Usually I am very open about my life. I am always on the internet posting things, keeping everyone up to date on my life by the minute. I am a very outgoing type of person. I like to have fun with this sort of thing. There’s not too many things that I do keep off the internet but there is one thing that I have kept to myself and it has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. And I did it because not only did it take some time to deal with, but it took some time to get over the embarrassment of the situation.
I feel now that I have to share this very sad testament to my life with everyone so that you can see that even I am not perfect, and I do not lead a life of happiness and joy like most people think I do. In fact, I carry this sorrow with me every single day of my life and tonight it is crutial that I do this not only for me but for a soul that was lost exactly one year ago today.
So let’s turn back time for a minute and go backwards one year ago… December 3rd 2008. I was in Boston downtown at my agents office and I was getting ready to set up my portfolio book for an audition that I had the next day. It was a really cold night, about 5:30pm, the sun was setting off in the distance of a crowded Newbury street. I had my book in one hand and my cell phone in the other. My jacket was buttoned up to my neck; I could see the air that I breathed as I walked down the street to my car. As I walked past people cheerfully smiling, Christmas lights lining the streets, suddenly I felt something was not right. Everything was too perfect. And in that instant, my phone rang. It was a number that I was unfamiliar with. I answered it. It was my cousin, he said “come home quick you need to be here right away” I said “well where are you?” and he said “I’m at the hospital just come quick”.
At that moment I knew that something was wrong, but not only was it wrong but it was bad. I felt like someone crushed my lungs as I tried to comprehend why I had gotten this phone call and who was at the hospital. I hesitated for a minute and then I asked him “what happened?” and he said “You haven’t heard??” Of course I haven’t heard so I screamed “No just tell me!” and what came out of his mouth I will never forget. This moment will live with me forever.
My uncle Nelson was a pretty cool guy. Somewhat of a scatter brain. He liked to play video games, walk around, make fun of people to try and make others laugh. He was a regular joe so to speak. Just an average guy trying to get by in life. He didn’t really care where he was going and didn’t really care about what he looked like other then his smile. He had a great smile, but he hated his teeth. They were a little bit crooked and he never smiled because he felt people would laugh at him. But that’s just the outside of my uncle Nelson.
Nelson and I go way back. When I was about 13 I used to cut his hair for him. I remember I was cutting his hair and I accidently cut his ear and he walked all the way home with a bloody ear! And then there was a time that I was cleaning the pool in my back yard; mid October, cold chilly day, I was about to winterize it. He walked up to the edge of the pool and he leaned over and said “what are you doing? It’s fucking freezing out!” and I replied “I’m cleanin the pool gettin the leaves out because we have to close it up”. So he leaned over to look at the leaves that I was talking about and he said “Hey don’t get me wet!”…. well… Nelson leaned a little bit too far and the entire side of the pool caved in and he fell into the pool head first, sneakers in the air, jeans and all. I never laughed so much in my life. When he popped up from under the water he said “See, I told you not to get me wet!!” My dad witnessed the whole thing and was in tears laughing over his kid brother who just fell into a pool that was about 40*. And then there was the time that he taught me how to drive a car. I was about 14. I had no business being behind the wheel lol. He let me drive my mothers Winstar down the street and around the corner and I smashed into the side of the curb and wrecked a rim. He lied for me and told my mother that he did it by accident!
Another side of Nelson was that he loved music. He loved Iron Maiden. That was his favorite band of all time. None of my family members ever bought him anything because they sort of thought that he was an outcast because he never attended family functions. I remember one year I worked my ass off just to buy him a Christmas present. I bought him an Iron Maiden T-shirt. And he cried. I always asked him when he was going to wear it because he never took it out of the plastic. And he would always say “I will wear it on a special day, the day that you get married”. I thought that was really cool! ((Ha IF I ever get married!!))
Nelson and I were very very close. We were not only family but we were friends. He was my favorite uncle out of all of them because there was just a connection that we shared that was a little bit different. He was very open minded and very accepting of the things that my parents weren’t and he gave me a lot of advice on how to deal with my parents. Some of it was good some of it was bad but it was still worth trying.
But then there is always a side to people that they keep to themselves, a side that no one really knows, and no one gets to see. The only ones who get to see that side are the ones who care the most. My beloved uncle Nelson unfortunately was a lost soul. He was the loneliest person on earth that I knew of and it only grew worse after my vavoa (Nelson’s mother) had passed away. She passed away December 3rd 2007. Nelson and my vavoa still lived together. She had Alzheimer’s disease and sometimes she would get lost and forget where she lived and he would always be the one to find her. He stayed with her and took care of her and looked after her for the most part. When she passed away, a part of him died with her. He became the saddest person, walking back and forth miles a day visiting her at the cemetery and writing poetry about how he wanted to be with her and how he missed her so so much. It was the saddest thing to see him be so unhappy with life that he just didn’t give a shit about anyone or anything, he just desperately wanted to be reunited with his mother, wherever she was.
On the same day that his mom had passed away, but just one year later, my uncle Nelson committed suicide. No one knows my pain over losing him. I think of him every single day of my life since the moment I got that phone call. As bad as this sounds, it is even worse for me because of the way that he died. He wanted to go out in the best way that he thought possible and the only way for him to do that was to ravish his body with every street drug known to man. He snorted cocaine, line after line, he smoked crack, he rolled a joint and smoked that too. But the heroin is what did him in. He injected himself with an entire syringe of heroin and decided that he wanted to die on the same day that his mom had died. And the happiest way to do that was to go out with a bang. And that he did. The police found him face down in the streets of Fall River and they worked on him for 3 hours before they could revive him. They eventually did revive him and he was on a ventelator for about 4 hours. When I arrived at the hospital, I walked into the room and I saw my uncle, my best friend, my buddy, someone I loved laying on that bed with a machine controlling his bodily functions I thought “Nelson what did you do!”
I walked up to him and I stood next to his bedside and I held his hand. I asked everyone to give me a moment with him. I stood there and I told him that I was here for him and that I was with him. And that I was mad at him for what he did but I still loved him. I know to this day that he waited for me and that was his one dying wish; to be able to say goodbye to me.
20 minutes after I left, Nelson passed away on December 4th, 2008 @ 1:15am. I never told anyone what he did and how he did it because I was too embarrassed about his usage of drugs that I felt that I needed to keep that private and live with it.
My family sort of kept me away from most of the details that went on surrounding his death at which I thought was very strange. Come to find out that Nelson had a note in his pocket when he did all those drugs and made it clear that he had the intention to die that day. But he left something in his wallet that his sisters kept from me because they unfortunately do not like me. In his wallet was every single picture of me that I had ever given him from the time that I was 5 years old all the way up until my senior prom of high school. He kept all of those photos. What pissed off most of the family was that he has almost 10 nieces and nephews and not one of their photos was in his wallet. Only mine.
A couple days after his death during the preparations for his funeral, it was known that he left $900 in his wallet with a note explaining that the money was left to pay for his funeral because he did not want to burden anyone with his life as it was meaningless to him. And he felt that it was meaningless to us too. But not to me.
While everyone was at the funeral home, I went into Nelson’s bedroom and I started going through some of his belongings and I found something that broke my heart. He had made a collage of me, he had almost every class photo that I had taken over the years up until my high school graduation, even my first boyfriend. Behind the collage was a note. He loved writing songs and poetry. And in that note, according to him, I was the closest person that he had aside from his mom.
Today has been one year since Nelson has been dead. I visit his grave very often and I play Iron Maiden into the ground for him to hear it because I know that somewhere, where ever he is, he can hear it and he knows I am there. So RIP Nelson Lionel Albernaz; he was just 38 years old.
So Nelson, where ever you are, I love you and I always will and I pray that your soul will find its way home.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
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