Just when I’m about to give up on hope, I always think about my Godfather Cecil. Uncle Cecil was a very beautiful person. No matter how upset you were with someone or something, Uncle Cecil was always able to put a smile on your face. Uncle Cecil was the person always being asked to be the Master of Ceremony for his retiring co-workers. Every new version of the electric slide dance that came out, Uncle Cecil was teaching me when I should have been teaching him. Uncle Cecil was my everything. We always used to place bets about my mother and her hair. My mom was always changing her hair, so you’d never know what to expect. So when she would come home after hours and money spent at the hairdresser, Uncle Cecil and I would try to figure out how long she would keep her new hair style. Back then, her style wouldn’t last a week. We would also make up our own words. Whenever my mom cooked and she had outdone herself Uncle Cecil and I would always say that the food was de-lah-cious since it was better than delicious. Uncle Cecil was just so fun to be around. He had a way of making you see the brighter side of things.
Now, there’s this blue pot that sits on my mother’s stove that fools everyone. The only time that she keeps something in it, is when she makes any type of beans. Now when Uncle Cecil would come over for dinner or his lunch break, he had the same routine. Uncle C would always call to see if I wanted anything. My reply was always, anything with Oreo cookies in it. And at seven o’clock uncle C would pull up in the driveway, he’d come in and give me my goodies, go into the kitchen, wash his hands in the sink and then head straight to that blue pot. There were days when he found beans and there were days, well, there was just nothing in the pot. He was always happy to see something in the pot but when there was nothing in the pot, he seemed to be happy yet shocked and he would always say, maybe tomorrow.
Before I went to school each morning my dad would leave me money so that I could get breakfast and lunch at school and after my after school activities I had money to either get something from the pizza shop or the Chinese restaurant. So I was prepared for when my mom didn’t cook. When I would get home, I’d finish up my homework and wait for my uncle to call and ask if I wanted anything but I never understood why he would never ask if my mom cooked. Once he got there, he went through with his routine. Sometimes I would want him to go straight to that blue pot when mommy didn’t cook but he never did. I always liked to see the smile on his face when he found nothing in the pot. Even after three days of finding nothing, on that fourth day he would still take the top off of the blue pot just to find another day that mommy hadn’t cooked. But he’d never stop lifting the top off of that pot.
In 1993 my uncle Cecil was diagnosed with Cancer. After being diagnosed, the only thing that was different about him was that he stopped smoking. Uncle Cecil still continued to live his life the way he was already living it. In the beginning stages of his cancer uncle Cecil had two bouts with pneumonia. The first time he had pneumonia, when we went to visit him, we had to wear masks so that our germs couldn’t come in contact with him even if we weren’t sick. Eventually he got better and we continued to play the guessing game with mommy and her hair. And he still continued to look into the blue pot. Some days he got lucky and on those other days, I was able to enjoy his smile followed by, maybe tomorrow.
Later that year we moved. When we moved into our new home, mommy made sure that she put that blue pot on the stove. Uncle Cecil still came over but now he would come over earlier since he was no longer working. When he would get there, he’d go straight to that blue pot to find nothing. He thought maybe since we moved to a new house mommy would change. NOT!
Even though Uncle Cecil was diagnosed with Cancer he was still in good spirits. He never let it get him down, which made him having Cancer easier for me. I never had the thought that he would be leaving me anytime soon.
In January of 1994, Uncle Cecil got really sick and was hospitalized. My mom spent her days and nights in the hospital by his side. Whenever I would come home from school and she wasn’t there, I knew exactly where she was. I would find myself in the kitchen and knowing that there was nothing in the pot, I would lift the top and smile. Every night that I did that, my mother would come home and say that Uncle Cecil was fine.
One night I was home studying for mid-terms, my mom came home and told me that I had to go visit my uncle in the hospital. I guess she knew that he was going to die at any time and she wanted me to see him one last time, even if, I had to visit him every day that week. At that time, I never thought about it as it being his last day, I was just happy to go visit uncle C. I wasn’t ready for what I was about to see. When we got to his room, Uncle Cecil wasn’t Uncle Cecil. Uncle Cecil was just a skeleton with skin covering his bones. He was trying so hard to sit up on his arm but he was steadily shaking. I had never seen my uncle like that and I didn’t know how to react. I didn’t want him to see me cry and the fact that he didn’t recognize me made things worse for me. I ran out the room but mommy was right behind me. She told me that Uncle Cecil couldn’t see me crying and I had to go back into the room. As I was wiping my tears heading back to the room, I thought about the blue pot and walked into the room. When I got there my brother was in there talking to Uncle Cecil who wasn’t able to respond. He was still trying to sit up and he was still shaking. As I looked at Uncle Cecil I kept thinking about that blue pot and I smiled. I knew that even though Uncle Cecil wasn’t going to make it, I still had the blue pot. When visiting hours were over with, we all left and headed home. My dad was home from work, so it had been a little after eleven when the hospital called. Uncle Cecil had passed.
There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about him. Whenever my mom cooks, her food is still de-lah-cious. I also now know why Uncle Cecil continued to take the top off of that pot. It was all about hope. The more you hope for something to happen it’ll happen. But in order to make it happen you have to have faith. At that time I didn’t understand but as I’ve gotten older………I now understand