up from the hospital that Friday night after I got out of work and we headed to the apartment.  He wanted to drive.  I let him.  He needed to "feel"  that he wasn't dying.  He hated that everyone treated him as if he were dying.  He couldn't wait to show me the staple stitches in his neck.  They were his most recent acquisition.

While I made supper for my son, daughter, Robert and myself, he wanted to hang out outside with the kids and their friends.  Before I knew it, it was time to eat.  Robert and the kids came in, washed up and took their places at the table.  We ate, laughed and he told us about some of the things that he'd gone through the past week.  He seemed to enjoy sharing his medical adventures.

After supper, they wanted to go outside again "just until it got dark."  Before heading out the door, they all hit the cookie jar.  When they got to the door, Robert said, "Aunt Janet, why did the cookie have to go to the doctor?"  I looked up at him and, as he put that big smile on his face, he said, "because it was feeling crummy!"
The kids all laughed.  Oh, I laughed too.  But, before I knew it, tears filled my eyes and I lost it.  I loved him so.  He was so full of energy and life. 


  1. What an awesome relationship. I have an aunt that is very dear to me as well, and I can't tell you how much relationships like that mean to a kid. I love that you were the one person he felt he could be genuine with. Nice writing :-)

  2. This is such a sweet story, JP. I'm so glad your nephew had a special place to go where he could just be a normal teenager. :)

  3. Well, that brought tears to my eyes too.

    I am sure glad he had you and your kids to make him feel normal.

  4. touching story, thanks for sharing, you know i liked the crummy joke. you were blessed and so was he

  5. Yes, you have the warm moments of memory ~ he is with you still 'in spirit' ~ Write more about him ~ even perhaps write him a letter filled with your love ~ He is 'watching over you' ~ 'wherever' that place is ~ know that he is close by ~ wonderful writing ~ hugs and namaste, cz:)

  6. Oh how sweet - and sad. And so touching. Why God takes these souls so early, I'll never understand...

  7. What a tremendous honour to have such a loving and knowing connection with a person who is facing death. Fills my heart with remembrance of the preciousness of life today.

  8. I'm crying reading this. He is so full of life even in the midst of his pain.

  9. So sweet and what a gift for him to just feel normal. Beautiful post.

  10. Oh my gosh - I cried - what a beautiful story. How is your nephew now?
    The joke is my grnadson's favorite.

  11. He is written so strong, brave, full of life, emotionally aware and smart, what a celebration of his person. I loved that he liked to/was able to tell you his medical adventures and that even the joke was a medical one. Nicely done!

  12. Beautiful! One of the hardest losses for me was my Aunt Mona. I had a very special relationship with her.

    This was beautifully written, but the formatting bothered me. Most writing like this is not centered. I did not like how lines were broken up to meet the formatting. Broke my concentration...

  13. Oh what a wonderful story. Sad, of course, but so well-written and the love was so apparent. What a beautiful young man! And don't even get me started on his Auntie. Awesome. I'm crying but I'm happy to have read this touching piece. Thank you.

  14. Great post. I can't help but admire his poise and maturity in such a difficult situation.

  15. Aww. beautiful story. Sad but beautiful.

  16. He sounds like he was a really tremendous young man. I am glad you were a comfort zone for him.


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