My Uncle Lorenza died when I was 14. I remember the four of us screaming when our father told us he was dead. I even remember the room we were in. And there’s something else I remember, that I want to talk about because I think it would make him happy.
My uncle married young. The Slaughter men seem to be passive (believe me, the women aren’t) and he tried to make it work. He had a nervous breakdown when his wife left him, relinquished custody of his children because he felt it was “God’s will.” And then he was alone. For a very long time.
And he was a good person. He was troubled when he lost his temper. He spent at least one night a week with us. That is my guess. I was so used to him being alone, that I was shocked, almost appalled when my parents began whispering his name with my favorite non-aunt.
When you are a kid, people in love are gross. I remember the way my Uncle would speak to this woman. It was gooey, it was uninhibitted, it made me feel really uncomfortable. My parents talked about them. It really was the perfect match, only one problem. They both had living spouses, which is a serious problem with the Holiness people. I think, based on what Mom told us, my Uncle was ready to throw that in the toilet because he knew his congregation wouldn’t care (I forgot to mention he was our pastor). But his love wanted to protect his reputation, and then he died, and she was walking alone at the funeral until my parents picked her up. And Mom handed her my Uncle’s Bible and she silently cried. So since then, even though she was before, she’s family.