(Right now, I’m focusing on my memoirist work that I’ll call, simply, “Pictures of Tommy” -- all about my psychotic brother and his legacy. If so inclined, please share, and tell me what you think. . . )
PICTURES OF TOMMY WE’D LIKE TO IMAGINE
Our brother, Tom, looking healthy and happy, with a mouthful of teeth. He is in his mid 50’s, a handsome, tall man of normal weight, maybe with a little potbelly in the middle. He stands beside his loving wife, a plump, sweetly smiling hippieish looking woman in her 50’s with blonde hair tied back in a ponytail, and two kids, two teenaged girls with goofy smiles.
(This is only imaginary because he lost his teeth, was obese with a gigantic belly, looked very unhealthy, about 20 years older than his chronological age, never had a real romantic relationship to our knowledge.)
Tom playing with a great rockin’ blues band, rockin’ out on his Fender Stratocaster guitar, trading licks in heaven with George Harrison, the former Beatle.
(Again, highly imaginary because nobody’s ever brought back pictures from heaven: Tom always adored Eric Clapton, the Beatles and THE BLUES, and was always jamming or trying to jam with other musicians.)
Tom in his home office/study, working intently on something musical or literary, his orderly, clean surroundings reflecting accomplishments & productivity.
(His reality was cruelly the opposite: Tom lived and worked in a wretched, filthy apartment, clutter and grime and cockroaches, mice and rats -- “Tiny Livestock” as my husband calls them -- swarming a small one bedroom ground floor apartment in a mid century red brick building in Woodhaven, Queens, New York. How he lived there, relaxed, wrote so many poems and was able to play music in those surroundings boggles some brains -- like mine.)
Here is a picture that Tom’s friend, Frank, sent to me in an email a few weeks after the funeral. Frank wrote, “The attached picture reminds me of Tom. Yes, he has been at least as special to Heaven as he is to us.”
It’s remarkable to me how much the man in the picture, embraced by Jesus on a throne in heaven, resembles my brother, Tom. I sure hope he is being embraced in heaven as he lived a hell on earth. . .