Reader Submission: Uncle 23

shadow person

“When I was about 7 years old, I had this uncle that I became super close with. His name was Uncle Jordan, but I would call him 23 (get it?). I was like ‘Hey Uncle 23.’ He was my favorite. I remember him always cheering me up when I was sad. I did not know that he had problems with his wife and his health.

My 8th birthday came, and I looked for him. Everyone was like ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KATE!’ but I wasn’t happy. I expected him to come, but my party ended and he never arrived. I was shocked when I saw him in my bedroom, smiling creepily with one hand in his pocket.

I talked to him. I said, ‘Why are you late? I haven’t seen you in the last few days.’ He said, ‘Well, Uncle 23 is busy right now. Happy Birthday.’ I hugged him and said thank you.

The next morning I woke up, but my uncle was nowhere around. I asked my parents if they’d seen Uncle 23, but they did not talk. I told them that he’d came by yesterday as he’d promised . My mom was shocked. My dad said ‘What did he say?’ I told them that he came here and greeted me. They said he went to Russia to do some business. I believed them. I went through three years of missing him, of believing he was in Russia. I cried up until age 11 because I missed him.

On August 6, 2010, the lying stopped. My mom called me in the kitchen to discuss some matters. My parents told me my uncle had died years ago. Uncle 23 hung himself days before my 8th birthday. The depression and problems took him over. My parents had to hide it from me, they had to.

He will always be my Uncle 23. It creeped me out when I found out about my uncle’s death, but he did keep his promise. And now, I still have dreams about him, of him enjoying things with me. At the end of my dream, he always says ‘I love you.'”

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