Do you know what this image stands for? Do you utilize your DASH? What’s with a DASH anyway?
We all have a DASH. Let me tell you about my younger brother Tom’s DASH.
Tom when he was about a year old
Tom was born on October 5, 1965. Tomorrow should have been his 52nd birthday. He was the second son born to my parents. He had a bit of a rough time when he was young (ADHD), though our dad got quite a kick out of him and his antics! 🙂 He tried not to laugh as he was listening to Mom tell him what Tom had done this time or that time, in order to determine how many spankings Tom would have to endure, but sometimes he just couldn’t help himself! Of course, those were the times that Tom would always try to replicate, just to get the attention and another laugh or two out of our dad.
Tom is in the front row on the left. Do you see that smirk on his face? Whatever he did, it made me burst out laughing!
I used to get so darned aggravated at Tom when we were in elementary school! When he wouldn’t do his school work, or threw a fit or for whatever reason, he’d get sent to the principal’s office and they would call our dad to come pick him up. I was the only calming influence in his life at that time so every time he’d get sent to the principal’s office, I’d get called out of class and have to go sit with him until our dad came and picked him up. Then I was not just aggravated that I was called out of class, I was even more aggravated that Tom got to go spend the rest of the day with our dad while I had to go back to class!!!
Tom is on the far right in the photo above, we are standing with our dad.
Little did we know that we’d be left orphans by the time I was 12-years-old. My three brothers were raised in Missouri and I was sent from to a couple of bad foster homes (bad and sad circumstances in one of them) before I went to live with an aunt and uncle in Nebraska. I really missed my brothers. I didn’t realize it until I was in my late teens, but once I was old enough to find my way back to them, I made sure that’s where I ended up.
Unfortunately, Tom continued to have problems. He had mental health problems, most likely inherited from the maternal side of our family. He hated the way the medications that were prescribed to him made him feel so he would self-medicate with alcohol and later with other substances. He was in prison more than half of his adult life but it didn’t matter to me, I loved him unconditionally and made sure I told him so, each and every time I wrote and talked to him.
There were a couple of years, though, when he was on the straight and narrow. He was so very proud of his sobriety and I was so very proud of him, too! And during those two years, he helped create a very special delivery by way of his son, Cody. I was attending classes at Mizzou on the day that Cody was born, but he was born at the University of Missouri-Columbia Hospital, so I wasn’t too far away from them. As soon as I was finished with my classes, I went over to visit Tom, his wife and Cody. I will never forget the look on Tom’s face when the nurse showed me his son through the hospital window. Pride, love, awe, excited and nervous all shown through his face and in his eyes.
Tom with Cody on the day that Cody was born
He loved Cody to pieces! Tom’s wife divorced him when Cody was quite young but that didn’t stop Tom’s love for Cody, if anything, it made his love that much stronger.
Once Cody was all grown up, along came Tom’s granddaughter, Mylah in 2013. Once again, Mylah stole his heart the day she was born and every day thereafter. Oh how he loved Mylah, and he loved being a grandpa!
Papa (pronounced Paw Paw) Tom and his granddaughter, Mylah
Mylah, Tom’s Granddaughter & Cody, Tom’s Son
He loved her so much that when Cody moved to Colorado, Tom moved there, too. Just because he needed and wanted to be close to her. Cody was a shy child but not Mylah! And, just like Dad, Tom got a kick out of Mylah’s antics. He even encouraged her to do them, too!
The whole point of this blog post is about Tom’s DASH and I have yet to talk about it. Read on!
Tom was an amazing carpenter! If it involved anything to do with building a house, remodeling a room or building things with wood, Tom was your man. He made and sold toy boxes, including one for Mylah.
A Toy Box Made by Tom
He also made intricate baskets out of pine wood. He sent me one and I was floored at how truly fabulous it was. He hid the nails on them so well that you couldn’t see and/or find them!
A Basket Made by Tom
A DASH is found between the born date and death date on a tombstone. Tom passed away on 1/2/2017. His DASH was the legacy of his carpentry that he left behind for those he loved and for those who he sold his wares to. I thank God that he gave me Tom. And I praise Him for Cody and Mylah, too.