Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Greater Seattle area
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I just learned that our "uncle" (partner's dad's cousin, really) was killed in a tragic house fire this weekend along with two of the people who lived in his house (it's our uncle's house, split into a few flats). The other housemate who we adored managed to escape (he lived in the totally self contained basement flat) for which I am so grateful - he really puts up with a lot from the upstairs neighbors and I know he has been worried something like this would happen.
I am full of mixed emotions about this. I loved our uncle. We lived with him for nearly a year when we first moved to London and he was so kind and generous and supportive, he helped us in so many ways. His partner died of cancer several years ago and he has really struggled since then, I think he really enjoyed "looking after" us and helping us get on our feet in a new country. We really enjoyed his company too.
However, he also was an alcoholic. Not in any bad way, it was just his way of coping after his partner died. He was never mean or nasty or anything, just a sad, lonely drunk. But it did mean that he got mixed up in some bad friendships. Namely, the two housemates that were killed with him. One has been in and out of jail and never held down a job and he is a lousy, mean, nasty drunk. In fact he is the reason we did eventually move out and get our own place, we could not tolerate having him around anymore - we did not trust him one bit. He stole from us and was NOT a good person. The other housemate was just a lost soul, she really just had nowhere to go and so our uncle took her in too.
The cause of the fire is thought to be someone smoking in bed. I am SO ANGRY over this. I suspect that it was the housemate's fault due to where the fire started but I don't know. But I am just so angry. Angry at our uncle for allowing this man into his home, angry at this man for being such a horrible person, angry at myself for being so angry at this man.... angry at myself because my first thought was "that could have been me" - we were always afraid of something like this happening when we lived there. Angry at myself for not trying harder to get our uncle help, to do more to get this man put back in jail, to get *him* help...
I'm also feeling incredibly guilty, for not calling our uncle more often. We didn't call often because with the time difference (we live back in the US now) whenever we did call our uncle was drunk or asleep (you have to catch him first thing to get him sober). Guilty for not sending more letters, for not staying in touch better. Guilty for not telling him how much we love him, for not having a chance to say "goodbye".
Finally Ijust feel.... relieved, in a way, and am hoping that our uncle is finally at peace. It has been a hard few years for him.
I don't know what to do, what to feel, how to cope, I am just really rambling here and I'm sorry... but I am lost, 6000 miles away. I am so helpless.