As mentioned in this blog’s archives, not only was my uncle Mike the victim of a fatal interrupted burglary in April of 1979 (Austin TX), but I had the absurd experience of watching this played out on television in 2007 when the producers of America’s Most Wanted chose my uncle’s cold case to spotlight.

For a while there were people getting in touch with me, most whom had benevolent intentions: tips, recollections, perspectives on my uncle’s murder and the cultural scene of the time. I’ve also had a couple of troglodytes holding “vital” information over my head in the hope that somehow I would allow them the glory of solving this case.

Very recently, however, perhaps because the 40th anniversary came and went, I’ve been receiving a new stream of emails from people who have known Mike. And as much as I appreciate it, I have to admit that I don’t know what to do with it. I’m not talking about tips or any bits of info that would solve the case. I’m talking about personal memories of Mike the human being.

It’s draining.

I’m a psychotherapist. I stickhandle a lot of deeply personal information on a daily basis, but at the end of a session (barring a particularly resonant narrative) I’m not processing the information. It stays in the session. These days, when I receive an email recounting a lot of personal information about a relative I never had the chance to meet, who died tragically, and whose case will probably never be brought to justice, I find myself left…well, numb. I have a natural respect for those who wish to share their thoughts and feelings about my uncle, but I don’t know what to do with it. I can only imagine what it’s like for families whose tragedies are caught in the public eye who receive torrents of public well-wishing. It’s heart-warming and overwhelming, then after a while you begin to feel like a cipher for others’ projected feelings.

Anyhow, just giving y’all a little taste of the glory that is having a dead relative on TV.