On September 26, 2014, Debbie's brother Tommy passed away peacefully surrounded by his family. His death was unexpected and heartbreaking to our family.
Tommy was truly a gift from God. Originally expected to only live to approximately age 13, he was with us for 39 years. He was loving, funny, kind, stubborn and smarter than he let on. He brought so much joy to everyone that knew him and even some people who never met him but got to "know" Tommy through social media or through stories told by his family members.
Tommy took great pleasure in the simple things in life - spending time with his family, eating good food, drinking beer, good music, fast cars and taking naps. He had special bonds with many members of his family and loved to give hugs and pats on the head.
Although his death was tragic and heartbreaking, there are many positives to focus on. Tommy didn't have to lose those closest to him. Tommy never had to worry about money, bills, job stress, war or people hurting his feelings. He didn't have to experience a painful, terminal illness. He was able to live long enough to get to know his niece and nephew and they were old enough at the time of his death that they will never forget him.
During the homily at his funeral Mass, the priest noted that Tommy is now in a place where he no longer has mental or physical limitations. He also talked about the value of life and how Tommy's life and those who he impacted are proof that ALL life matters. At one point Alex said "this is the greatest homily I've ever heard." During the eulogy, Greg spoke fondly of Tommy and their special handshake as well as the loving moments he had with so many members of their family. He lightened the mood with funny stories about Tommy's special quirks like pulling his socks up constantly, not wanting to wear dress clothes and laughing at people crying.
After Tommy's burial, we went to the Ale House restaurant. Tommy had just celebrated his birthday there a month before and since he loved beer so much, it seemed fitting to celebrate his life at a place where beer was a specialty. The whole family "chugged" a banana flavored beer in Tommy's honor. It was a day we'll never forget honoring a person we'll miss forever.
Below are photos from Tommy's memorial services and visits to a few of his favorite places - The Ale House, The International Beer Garten and Beef O'Brady's. Click here to read Tommy's obituary.