I Have Help Pay For The Funeral of Nigga Who Molested Me

Note: My brother chose the title. Direct your ire at him. Let’s begin.

This is so messed up. I’ve had my fingers on the keyboard for the last 20 minutes. I hardly know where to begin? Do I begin in 1959 when my uncle was born and tell you all about why he was named in defiance of my paternal grandfather, was my grandmother’s beloved problem child for all his days – or do I just skip ahead to 1988 when he cornered me in a hotel room at age 9, asked me for a kiss, rejected my congenial peck and stuck his tongue down my throat? Sometimes I can still taste its sourness in my mouth…

Long time readers of MOM know that this blog has been cathartic for me. I write for therapy. You and I have been through trials with Douche Bag, illnesses, possible miscarriages, relationship issues; the gamut is pretty wide. And some of you guys have been kind enough to share your tales of woe and mirth in return here as well, sometimes as guest contributors and others in well thought out, thought provoking comments. I’ve always been grateful for the camaraderie and readership of the Squad. Please never forget that. Argh! I have a lot to say, and I’m not sure how to say any of it.

When my uncle died early last week, my father called at 7:46 am to deliver the news like he was reporting rain. He sounded very cheerful.

“Good morning, Daddy!”

“Hey, Malaka! Are you awake?”

“Yes. I just got out of the shower.”

“Okay, good. Brace yourself up.”

“Ei. Brace myself up for what?” I toweled off and put the phone in the crook of my shoulder.

“Victor is dead.”

“What?”

“Victor, Victor! My brother…”

“Yes, Daddy. I know who your brother is.”

He explained he had died in the night in his sleep, presumably. He hadn’t been feeling well for two or three days before but hadn’t gone to the hospital.

“At least he died in his sleep,” my father mused.

“Yeah…” I said hollowly. What else was there to say?

My father said he and my other uncles were beginning to work on his funeral preparations and he would call to inform me about what would happen next. I received the news with little to no reaction. Was I happy he was dead? Not really. I discovered I didn’t really care. I never had a relationship with that particular uncle. There were infrequent visits to our house before and after the incident. I was always very careful never to find myself alone in his presence, and when he became a roving alcoholic, much to my grandmother’s distress, my parents made it a point that he never came to our house unbidden.

The shame of it is that Uncle Victor had every opportunity to make something of himself. He was bright, very handsome and had favor and grace over his life. People had always been quick to give him things: a few cedis if he needed it, a job or a place to stay. Out of all these, the only thing he was ever really able to hold down well was his liquor. It broke my grandmother’s heart, though she never spoke of it to us, and if she did happen to in the presence of my siblings, it was in Larteh or which we have no fluency or understanding.

Marshall was far more emotive to the news than I was. He asked me how I felt, and when I confessed I had no real feelings at all, he was surprised.

“I just thought you would be glad.”

“Why would I be glad?” I was genuinely shocked by his expectation. “How do you feel?”

“Vindicated,” he admitted.

When I called my brother and sister to relay the news, I got a similar reaction. Okay fine. They were a little dissimilar. My sister was nonchalant. My brother was pissed because he never got a chance to punch my uncle in the throat.

“Ever since you told me that sh*t about what he did, all I’ve wanted to do is punch that nigga in the throat,” he ranted. “He stole that from me. That ain’t fair.”

The conversation quickly moved to our other more favorite uncles and Uncle Victor was soon forgotten in our conversation; that is, until my dad called today.

“We need to raise $x,000 between us for his funeral,” he said. It was hard to determine his mood. He was Skyping me, but the lights were off in his room and I couldn’t see his face. “I’m relying on you guys to help me.”

A massive, almost unbearable headache took over me. I rubbed my frontal lobes to try to get some relief.

“I know, Daddy. I’ll talk to Adj and Sami to see what we can do. When do you need it by?”

“Next week.”

Next week? Next week?!? When I still have medical bills in the hundreds of dollars trickling in? When the kids are growing out of clothes faster than I can buy them and need all manner of money for everything under the sun? I didn’t share this with my father, of course. My job as a dutiful African daughter living abroad is to turn his requests into reality, not bellyache about the process. There were so many thoughts jostling in my mind. First I had to figure where to get the money. My sister had already predicted that the family would come asking for money and that her immediate response would be, “I got fifty bucks and that’s IT.” In my truest of hearts, I had never really considered that they would ask us for money. The man was married and has 2 kids of his own. Why did it fall on US to bury him?

“That’s what the f*ck I wanna know!” my brother raged. He was livid that he was being asked to shell out funds to serve someone who had his hand out in life, and was still doing it in death.

“His brothers have to bury him, Sami,” I reasoned. “Same as if I had died, you and Adj would do something…”

“Yeah. I’d do something alright. If you’d spent your whole life f*cking up, I’d come take a dump on your coffin. And you know what? I could do that, because I PAID FOR IT!”

Our conversation went on that way for the better part of the next 72 minutes. At the end of it, we came to the same conclusion: we were going to end of sending the money. Not for our uncle’s sake, but for our dad’s. He’s been on a fixed income for the last 15 years. He wasn’t going to have the money, at least not by the end of the month when they planned to bury his brother.

“Curse Daddy for being so loveable. If he would just be an asshole like other African fathers, we could let him rot and tell him to figure this out on his own!”

And so there it was. At the end of that rabbit trail, after all that conversation about how unjust and unfair it was, I was being asked – required, really – to pay for the funeral of man who molested me all those years ago? Oh, but Malaka! you may say. It wasn’t really that bad. It’s not like he penetrated you with his penis or anything! Other kids have it worse.

Of course other kids have had it worse. And they never should have. It still doesn’t negate what happened. When you get behind a wheel drunk, the cops don’t care if you drove two blocks or two miles. You were still driving drunk. And any kind of inappropriate behavior with a child crosses the line with the first step.

What a wasted life. Even in death, he was still leaving messes for other people to clean up. Apparently he had gotten wicked drunk at a funeral last week, fell and hit his head three times and still refused to stop drinking. When they took him to the hospital he was bleeding from his nose and had taken a dump on himself as he struggled to cling to life. Who had to wipe that up, I wonder?

But do you know what’s really screwed up, MOM Squad? The jacked up part is that this isn’t even going to be the first time I’ve had to financially support this uncle. Because he and his (ex) wife were such diabolical swindlers, they accrued debts all over the city. In return, they were unable to financially support their two children, my younger cousins who were living with my grandmother. My uncle was drinking his life away, his wife was doing whatever she did, and I had been sending pocket money to my grandmother for years. You know what she was doing with it? Using it to educate and feed this man’s kids. I was almost sick when my father revealed that to me this evening.

I’ve been taking care of this nigga’s responsibilities while he was alive for years and didn’t even know it. How fitting that I should end up doing the same in death.

 

 

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8 thoughts on “I Have Help Pay For The Funeral of Nigga Who Molested Me

  1. Frema

    This is the down side of the extended family system. Be the African girl that you are and do it not for this Uncle Victor for all his troubles but for Daddy!

    1. Malaka Post author

      You see? I don’t even have a choice, do I? Of course I have to do it for my father. No matter how disgusted we are with my uncle (and we ALL are) we are bound by duty to him because he’s family. The liberating aspect of American life is that there is no true extended family system. You can say “to hell!” with whoever and they will truly go to hell! You don’t owe them a red cent. But in Africa it’s very different. Duty always wins, every time.

  2. edithfaalong

    I was going to ask if you have finished taking care of your kids financially but you already answered that.
    this is horrific. I would just find a way to get out of it because really, I cannot live with the guilt of paying for the funeral of this #£%&:!
    Not paying is the only way I can live guilt free for a few years because this would just wound me. Wounded like I did something to myself. Because I would be feeling that sleazy man still leering at me. Unless I can butcher his corpse before they bury it.
    look, it’s family but I am mad.

    1. Malaka Post author

      Chale. I feel bamboozled in ways I have never imagined. The other part is that I’m the eldest, and you know what expectations are for first borns in our culture. I just want to get him in the ground, get it over with and throw up. This is some straight up BULL!

  3. lalaroses

    Looks like we all have an Uncle like this in every African family. So sorry you have to do this, but don’t think of him, just do it for your dad’s sake and for posterity sake. And don’t burden yourself financially, just what you can afford at this time. Hmm. Such is life.

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