“It’s been a long day, without you my friend, and I’ll tell you all about when I see you again. We’ve come a long way, from where we began, oh I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again, when I see you again.” With this song on repeat for the last 24 hours I sit here now trying to type this out. I miss my older brother as much as someone can miss someone else that they’ll never see on this Earth again. I miss him an epic if not infinite amount. Not having that person that you used to look up to, learn from, try to impress, try to emulate their style, try to be “cool” in their eyes, is hard. I went from being a little brother to THE big brother overnight. The big brother of not only one kid or two or 3 but 4! That’s a lot of responsibility to get dumped on your shoulders all at once.
Previously, I never thought I had to be a role model for anyone because I always had someone to look up to myself, all of the younger siblings did… Now all of a sudden I’m the one that my siblings will come to with questions about life or when they need help with certain things throughout their days. I’m the one that’s supposed to protect them from kids picking on them, people hurting their feelings, teaching them about growing up, being respectful, teaching them about the opposite sex, showing them how to drive etc. Don’t get me wrong, my dad was around and did/does a fantastic job of being “dad”, but who can you turn to for a second opinion when your father tells you to do something and you have a different outlook on the situation. Who else can you talk to to bounce ideas off of? Who else can you talk to about your father and no one knows what you’re talking about better than your big brother? NO ONE can. That’s the answer.
Since the day that I got that phone call from my dad telling me that my big brother was “in a car accident” my life has never been the same. I was in college in West Palm Beach, FL and my older brother, Anthony lived in Cocoa Beach, FL just about 2 hours away. I’d been in college for a few months but only got to see my brother one time for a weekend while being down here. I WISH I had spent more time with him in person or at LEAST on the phone talking. It’s easy to look back and say, woulda, coulda, shoulda did this or that… that’s why I’ve learned when you feel something about someone, you should call them and tell them right then and there. We are NOT guaranteed to see tomorrow. We’re just used to waking up and seeing a new set of hours to live through, but what about all of the people that pass away everyday? Don’t you think they went to bed that night thinking they’d get that chance tomorrow too? We CAN’T take LIFE or the people in our lives for granted! We’re human, we make mistakes, we get lazy, we’re forgetful but we need to make a conscious decision everyday to let those that we love in this life, KNOW IT beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Back to the story… So my dad called me around 6-7 am and said you’re brother was in a car accident last night, he’s in the hospital. I’m in FL I flew in this morning, your uncle is coming to pick you up and bring you here. He wouldn’t answer any questions about how he was doing or was it his fault or someone else’s. The whole car ride up there I just kept thinking over and over in my head… I can’t wait to see the person that hit my brother… I don’t care if it’s a drunk driver, a young kid, an old lady, a nun, ANYONE who hurt my brother is going to feel my wrath when I get to that hospital. I never considered for a second that I might not get to speak to my brother ever again. I was filled with so much anger at “someone” who didn’t even exist, I couldn’t think clearly. When I got to the hospital, I went up the elevator and saw a few of my family members there talking amongst themselves. I saw my dad further down the hall. I walked towards him and he walked towards me with tears in eyes. I remember INSTANTLY feeling the world stop and time freeze for an instant. All I could think was, “Why would my dad be crying? Dad NEVER cries. What am I missing” As I was thinking all of that, my dad grabbed me, hugged me, and began sobbing in my ear. I looked over his shoulder and saw Anthony laying on a bed and just as I was looking him up and down to see what was wrong, where he was hurt, one of my little brothers, Christian came walking out of the room towards my dad and I. I remember also thinking…. WHAT THE HECK? My dad didn’t say Chris came with him on the plane. Why would Chris miss school and fly from NJ to FL? I heard my dad saying “he’s gone Nick,he’s in heaven. He left us. Your brother isn’t here anymore.” and then everything went silent.
I eventually broke from my dad’s grasp and walked around him and Chris into the room where I saw Ant laying on the bed. I didn’t see any bandages on his legs or his arms. Nothing on his chest of lower body. I was wondering what kind of “car accident” could this be if his whole body was intact, damage-free. I looked up and his head was wrapped in gauze. No blood was visible through the gauze. He was breathing normally, in and out. I couldn’t put two and two together. I tried talking to him and my dad came in. He said “Nick, he can’t hear you. He’s not with us.” I said “what do you mean, he looks FINE! How can he not be here?”.
I began to dissect the situation. I asked “Where is the person that hit him?Are they in this hospital too?”
My dad said, clear and plain, there was no car accident. Ant had shot himself the previous night. It hit me then. The only bandages were on his head but he LOOKED fine all over how could he NOT BE ALIVE? I grabbed his hand… tried moving it, squeezing it… talking to him, yelling… ANYTHING to see some kind of response from him. Maybe his eye lids move or something! There was no movement of any kind.
After so long of standing there in shock, staring at my big brother who I would never be able to “talk” to again… it hit me. This action, was his doing. At the end of the day, HE died doing what HE wanted to do. I was so angry before thinking that someone may have hurt him and put him in a hospital where he didn’t want to be. But after seeing the situation for what it was, HE put HIMSELF there. HIS ACTIONS. No one else’s. How can I be sad or mad at him for doing what HE wanted? What better way is there to go out in life that AT YOUR OWN WILL.
I am NOT saying anyone who wants to commit suicide should. I feel like NOTHING in life is SO bad that it should result in taking your own life. A LOT of people on this planet go through so many INSANE things, up and downs, bads, worse, and the worsts…. and still live today to talk about it. We ALL are on this Earth for a reason. We all have a purpose. Jayceon Taylor, aka The Game, said it well in his song “Rough” “We’re all born to die, some of us born to kill, if that don’t wake you up, I hope tomorrow morning will.” What I take away from that is that every single one of our lives have a “purpose” I’m not religious.. but I’m spiritual. I feel like if “God” felt it was time to take my brother’s life, or “have him take his own life” It must have been for a GOOD reason. Due to my older brother passing away, four other people who were in need of an organ donor had received one.
My older brother continues to live on not only in all who knew him and of him, but in four other individuals unknown to my family personally. We did receive a letter from the company that took Anthony’s organs, Translife, and donated them to VERY needing recipients. The first was a 46 year old woman from Florida with 3 children. Her own liver failed, so she required an emergent transplant to save her life. Anthony’s heart was gifted to a 67 year old gentleman in Georgia. His “new heart” started beating immediately and he made a speedy recovery. Ant’s two kidneys were transplanted to a transplant center in FL. The right kidney was gifted to a 36 year old woman who was on the transplant list for almost 2 years and suffered from Bergers Disease. She’s married with two kids. She’s a nurse at a central Florida hospital. His right organ was gifted to a 38 year old gentleman who is also married and has 2 kids. He works for the school district.
These organ donations makes me SO happy to hear because I know for a fact as a direct result of my brother’s individual choice to be an organ donor and his untimely transition, these deserving people can continue to “pay it forward” as long as they live! What better form of people helping people is there than literally GIVING a piece of yourself to another stranger. I’m not saying he knew that him killing himself was going to help these particular people. That’s not what I’m saying at all. What I am saying is that the day he decided to become an organ donor, he knew that whenever his time came, SOMEONE else in the world would benefit because of it… Do Good Why Not?!
Do I wish it was somebody else’s brother that passed away instead of mine? Who wouldn’t? Me. I believe Anthony passed to save those other people, and to inspire me to create EPIC GOOD. If God truly has a “plan” for us all… I believe everything that happens, good and bad, is a part of that plan. We may not understand it at that particular point in time. We may be angry, sad, confused, lost, hurting, and a million other emotions at that moment, but in time… we can eventually look at any problem with a clear head and try and find the GOOD in the situation. Believe me, there is GOOD in every situation. It y not always be for you, but not everything in this world is meant for YOU. If you can’t LEARN from every experience in life, what are you doing here?
At the end of all that I’ve just told you… what I hope you take from it.. is the fact that EVERYTHING you do in this life, is your choice. At least it should be. YOU ARE STRONG ENOUGH to do ANYTHING that you want to do on this planet. NOTHING is IMPOSSIBLE if you believe then you can achieve. Against all odds. There is always somebody out there who has it worse than you. Whatever your problem is… you can be productive because of it, or destructive… YOUR CHOICE!
We can ALL help somebody throughout our day. So why not do it? If you see someone struggling at some point in your day, be the helping hand you wish to see when YOU need one! Be the change you wish to see in the world. Wish there were nicer people out here? BE A NICER PERSON! ETC! PAY IT FORWARD. Kindness, good vibes, positivity, happiness, generosity, knowledge, and more are so easy to give! Share your smile with the world! Life is better when you smile.