My dad called me up this afternoon.

That alone is a warning sign. My dad NEVER calls me, or called me, in all the years I’ve lived away from home.

Turns out that my uncle – my mother’s younger and only living brother – is in the hospital dying from lung cancer. Oddly enough, the same hospital James is scheduled to have his operation on the 15th of this month.

This is the uncle whom my parents sponsored so he could come to Canada from Italy. The same uncle who practically lived with us for the first few years of my life and who later lived right across the street from us for many years after with his wife and daughters – my cousins. The same uncle who pretty much disappeared from my life when my parents moved us to our new home in St. Michel back when I was 5. Disappeared, it seems, because his wife was so jealous of that fact, that she refused to be around us any more – although whenever at a public event/ function, she would give Soap Actresses a run for their money on the fake family flair. The same uncle who – by his neglect, negligence, and abandonment – caused my mother untold years of pain and hurt.

How did she find out?

His wife called their eldest sibling (my aunt) in Italy. She called my mother this morning to tell her the news. That’s right. In case the logistics escaped you, my “aunt” called Italy from Montreal to relay the news which my aunt in Italy then called my mother (her sister) to tell her that their brother was in the hospital.

I couldn’t speak with my mother. She’s obviously very upset and distraught. And even if I did, I don’t really know what I could have told her. The only thing going through my mind right now is, “Don’t worry Mom, your Dad is gonna kick his ass when he crosses over. He’s over there waiting for him right now and he’ll definitely get an earful for treating you the way he has for all these years.” Because, really, that’s the truth of it. And in my view, this will be the last time he hurts her. As for his wife, I’ll shed no tears for her. She’ll get hers, too, one day.

Me? I lost my uncle a long time ago. I’ll always hold that image of him playing with me at 4 years old in my parents basement as a fond memory. There’s not much after that.

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