I Didn’t Know I Had It In Me To Make One Man’s Dream Come True

I made a man’s dream come true this week.

Not just any man.

My 84-year-old uncle.

My late mother’s only brother.

I didn’t think I had it in me to carry this off.

Sometimes forces beyond take over.

Uncle shared his last wish with me about a year and a half ago.

About six months before my mother died.

His wish?

He never wanted to see me again.


He hated me.

Not in the “Ha ha, Daryn is going to turn this into one of her funny stories,” sense.


Real, honest to goodness hate.

Uncle preceded his declaration of never wanting to see me again with a string of profanity not suitable for a family newspaper.

How did it come to this?

That would take far more space than a 500-word column.

My version boils down to one word.


Ones I learned to set late in life.

In a family out of control,

Boundaries are not a popular choice.

Certainly not a natural choice for this middle child good girl.

I spent decades holding my family of origin together.

True story.

After a lifetime of being single, I went to a therapist.

I told her I wasn’t involved with anybody.

She took copious notes as she asked me to describe my family and my connections to them.

After explaining how I took care of this one, financially supported that irresponsible one, managed the relationship between these two.

She nodded in that sweet, understanding, yet concerned therapist way.

“You say you’re not involved with anyone,” she said as she turned her notepad around.  “I’d say you’re very involved.”

There, on that yellow legal pad were scrambled lines drawn between me and my family.

It looked like someone had thrown up a rotten plate of spaghetti.

And so with her help, I began to look at each of those relationships, each of our healthy and unhealthy choices.

And I started to change.

I have no doubt, this work led me to finding a healthy man to marry.

Not everyone was thrilled.

Some felt abandoned.

I guess they were right.

I don’t think I left them.

But I did abandon the crazy.

This stirred up a toxic soup where Uncle became convinced I was responsible for my 80-year-old mother’s death.

We were beyond trying to make each other see the situation differently.

So, I stepped away.

Why share?

Because that’s what we do, Dear Reader.

Here in this space.

Share the glorious,

The funny.

And the hard stuff.

The really hard stuff.

Where I figure I’m not the only one.

“Don’t come to the funeral,” my brother warned this week. “Feelings around here are still pretty raw.”

“Did you ever reconcile?” some family friends asked after news of Uncle’s passing.

“We didn’t,” I shared, knowing they wanted me to feel remorseful.

I am not.

I’m sad.

So, immensely sad,

That it ended this way.

It’s possible,

That sometimes,

You have to make someone else’s wish come true.

Just to save yourself.

((Please catch my column each week in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Dayton Daily News and other Cox Newspapers across the country.)))

And if you enjoy this column, you might enjoy my book,

“Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor’s Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, And My Dog, Always My Dog.”

final front cover



I Didn’t Know I Had It In Me To Make One Man’s Dream Come True

by DarynKagan time to read: 2 min