Tommy was a funny, sarcastic, handsome artist, NYPD detective, and hero. I used to find illustrations and poems of his scrawled on stray papers all throughout our house in Queens. Tommy could write a love poem so smooth, it slipped on your skin like lotion. Like a typical brother, he was also my bully and fiercest protector all rolled into one. Not a day goes by when I don't miss him.
|Our Tommy, April 28, 1971-October 22, 2009|
A few weeks before he died, I wrote a series of posts on Then Came Isaiah where I talked about rekindling my passion for writing. It was something I felt called to do. Exactly one week before my brother passed away, I read at my first open mic since I was in college. After, I wrote on Then Came Isaiah (October 19, 2009):
I just keep thinking of that Souza quote - Happiness is the way, Happiness is the way... it just reminds me that I really do want to be happy and fulfilled for as many days as I can because life is often shorter than you want it to be - and it can so easily be filled with regret... I think what my journey is about - why I am blogging... why I am writing again... and why I suddenly became more concerned with what my career gave me rather than how much I gave it - is my desire be better. To live better.
Two days later, Tommy passed away.
Tommy started his career with the NYPD young. Because of this, he was two years away from retirement when he left us. He wanted to travel. As a life long car lover, he dreamed of opening his own car wash and detailing center someplace warm like Miami. He also dreamed of having his first child. Though he accomplished more than many people do in their lives, those things were left waiting on his list.
When the clouds began to recede after the storm of my mourning, I was reminded of what I had started just prior to his passing. My fear of failing or not-being-good enough suddenly paled in comparison to my fear of not-doing or never getting to try. I miss my brother and would gladly take him back for any lessons I may have learned but losing him taught me just how unexpected life can be and how if this is really our one shot... we need to do everything we can to be happy and make it count.
In some ways Tommy and I are closer than we have ever been because I imagine him by my side when I take those scary first steps or when a door closes before I get the chance. I'm doing it for myself but I'm also doing it for him.
For those of you living your life how you always wanted to, brava! This lesson is learned much easier without the shadow of loss. If you're still paralyzed at that first step, remember...
All you have to do is take that first step, the rest will surely follow.
Happy Birthday In Heaven, Big Brother!
Love and Light,