She's in her car. Vehicles are parking outside the chapel. People are dressed in dark colors. Greeters stand at church doors nodding to those walking inside.
She crosses the street and makes her way in.
She is nervous. Her hands tremble. She shakes hands with the grieving family. She offers condolences. She looks at his body. She cries.
They are not tears for him.
He was no saint. In fact, he was what some folks would’ve called "no good."
He treated his first and second wife terribly. He was abusive. Unfaithful. Bad to drink. His kids were estranged. His friends were few.
He was her uncle.
As a girl, he lived with her family. She was fifteen; he forced himself upon her.
It altered her life.
After the hateful thing happened, her mother sent her to stay with cousins in Tennessee. It was only days before Christmas. It the worst period of her entire life.
It got worse when she started waking to morning sickness.
It wasn’t long before she had a daughter. The baby was magnificent, but her mother made her
put the child up for adoption.
The folks in white uniforms escorted the baby away from her. And, since good teenagers did what they were told, she let them.
But she doesn’t want your sympathy. In fact, she wants people to know that she doesn’t need it.
Years later, she met a man. He was kind. Funny. Young. He was studying to become a teacher. He encouraged her to finish her GED, go to college, to be proud of herself. He told her she was smart.
And she believed him.
She studied nursing. She studied late hours, worked clinicals. And when she earned her certificate, he was there.
They were married. It was a simple ceremony.
But on their first night as man and wife, she had a panic attack. It was a bad episode.
“Please don’t touch…