Tag Archives: loss

Rest In Peace, Bubba: Second Anniversary


Two years ago today, it was a Thursday…and I woke up to a series of phone calls that changed my life, forever. I still can’t believe that I have gone this long without seeing your face. I now understand why I had that overwhelming urge to tell you that I loved you the night before…and boy, am I glad that I did. I am so glad that I made sure to tell you so much. I’m so glad that we were so close and I spent every minute with you possible. That also makes it so much harder.
What makes it easier for me, is knowing that it was at the fault of no one at all that we lost you..the fact that, you started your life with our parents believing that they would never even take you home alive. The fact that, you had such a short life expectancy, and you well outlived that.
It helps me, knowing that you are out of all your pain, that you saw and felt constantly. For I know, that every feeling of sadness that I have is pure selfishness. And I am not putting myself down for that. If there was ever a moment in my life where I deserved to be selfish, it is in, missing you. But, that’s also my biggest help moving on. The fact that all of those feelings, every last one of them…are feelings of selfishness because, I miss you and want you in my life, physically. I know you are in a far better place now and you are no longer enduring constant pain. But, no one in this world will ever be able to replace my funny, one of a kind, big/little brother.

I just ask that you remain with us everyday. I want you to watch over mom and dad. I need you to be there while your niece is growing up. Don’t think for a second that, I’ll make being my big brother any easier, just because you are now in the after life. Please know that no one will ever take your place and my children will know their Uncle Martin, as well as possible. I know you are here with us because, every time I ask Blayden where Uncle Martin is, he reaches for your urn or your picture. That still gets me.

I love you with all my soul & I miss you every day, Bubba.

Love always,
Fani

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Life Lessons from a Hidden Hero


Today I’d like to share with you the stories and lessons of a ‘less fortunate’ man, who taught me so much in the few years that I knew him. He was a simple man but, he had a heart of gold. I am truly saddened that I couldn’t see my buddy one more time before his last day here on Earth:(
This is my recognition Of Tony “Cookie” “Billy” Parker.

In early 2008, I started working at a bar, downtown in New Iberia, La. One of my best friends, Kristen, worked there and I was always visiting with her. So, when they needed a replacement girl, fast, I gave it a go.

Kristen and I would go hang out with each other for our slow, afternoon shifts. People really didn’t start coming downtown until about 8, so it could be a little boring sometimes when you have to start working at 3:00PM. I hadn’t been working in the bar for very long, when one afternoon, Tony walked in. On this particular day, I was sitting at work, with Kristen as my sole ‘business’. It was early and we had nothing to do.

By first sight, the man was unkempt. His beard was patchy and unshaven, he’s clothes were old and beat up, and the smell…oh, the smell. I instantly felt sorry for him. Then, something I am ashamed of happened..-I got scared. He scared me. He was dirty and couldn’t talk correctly. I did not know what to say or do with him but, I didn’t have the heart to just snarl at him to leave because, he simply looked unpleasant. So, instead, I just watched him.

He walked around aimlessly for a few minutes and talked to Kristen. He has a very crucial stutter and, though he did aim some comments in my direction, I did not understand a word that he said. But, Kristen did. She sat there and talked to him and laughed with him for about 10 minutes before he happily hopped back on his bike and pedaled away.

When he left, I was still dumbfounded. Who is this guy? How does Kristen know him? What on Earth did he say to her? What was so funny? HOW DID SHE UNDERSTAND HIM?! So, I did what any curious young lady would do- I asked.

Kristen began explaining to me how she knew, Billy (which is what everyone thought his name was at the time). She explained to me that, with patience, she has learned to understand him (kind of like we have to do with toddlers and small children who don’t speak clearly yet). She also explained to me that he would come and hang out with her everyday, so she wouldn’t have to be alone and bored when I was not there. But, what she told me next is really what stopped me in my tracks.

Kristen began to tell me how the public treated this friend she had, that was so kind to go and visit with her every day. She told me about the rude comments and how people would throw quarters at him because, sometimes he would ‘beg’ for change. Every word that slipped from her tongue was like another dagger to my heart. Why did this man have to be treated so badly? Simply because, we didn’t understand him? And that day, I decided that I was going to do just that. I decided that maybe my friend was on to something. Why judge this man? He certainly looks like he already has a rough enough life. Why couldn’t I just slow down and try to understand him? Why couldn’t I be his friend too? So, I did.
And that man changed a part of who I am, forever.

See, what I learned when getting to know Tony, was this- don’t judge a book by its cover. We can’t always just fear the unknown. That means we are scared to grow.

I did take the time out to get to know Tony. And honestly, what would I have done with those boring hours anyway? Why spend them ignoring one of the few people around, who is just trying to feel accepted? Maybe we really aren’t that different. After all, isn’t acceptance one of those things that everyone strives for? So, I let myself be open to getting to know Tony.

In the years I worked in the bar, I saw somethings happen to Tony that made my heart cry out. He’s been called a bum, useless, and a crackhead. People usually thought he was homeless. I’ve seen this man be belittled, shunned, kicked out of places for his appearance, and simply ignored or made to feel wrong because, he had the nerve to even walk by someone who thought that they were better than he. And the facts are, those people will NEVER be half of the man that Tony was because, they don’t have the heart. Tony was misunderstood, not a bad person.

The amazing part about Tony was, no matter how bad anyone else treated him…he knew we loved him and he was our buddy. It never failed that he would come right back later, or the next day, with that same huge smile on his face.

Upon getting to know Tony, I learn that, if he slowed down..he won’t stutter. I learned that he is NOT a crackhead. He was simply born with a slightly slower learning ability and was kept uneducated by whomever he lived with, so they could get his check every month. A check that Tony never personally saw. He would sit and talk to me for hours. It was all starting to make sense.

People may think it was weird but, Tony and I formed a real bond. A real friendship. He was really a person and I really accepted and respected that. He’d show up when I was closing and stay with me sometimes just to make sure I was ok and not alone that late at night. I used to give him rides home, after he’d help me clean the bar. He would even tell me what road to drop him on because, ‘where he lived wasn’t safe for a pretty girl like me.’ I’ve watched this man work for hours to earn $20, then turn around and buy a daiquiri from me JUST so he could tip me. ( he normally didn’t have money. I’d buy him a couple drinks every now and then but, he normally couldn’t afford to buy anything for himself.). I’ve watched him proudly accept a suit and put it on. We had a dress code at the bar that I worked at, at that time. That night, he walked in looking spiffier than ever, in his suit. He had the biggest smile that I had ever seen, on his face.

I even once watched him refuse $50 that someone offered him. And when they asked him why, he simply replied, “I didn’t earn it.” Now, don’t get me wrong. Tony would ask us for quarters and he’d take a couple of dollars if you gave it to him. But, I guess, when it was small amounts from a bunch of different people, he didn’t feel like he’s putting them out. Because, he would not take that much money from this guy who was just offering it to him. I felt so proud of this man. He had nothing yet, he wasn’t going to take that large of a hand out, without working for it. And, just so you all know, the guy offering the money spoke with one of the bar owners and worked out a deal of Tony mopping the floor that night, for his $50 payment. Everybody wins.

When I would have to work doubles, all weekend for festivals, he’d show up on his bike with plate lunches for me. I normally didn’t eat them but, only because I really was not sure where they came from. However, I never let him know that. I would kindly thank him and visit for a while. I would then slide my plate lunch under the bar because, I couldn’t eat it with customers, anyway. It warmed my heart that my friendship was so important to him.

As time went on, more and more people did warmup to Tony. There are lots of people out there who love him. It never stopped the bad completely but, as time went on..he made more and more friends. Our friends would question us and we’d explain. Luckily, good, compassionate people do still roam this world.

Tony always just wanted to laugh, hang out, and be accepted by everyone he would meet. He actually had a good sense of humor and tried his best to keep us laughing. He is one of those treasures that most people don’t have because, they don’t bother to notice or worry with him. Some people just didn’t have the compassion, patience, or desire to try to know who he was. Tony just wanted to have friends and be someone’s friend. I truly believe that he tried to do the best that he could, with the hand that he was dealt.

I’m very sad to say that I hadn’t had the pleasure of talking to Tony in a year or two. I am a few years past my ‘going out’ phase and my life has been pretty overwhelming for the last two years. I actually tried waving to him, when I saw him on his bike a couple of weeks ago. He didn’t see me. Today, I am feeling very sad that I did not turn around that day and go say hi like I wanted to. I will miss my ol’ buddy. But, I will never forget the memories that we shared, the beautiful heart that he had, or him.

Anyway, I don’t want to make today’s post too long and drawn out.
I would simply like to leave you with this thought:

Look around you today. The sun is shining and the birds are chirping. No matter what is going wrong in your life right now, it’s still life and it’s still beautiful. If Tony can smile everyday, so can you. And next time you see a random stranger or someone who seems less fortunate, don’t fear and judge them. Embrace and show love to everyone, regardless of age, race, social status, etc. You truly never know who has a beautiful heart hidden in them and what unexpected lessons you will learn from opening yourself up to something you aren’t familiar with.

I dedicate this post to Tony Parker, a hidden hero. A man who probably never knew how much he taught me and how big he opened my heart. I don’t think he ever knew how much he mattered to a lot of people. May you rest in Peace, Tony. A Teacher of great lessons and a hero that was hidden amongst us.

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…So, Here I Am.


It’s been a little over a year, since my brother passed away. I think of him and miss him everyday. I know that I have stated before that he was my best friend in the world. And when you are that close to someone, you never really know what will bring all those memories, of that person, crashing back down on you…until you lose them, and then stumble upon one of those little somethings.

I think I’ve been doing a very good job at ‘moving on’ from my brothers death. Don’t get me wrong, it will never stop hurting. I will never stop missing him. I will never wake up without the memories of my brother nor will I ever, stop wishing that he was here. However, time does teach you lessons in handling things. And, it does get easier to handle, just a tiny bit, everyday.

But, then there are those days, when you are just minding your own business..and you run along something. And for some reason, that random little thing, brings with it so many feelings and images.

So, here I am. Going through this bag of shirts, that used to belong to my brother. I am holding together seemingly well. I’m excited about this project. I am planning to make my mom, dad, and I each a throw blanket with his old shirts.

Then, as I dump out the bag full of t-shirts and polos; out rolls a bottle of medicine. Martin was on many different medicines that he had to take, every single day, in order to keep his body functioning and himself alive.

And here I sit. With this medicine bottle. You can tell that half of the label has been rubbed against over and over. The paper is peeling and rolling off in little pieces. I can’t even tell what medication it is. Not that I would be able to pronounce it, anyway. Something or other ‘-talopram’. I’m just sitting here, examining this bottle, with tears welding up in my eyes. Of all his things that I have…why does this medicine bottle conjure up such deep feelings?

Maybe because it’s a vivid memory that I have of him? Maybe just because, it is something that I haven’t had to ‘deal’ with or see since he has been gone..

I’m really not sure what it is about this old, beat up medicine bottle but, it sure does hit my ‘feelings button’.

Have you ever lost someone really close to you? What random things remind you of them? How do you deal?

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Ode to Martin: Life Lessons From An Old Friend


This is a blog post written by my Uncle, Tommy Landry, right after my brother’s death. I really, really wish I had a Link to the original post to share. However, it has been quite sometime since he has posted it. I feel extremely fortunate that I could even dig up the actual post content. (Only because, I saved it. Due to it being a great piece of work). I think this pretty much sums everything up.
And I’m betting on my Uncle not getting too upset with me for re sharing this post.

Tommy Landry, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Real-Time, Social Media wrote:

“Today I write this blog post with a heavy heart. Just last night, we returned from a trip back home to visit my family. Normally, a trip like this is filled with joy and laughs, sharing stories, and general goodness.

This time was different. You see, 2012 has been a tough year for all of us. We lost my last two grandparents in March and July. Last week, we lost my 26-year old nephew. My sister’s son. The baby I rocked to sleep when he was just a tiny little guy back in the late 80s.

Martin LeBlanc
Nov. 7, 1985 – Oct. 18, 2012

Martin was a very special person. He was born with a list of health issues including dwarfism, adrenal problems, and a sunken septum. We knew his life would be shorter than most of us. But with medical advancements and hope, we watched as he grew into a man.

It wasn’t easy. Martin had frequent blood sugar crashes and needed daily medication to sustain stability. He was under constant watch, and for good reason. My sister and mother were absolute saints, tirelessly monitoring his condition, jumping in to take care of him when needed, and getting him medical care when he needed it, even in the middle of the night or when traveling on vacations.

Martin also had huge challenges in dealing with his condition. Drinking was a vice of his, one that made the condition worse. He used it as a crutch, particularly after he made a mistake that prevented him from chasing his dream of taking part in the fire department. The kid had a tough life, there’s no question about that.

But in spite of the cards he was dealt, Martin had a great heart. He was always there to make people laugh. When anyone was down, he propped them up and told them it would be okay. At times he covered it in a veil of anger, but what he really wanted most of all was to be loved and accepted. And to help others in any way he could.

The past week has been very difficult. But it came with a great deal of reflection. In reflecting, I realized that Martin’s life illustrated some very important lessons that we should keep in mind both personally and professionally. I want to share those with you today. So I offer you an Ode to Martin.

Lesson 1: Be Brave
How many times do you find yourself shuddering at the thought of taking on a huge problem? Or having to face the music for a mistake you made?

It can be all too easy to be afraid and run away from problems. But most of them will pale in comparison to what Martin lived through. Every day, he had to be brave from the moment he woke up. Any day could have been his last. But he gutted through it, and so can you.

Lesson 2: Take Action Now
What goals do you have in front of you? Have you started pursuing them? If not, why not?

We are all here for a limited amount of time. For each and every one of us, that timeline is unique and unknown. Are you living the life that makes you happy? Or are you waiting to get to it “some day”?

Martin took the time to make small differences in the world every single day. He knew he had to live now, because his days were limited. He was putting forth effort to be the best person he could be and making real progress, if only the clock allowed him more time. Sadly, his is a story that will remain unfinished, much to my and my family’s chagrin.

“Some day” may never come. Get off your rear and make it happen now. If ever “Carpe Diem” were appropriate, this is it.

Lesson 3: Don’t Take Time or People for Granted
Ever since he was a kid, there was rarely a trip back home where I didn’t at least get to see and say hello to Martin. In July, when I was there for my grandmother’s funeral, we never managed to connect.

Thankfully, my (brilliant) wife urged me to call him after we returned home, and he answered the call (we never talked on the phone because he hardly ever kept it with him and answered). We had a nice conversation which lasted maybe 10 minutes, but I was able to tell him I missed him and wished we could have gotten together.

We are all busy. There are only so many hours in the day, days in the week, etc. It takes effort to consciously do the most with your time, to be productive, and to fit in all the people who matter. When it is so easy to just text message, tweet, or otherwise avoid taking real time to focus on an issue or a person, we can lose sight of what is important.

Every second and every person matters. Appreciate the opportunity to spend the time while you still can. Before you know it, you may run out of chances to appreciate some of the gifts life brings to you. This matters both personally and in the business world, more than many realize.

Lesson 4: Everyone Can Teach You Something
I meet a lot of people in my line of business and through networking. Too many folks focus mainly on the heavy hitters, the “up and comers”, and people with accolades. While there’s nothing wrong with that approach, it would be foolish to deny yourself the opportunity to learn a more well rounded set of lessons. This is found through everyone we meet.

Martin touched many lives through his sense of humor and supportive nature. He taught me that even physical shortcomings can be overcome, and you can still have that fire inside which lights up the lives of others. He was lucky to have the 26 short years he did have, and he lived a lot in those 26 years. And he taught something to everyone who was lucky enough to meet and get to know him.

Lesson 5: Learn From Setbacks, And Move On
This is perhaps the toughest one. Martin survived a litany of close calls and setbacks, many of which found him in the emergency room or laid up for a day or two. But he bucked up, pulled it together, and moved on each time. He knew that one day, he wouldn’t bounce back. It didn’t matter to him.

From my perspective, his passing itself has been a rather significant setback. Sure, it’s tough to lose not one, but two grandparents in a single year. But they had long lucrative lives, one making it to 100 years old and the other to 98. I miss them, but they were ready for it. For the candle to go out on a 26 year old kid who was just getting his sea legs in place for life, that’s just plain tough.

This post is me taking my own advice. Martin wouldn’t want us to despair over him. He specifically told us not to mourn, but to throw him a “party for the ages” – that’s our Martin! In honor of his wishes, I am learning and taking it forward with me, so he can live on through that influence.

This holds true for businesses as well. Things go wrong, sometimes very big things. The key is not to avoid mistakes, but to embrace them and grow from the experience.

Lesson 6: Be Who You Want To Be

Martin was a very vocal guy, and he really didn’t care if you agreed with the words he said or how he said them. This got him into trouble at times when he was a bit too colorful or blunt for some folks.

One thing about him though: He was who he was, and who he wanted to be. Don’t live your life or run your business to get approval from others. Crystallize the vision of what you stand for, and start acting on that vision today.

Final Word: Know a Hero When You See One
Heroes are all around us in everyday life. The guy in front of you at the grocery store, the kid who delivers your newspaper, even the janitor in your kid’s school could be carrying burdens that you simply cannot imagine. but they all keep their chin up and tackle life the best they can.

This was Martin. He was a hero in his own way. I respect and miss him, and I hope these thoughts help improve your day and your year in some small way. He’d be pleased.

Thank you for reading. Namaste.”

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Martini the Great. My Big/Little Brother


Today I am just reflecting on how I was somehow blessed enough to have this man as not only my brother, but my very best friend. He is without a doubt, Hero Status. I’ve learned so much, & will continue learning so much from him.

My brother struggled with many, many difficulties, from the day he entered this world. He was a dwarf and his condition was accompanied by many physical issues. His lifetime was full of surgeries, back braces, physical problems, physical set back, and the list could go on forever.

Despite all of this, Martin lead an extraordinary life. Don’t get me wrong…his struggles were very real. They have so much depth to them, that I pray most people don’t have to ever withstand in their lifetime.

Martin’s a very easy going guy who loved ALL of his family & friends. He has absolutely no problem meeting new people and he loved making new friends. Martin loved stand-up comedy and he aspired to be a stand-up comedian one day. Martin earned his associate’s degree in Criminal Justice. He was also a Volunteer Fire Fighter for 5+ years.

Martini (as I liked to call him) had No filter, he was an open book & always there for anyone who needed. Hilarious beyond reason. Biggest little guy around, without a doubt. Extremely intelligent, very open-minded, sarcastic, & blunt. A friend to everyone, Martin has always been a true angel.

After he left us, SO many people came in contact with me. Some of them just to let me know the impact he had on their life…while others, almost seemed to need to connect to me because, of how devastating it was to lose him. Martin struggled with suicidal like issues in a rough patch of his life. Little did we all know, that he was using these experiences to help others overcome their own self-harming thoughts, etc.

I couldn’t begin to imagine my life without the experiences/good times/crazy moments we shared. Truly one of the strongest people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Even when he hit rock bottom, he rose above it all. There will never be another man quite like this one. Dynamite sure does come in small packages.

Martin passed away respectfully & peacefully in his sleep. And he more than deserved to go peacefully. He had been having a lot of health complications within the entire year before he died. His passing was due to his low blood sugar. When he left us, he was in a sugar coma of sorts. And while this is sad…it also comforts me a little knowing that. In a sugar coma, you are well beyond having become aggressive, then delusional. Thus, even if he encountered pain, he probably was not aware of it.

He will forever watch over us.

I love you with all my heart & soul, Martin LeBlanc. I thank God for every day that I had you here with me…and for every day that I have you by my side as my angel. God bless your soul. You will always be the BEST BIG brother in the world. And you’ll always be my very bestest friend. There’s not a chance in the world that anyone could take your place. My heart is with you forever.

Rest In Peace Martini!

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Moving On.


Thus far, I can’t say that any point of my life has ever been boring, normal, or even made sense for that matter. But, what I can say is..it’s been interesting, surprising, a well rounded.

There’s no need to drag you into my younger years. I promise you that we do not have the time or the memories required, lol. However, I’d like to briefly cover the last couple years or so of it. Just so we can get to know each other a little.(:

I’ve met the man of my dreams, moved twice in a year, completed cosmetology school, found a job, and somehow acquired 5 dogs.

On the other side of things, I have dealt with alcoholic problems in my family, almost losing a very close friend, saying goodbye to my brother/best friend (RIP. that’s another post, another time), & helping my fiancé manage through discovering his father has cancer & losing him, all in less than a year.

Needless to say, there’s never a dull moment. I can’t say it’s a perfect life; but, I can say it always works out. It’s a beautiful mess that I have found myself in; though extremely hard at times..I wouldn’t want to change a thing about it.

Except maybe being pregnant. I’d like to have a baby. But, I’ll be patient, like a good little girl.

Until next time,
Love, Peace, & Rollerblading Llamas✌

Tiffani(:

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