Things Tony Has Missed

Posted: November 17, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Cars and Places

Tony’s most beloved car was his Subaru Impreza. He dreamed he’d get the STI someday, but he was content to take his silver Impreza to the Tail of the Dragon on Highway 129 whenever he could. He found his car online after weeks of research. We drove to a small used car lot in Ohio to pick it up. After finding a local garage to inspect it, I closed the deal, and off we went. It was his first out-of-state drive.

I saw a commercial the other day for the 2012 Subaru Impreza. It looked nothing like his did. He’d be shaking his head at how un-sporty it looks!

I drove by his apartment complex where he lived a few months ago, and the sign had changed. A fresh new look with additional spotlighting brought home how nothing stays the same. I wondered who lives in his apartment now.

Friends Mature and Love Never Dies

Tony got to experience love. Through the ups and downs of his on-again, off-again, six-year relationship with a special girl, he knew the highs and lows, the drama, and passion of love that not everyone is as fortunate to experience in a lifetime. He once wrote to her, “I just wanted to let you know that after all the ups and downs we’ve been through, I will always have a very special spot for you in my heart… lol. I’ll never forget you as long as I live.” I believe he never did forget her.

Today, that girl has matured into a strong, young woman with equal beauty on the inside–her heart, her mind–as well as on the outside–her physical beauty. Although she moved to New York to continue her studies in graduate school, she remains connected to me as one of my strongest supporters through her love for Tony.

I attended the wedding ceremony of a young man who graduated high school with Tony. It was my first experience observing the natural progression of young adulthood in Tony’s peers. My heart rejoiced to see the young couple beginning their journey as newlyweds, even as it broke to know that I will never have that experience with my son. As I congratulated the young man, he embraced me and spoke quietly in my ear, “If you believe as I believe, you know that he was with us today, smiling down on us. His spirit lives on, but you know how much I wish he had been with us in body.” My tears flowed without ceasing.

I shed tears of deep sorrow when I learned that as one young man began the next phase of his adult journey in exchanging his wedding vows with his bride, another young man ended his life’s journey that very same day when he was involved in a motorcycle accident on one of  Florida’s highways. I remembered the joy and excitement on the faces of  Tony and his friend as they set out on their first summer road trip, and now both those shining stars have dimmed. I envision them reconnecting and continuing their friendship in another realm.

Body Art — Who Would Have Thought?

Without the events of August 8, 2011, I have no doubt I would never have considered body art on a personal level. Since shortly after that date, I have worn three pieces of jewelry that I never, ever remove because they help me feel connected to Tony, in some small way. The pendant of my silver necklace is actually an urn. My Road ID bracelet lists Tony as one of my emergency contacts. My leather rope bracelet spells out his name. Although I never remove these pieces, I’ve wondered how I would feel if the day comes that the bracelets break, if the necklace is ripped from my throat, or if I’m asked to remove a piece for my safety (like going through the MRI tunnel!). Intellectually, I know these are simply physical items, but emotionally I can’t bear to not wear them.

Over time, I kept coming back to the idea of a permanent mark on my body to represent my son in acknowledgement that he lived. Many who had the pleasure of receiving a note or card from him were the recipients of his “furby” caricature. It was this character that formed the basis of my conversation with the artist. As we continued to talk, I explained Tony’s passion was to realize his dream as a renowned and famous drummer. I talked about one of my favorite memories, watching Tony drum with such gusto as he raised his sticks over his head to bring them crashing down on his drum kit with the speed and frenzy that justified the nickname I had given him, The Funky Drummer! I remembered his sense of humor and his classic pose whenever he could get away with it: sticking his tongue out at the last second of any photo opp. I laughed as I remembered he said he would strike that pose when he was going for his driver’s license photo. In the end, he didn’t do it!

And so the creation became the furby, transformed, into the Funky Drummer! Tony would never believe that his mama actually sat through getting a tattoo!! He knew what a low threshold for pain I have, and I surprised even myself. As it turned out, the process was not as painful as I had envisioned. I did cry. I was overcome with emotion as I listened to Alan Pederson’s words floating through my iPod:

“Tonight, I hold this candle…in memory of youHoping someway, somehow
My love will shine through.
I close my eyes, lost in the glow
There are so many things
I want you to know.
This candle says I love you
This candle says I miss you
This candle is saying, I remember you.
When I’m holding it toward Heaven
It feels like you are near.
If you’re looking down tonight,
and see this candle burning bright
It’s says I’m wishing you were here.”

  1. Debra says:

    I love the story and the tattoo. Thanks for sharing your inner most thoughts. Hugs, Debra

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