Author’s note: This was written in the wee hours of 19 April on the eve of 18 April, which is why it looks like I posted twice on the 19th.
The obituary on my cousin came out today. I still can’t believe he’s gone. We didn’t get to see each other often, but we were close. No matter how long we were apart, we could sit down and strike up a conversation as if we hadn’t had any time apart at all.
My great aunt, his mom, told me that she thinks we were a lot alike, Tom and I. Tom was outgoing, funny, intelligent, kind, and had one of the biggest personalities I’ve ever known. He was one of the first people I wanted to emulate. He went to college and later moved away from our family in Ohio to Florida to make a life for himself. I remember crying when he left, not realizing that I would do the same thing myself at the same age he was when he moved. I still moved south, but I came to Texas. When Tom heard about my job and move, he offered to let my parents use his air miles. I thought that was the sweetest gesture ever, and so did they.
I’ve been asked to take part in Tom’s funeral this week, something I view as an honor. But I can’t help but feel a little empty. None of this feels right. Maybe it’s because it was so sudden, or maybe because it’s Tom. I’m not sure.
When I get on the plane to go home in a couple days, I know I’ll be going to be with my family, to people who feel the same way I do. But it’s really going to hurt because one of the family’s biggest personalities will be missing. I’ll miss his smile, his stories, and – maybe most of all – the way he made people laugh.
Rest in peace, Tom. We all miss you.
Počivali u miru, Tom. Volim te.