Being woken up 15 minutes early to the second phone call from your father that night is never a good sign. Yet that is how my day started. Then I got the news that my cousin had been shot. No details yet that I am aware of as to who did it or why. Have yet to see anything about this one of likely thousands of shootings so far this year. I find myself occasionally tearing up and yet I still go on with my day. It's just another day of school. But what I ask myself now is "How am I supposed to react to this?" What can I possibly do? Should I try to heal myself or my family? Do I just worry about the future of my own life or do I think about today? Should I mourn or move on? So I have decided that I will do what I do best. I will blog about it and celebrate the life that I know of my cousin, Andrew. I think he would appreciate it.
Andrew was my role model for nearly my whole childhood. Anyone could tell that just by the shear fact that I wore hats, liked the Dallas Cowboys (yes in the Philadelphia area), and wanted to be able to do cool skateboard moves even though I couldn't even stand on one without losing my balance. He was the coolest kid I knew. He was the one that got the girls and could do anything manly you can conceive of as an 8 year old boy. We had our times as kids. Every summer we would stay at either his mom's place or my house. We biked and played games and ran through the hall and flipped on my parents bed and did any number of crazy boy things. We talked about girls of course. We played lots of videogames, it's funny because I actually played through the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater just the other week, one of our favorite games when we were kids. And my roommate just got a new edition of Need for Speed Hot Pursuit which was by far his favorite and because of that it was my favorite as well. We always put in the code to get the McLaren F1 car. It was the "fastest car ever" according to him. Of course I believed him, and to this day I would believe that. What I lack in knowledge of cars (which is a lot), he more than made up for. Always one of his passions, up until his final days.
So many stories of days we spent together as kids. The early morning visit to the hospital because my dumb sister decided to stick her hand on the stove. The deep gash in Andrew's leg that he sustained while trying to fix his bike. The times I used to join him for his allergy doctor visits. I always thought he would end up dying by a bee sting because he was so allergic.
Unfortunately after those many summers of hanging out, we ended up going our separate ways. We never really saw too much of each other. He did his stuff with friends and girlfriends and I did my school stuff. He was never much of a school person but like I said he didn't need it with his insane knowledge and love of cars. I don't think I could live a complete life and ever know as much about cars as he did when he was 12.
So the next thing I know I am a college student and he has a kid. The first of my grandparents' great-grandkids. Cutest little girl in the world. Little miss Cameron. I don't want to be too modest but I taught her how to put the shapes in the correct holes. That was all my doing (Haha I'm just kidding, but I totally did). He learned as much from her as she did from him. He was an excellent father to his little girl. I hope that I have that same opportunity, to be a great father to my own child some day.
Well I don't know what else I can say at a moment like this. I am almost unable to read the screen past these tears as I type. But I want to reiterate a point I made on facebook a short time ago. I am here for my family. I know that Aunt Sharon is probably having the worst time anyone can imagine.
But this is for you especially but for anyone else as well. You were blessed with a great son. He had a great life and a great mother and family. He was a great father and although his life has come to a tragic end, he will continue to live on through everyone. Maybe not his superhuman knowledge of cars but every other quality can be embodied by us mere mortals. And thankfully for us, he was able to pass on his legacy to Cameron. Your beautiful granddaughter. She will be our connection to him for the rest of our lives. Never forget you have family that is here for you. Having a positive psychology class I try to continue to think positive. One thing that I know to be true is that people always overestimate the duration of emotions. There will always be the twinge of sadness, but the majority of the sadness will diminish over time. We will get through this. I hope this at least slightly helps everyone.
I'm not going to be cliche and say rip or anything like that. I want to say:
Thank you Andrew for living your life and allowing me to experience it with you.