How when losing one, you become one.

(left) Tommy’s ashes & toy - tommy in suit - me, tommy, & my dad (right side) my tattoo

First off, hello, my name is Haven. I’m from NY, not the city. This tattoo tale is one of many things that broke me, and taught me to rise from the ashes as a better more compassionate version of myself. This story is hundred percent based on my life experience from this past May.

Some back story, Thomas S. was my fathers bestfriend and my “Uncle” Tom as long as I could remember. In 2011, sadly he passed away from an OD in a devastating way. Our family but especially my dad was heart broken.. He had lost his bestfriend honestly like losing his brother.

Around the time of his passing our dog Izzy was pregnant and very close to giving birth, could’ve happened any time really. The night after Thomas’ funeral, I woke up in the middle of the night cause Izzy was moving around next to me in bed. At first I just shoved her so she’d quit or settle down. When I came to a little more I realized there was an unusually weird thing I’d never seen laying aside her in a sack like coating. “Mom! Dad! She’s having the puppies! Quick, hurry!”

The four of us were ecstatic! Knowing it was coming soon still was no preparation for the surprise. Details and icky stuff aside, an hour later 6 beautiful Pit-Mastiff puppies with closed eyes and white fur just like Izzy’s. All but one, that one was the only male. The only fond colored pup from the litter. White feet and tipped tail along with one dot on his neck. Prior to them being born we had decided to keep one, dad didn’t want animals. Of course, strongest and only male we kept and named, Thomas.

Thomas was the best most loyal, most gentle giant. Ferocious bark and stature but honey eyes that went all to well with his sweet loving character. With time and various difficult life changes he became exceptionally human like. He’d stretch and howl at you if you dared to not give him some of your food like dad ALWAYS did. Roll around on a paved road legs up wiggleing. In a field or neighbors lawn, you’d be lucky to get him to get up and continue the walk. Dad would bend down and look for fleas on him while he sun bathed. Which is when we nicknamed him, superdog because he “soaked In the sun for strength” my dad joked.

Then he got a Superman dual-sided bedset from Walmart and superdog became official with a dog suit Superman costume, cape included. He wouldn’t let us take it off of him for a week. He was adorable the cape plus his squeaky toy trust issues. It never ever ever ever ever left his mouth, if it did we didn’t see it he made sure of that.

Cut to May 2020, he was 9 years old. Still super, still stingy with squeaky toys, still sweet as ever and as hard as I worked to help cope his separation anxiety from my mom leaving my dad and taking Izzy. Struggling when loud bangs or certain sensitivities he’d developed scared him. He would shiver or shake, it made me so sad because all I could do was hug him and hold his ears till shakes passed.

May 18th, 2020; On a nice night with a good dinner, a clean house, quietness made peace before dad said goodnight so he could rest up for his first day at a new job the next morning. Six gunshots rained through our home, in what felt like three seconds, but had sounded like a crowbar banging at the front door hinges.

I can say no one deserves this traumatic experience or the PTSD it came with. I’m also gonna add my father and I were no where near the type of people that you’d find “fitting” for a lifestyle involving drive-by’s or gun violence that irrational. Although like I said no one deserves to be a victim of this. For my own reasons the details of circumstances I’ll exclude, frankly it’s too complex to explain within the word limit.

I’m grateful God spared me or an angel protected both me and my father. Although that night, one bullet, took the most innocent soul of all; gaining god another angel. Yet, ripping away my baby- a family member- a beloved buddy to all he encountered- who my dad found companionship in like one rare he lost, and a reason to keep keeping on no matter what, Tommy.

Were still missing you around at dinner, or in my arms, walking in the house from shopping all day to your greetings. Losing Tommy was indescribable for me.. That will be the worst night I’ve ever lived through till I die. Not only because of how scared he must've felt shot and shellshocked.. but because I saw my dad lose the sliver of faith he had clung to from the loss of his bestfriend. The sliver made it bearable when he believed tommy was a little bit of Thomas. His strength is one rare as this world will ever know or see, let alone comprehend. To face the landslide we did and still put himself together and go to work, like the world wasn’t off it’s axis. Because he had to; for that I’ll forever see him as Superman.

Tommy may be gone but never forgotten. I tattooed the iconic kryptonian “L house” symbol over my heart to represent and remind myself of strength. But more importantly, to assure my superdog and my Superman will be carried inside of it for as long as it’s still beating.

Read next: Allie on the Sand
Haven centi

See all posts by Haven centi