On March 17th, 2017 my life fell into destruction. My ONLY brother unexpectedly made his transition into heaven. What made it more difficult was the fact he left so soon due to a murder. I remember that day as if it was yesterday. After contemplating multiple times on what I should say . . . I decided I’ll write this letter for you Tonito. This is all in the greatest hopes that you’re right next me as I’m writing all this down, and that what I say can help anyone suffering with a loss.
I know from above you witnessed everything that went on as we heard that you were gone, but you don’t understand the feeling. Receiving that phone call being told two bodies were found had my heart instantly drop. While panicking at work so many thoughts were flowing through my mind. But there was one question that made me sick to my stomach . . .
HOW IN THE WORLD DO I TELL OUR MOTHER?!
I been through many challenges in life, but doing this was torture. Never in a million years did I imagine I would have to break our mother’s heart with being the burden of horrific news. With hardly any strength left I had to overcome that fear and just tell her. We all knew something was wrong since you never came back home . . . but this was the least of our expectations.
You gained your wings alongside with your best friend. Both of you were sons, brothers, cousins, but most importantly you were fathers. They’re now three innocent children living day and night without their dads psychically next to them.
You spent everyday with your daughter Tianna. I look at her now and all I see is YOU. First real love, knight in shining armor, a role model, and more is everything you are to her. I’ll tell you one thing though . . . I know Tianna is in excruciating pain, but she’s extremely PROUD of you. Just by knowing that brings such warmth in my soul.
During this cruel act, your girlfriend was a few months pregnant. Now my youngest niece never got a chance to witness at least one kiss, one hug, or any simple touch from her father. Then again, God pulled through! He blessed our family with another part of you. Tianna and Aniya are growing by the second. It’s insane how much they both hold qualities that bring us to say
“That’s Tonito right there!”
Our family remains with that feeling of utter dread picturing a life without you. I have so much regret and despair that it’s a battle trying not to feel that way. But during these past 7 months I learned that everything we feel . . .is ok.
It’s easy to feel alone losing someone you knew all your life. What I always try to remember is that I am not alone. I find the comfort in others who feel the same way.
The pain will never come to an end, but I just follow few steps to help pull myself together. It’s hard to accept the reality of it all, but unfortunately it was not under our control.
Surround yourself with a support system:
Find someone who you can talk to whenever you need it most. Whether it’s a significant other, friend, or family member, anyone who you know will be there with open arms. Let all those flooding feelings and thoughts out! But only when you are ready!
Shed those tears:
Don’t allow yourself to feel that it’s not ok to cry. Our bodies need to cry! They say crying is a cleansing of the soul. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable, you are inviting others to be vulnerable around you. It’s like a chain reaction.
Do what you love:
Keep yourself busy doing what makes you happy. Though you’re hurting you still need to have some sort of happiness. Go achieve your goals, go out on an adventure, go read an inspirational novel. Losing your loved one is a terrible reminder of how life is too short. Don’t miss out on anything, your loved one would want you to be doing everything you ever imagined.
Cherish the memories:
Those carefree moments are the greatest! I enjoy looking back at old photos and home videos of Tonito and I. A smile begins to form because that was him at his happiest. Luckily enough I had those years to witness it all.
Keep their spirit alive:
Write a letter, talk to them, pray to them! Your loved one’s physical form isn’t around . . . but their spirit is near forever. I personally stare at the most recent picture of my brother and just talk. He’s listening to every word I say, watching everything I do. This makes me feel fully connected to him. The days we have Tianna over we have a blast! I play games with her that we played as kids, and I begin telling her silly stories about her father. She has so much joy hearing and experiencing what we did in a new way. Once Aniya is a bit older it’ll be the same plan for her. For now, I just sing to her made up songs and include her father’s name. Tonito you are there while it’s all happening, I can feel it!
We didn’t have the best brother and sister relationship. But yet . . . there’s a lot about our relationship that nobody knows. So I guess we did have a good one, it was just hidden. You hold so many secrets that I was afraid to express. Yes, there’s many messed up things we did to each other, but I’ll have it be known I rather go through all that bad again because it would never top to this horror!
I will continue to keep your memory alive! Thank you for not only being there the times I needed you, but being there for my children as well. September 17th, 2016 you baptized my daughter. I couldn’t have chosen anyone better to be the God father for her. Soon I’ll be having that same pride you felt to now become the God mother of Aniya.
I am trying . . . trying my best to not only keep myself in motion, but to make sure our parents have me anytime they need me. You protected all of us while you were here, and now it’ll be a stronger protection with you as our guardian angel.
Do you know how much you mean to me? If not then I pray you do now. Your suffering is no more, so I accept the fact you’re at peace. I remember telling you the meaning of my name. Your exact words were . . .
“Ahhh! You’re a gem! You’re a stone!”
Thank you for being overly tough on me throughout the years. You helped mold me into that gem, stone, woman I am today.
Forever I’ll be Antonio’s Emerald 💚
In loving memory of Antonio Vega Jr.