“I lost my nephew.”

The phrase itself doesn’t seem to mean much. The questions that follow are usually related around his family: his parents, siblings, etc. The ones that were (or were supposed to be) close to him, the ones –that should have been here to walk this difficult path with him. Yet instead –he was stuck with me. Me. Who thought –like the blind fool that I am –that he, of all people, would be ok.

Eight years ago I decided to give it my all. After weathering a couple of the most difficult years in my entire life –I gave up everything –everything –to pursue them. I changed my entire life, for them. I fought like nobody’s business to get them back. Because I thought it was the right thing. I ignored everyone who thought other, and pushed my way to the top –choosing to believe that these kids were my second chance. I fought so hard that I failed to realize the logic, I suppose. I was blindsided. I was zoned in. I had tunnel vision. I refused to see any other option: Because if I looked any other direction –I would have given up.

I would have given up eight years ago, because I had lost everything that meant anything to me.

Except that I didn’t. I chose to fight. I chose them.

No, it hasn’t been easy. I have questioned myself –countless times, but the one comfort that I could always give myself was that I was doing the best for these kids. I was giving them everything I could. I was doing my best. The rest just had to be ok.

Except that…

I failed to realize, that, it perhaps, wasn’t the best.

…and ten weeks ago, I “lost my nephew.”

Or rather, I signed the papers and watched as they unhooked the machines keeping him alive –because let’s be honest here, he really died last year sometime. Or perhaps, he died ten years ago –with the rest of his family.

Yes, I lost my nephew. But I also lost a whole lot more. I lost my focus. My goals. My reason. My logic. I lost my hope. My security. My safety net. I lost my footing. My grip. My hold.

Perhaps it is unfair to say that. Perhaps it sounds like I put too much weight on these kids. Like I depend on them too much. But the truth is…I do. I worked so hard to get them back, to love them, to give them the life they deserved. I worked so hard –I pushed everything, literally, everything aside for them. I was ready to give up –eight years ago, and some reason –I felt compelled to give it one last shot.

…and now.

Now all that has been reduced to a simple statement that means absolutely nothing. A statement that doesn’t seem to mean anything to anyone. A statement that doesn’t seem to say just what has happened.

When I say the words: I lost my nephew, inside –my heart screams out. He was more than that. He was more. Why can’t you see. Why can’t you understand. Why don’t you see:

I lost everything.


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