I don’t know exactly how to title this post other than ‘Prayers Answered’. That’s the only thing I can think to label it right now because that’s exactly what it is honestly. More so that I’ve been waiting to do it. It’s been 20 years this year that my 2 yr. old nephew and my sister have been gone. Leaving her youngest son, the sole survivor of that night. Not too long afterwards I found out what that fireman claimed to have done, that he ‘saved’ my nephew’s life. I was enraged, disgusted, angry, mad, spiteful. All the feelings a person in my situation would’ve and could’ve felt about hearing such a bullshit lie. Regardless of his career and devotion to saving others, didn’t grant him the rights to make such a bold claim. What’s even worse is that no one ever told him any different, letting him grow up to think it was true. I’ve expressed my opinion countless times with different family members. Those I felt were close enough to him to know if he’d be able to handle knowing the truth after so much time has passed. With him being a grown man, having a family of his own. Time and again I was shut down way before any conversation ever took place. No sooner than I’d think it, I was shut down, cold, no room for discussion. It rendered me speechless but still enraged. Enraged to the point where I couldn’t stand to continuously hear that he didn’t need to know, to let it be. What’s in the past, stays in the past.
I know I got to the point where I kept thinking to myself, ‘Tina, he’s a grown ass man now and if it’s so important that you feel he still needs to know the truth after all these years then so be it, tell him’. So that’s what I did. I was really feeling inside my soul that he would be able to handle knowing the truth of the matter. I mean, he grew up to be a fireman himself. I sent out a message via Messenger not long after he accepted my friend request on Facebook. However, in the message I told him I felt he should meet with me in person in order for me to tell him what it was. I checked Messenger off and on after that. Each time it remained unread and unopened. I checked another time and saw he had actually opened and read it but just hadn’t responded yet. It was only yesterday when checking my emails did i see a notification I had a waiting message from him that I hadn’t read. You guys I swear I’d dreamt that he replied to me but in reality he never did. Then that dream came to pass where he actually did.
Man, when I realized he actually messaged me back I flew to the play store and downloaded the Messenger app, quickly typing out a message letting him know I wasn’t ignoring him and that I just saw where he hit me back. I never expected him to have his phone in hand or respond right then but he did. Instantly I began shaking because I was so excited. My hands text with a flurry of movement and I was misspelling words and including emoji’s I didn’t mean to. It was crazy I was that nervous just messaging back-n-forth with my nephew, but I hadn’t seen him since his 10th bday I think. I stuck to my guns though letting him know I thought I should tell him something like I had to say through a message. When he told me he speaks better like we were messaging than he does in person, I couldn’t help but respect him. He’s been a shy person since he was little. I think I had to prepare myself more than I was trying to prepare him just to tell him what it was I’ve been wanting him to know since he could first understand the words. Him being a fireman and all now he told me he’s dealt with a lot of deaths in a lot of ways other people couldn’t ever handle. He’s right about that because to this day I still can’t watch someone or something catch on fire, explode, or burn even just in the movies on tv. I have to look away every time.
I gathered up all my courage and told him. When I told him about the woman that was the first to hold him after he was pulled out the back door during the fire he asked me if that was the woman who looked like his mom. I told him I didn’t think she did because of her dark hair. But I guess I could see how he’d think that because he can still remember the safety of her arms around him holding him tightly all the way to the hospital in the ambulance. His sister even told me once that he can still remember certain things from that night even if he doesn’t remember every detail. I thought it was very impressive and even a little scary because he wasn’t even 2 years old when it happen. He was barely 15 months, yet he can specifically recall things and he’s right about what he remembers. That was the extent of how serious the trauma was he experienced.
Although I did tell him I didn’t want what I told him to cause him any regrets about the decisions or choices he’s made so far. Just in case they were based off thinking that, that man was his hero and that his choice to become a fireman was based on the man who lied to him. Especially about such an important factor that might have played a serious role in his life. Was I ever glad when he told me he made all his choices on his own, based off of what he felt in his heart. That he chose to be the man he is today because that’s what he wanted to do. Not because it was what another person influenced upon him.
Having finally achieved what I’ve been compelled to say for 20 years now, I feel a sense of gratification, a sense of satisfaction, knowing I was finally able to tell him what I’ve planned for so long. Conscious cleansed. Not only just all of what I’ve just told you guys either. The main thing is he finally knows the names and has seen the faces of the people who were the real hero’s that night. I asked him if he maybe thought he’d reach out and talk to them or planed on wanting to really meet them. He said he didn’t know just yet. He did however ask me if I’d send him their Facebook profiles or the information about who they really are so he’d know. I couldn’t figure out a way to share their profile so I took a picture of the profile of the woman he wouldn’t let go of that night instead. The guy that saved him, his name is Rodney Rives, was even nominated for a congressional medal of honor for what he did. He had Jacob out of the house before any EMS arrived on the scene. That’s being fast on your feet if you ask me. Plus, this man was sick and running a fever of 104.7 because his teeth were bad and infected. It didn’t stop him from jumping up, running outside, jumping the fence and kicking in the door to pull him out though. For that I’m forever going to be eternally grateful. To Rodney and his wife Nichole.