Thursday September 26, 2013 started off like any other day; I woke up, got ready for school and prepared myself for classes completely unaware that I would end up in the hospital later on that day.
The entire week was filled with drama leading up to Thursday, my friend and another girl in our grade had been arguing, and today they finally fought. When I heard the news, I walked around the entire school to look for her, I found her in the administrator’s office documenting her account of what happened. Without asking, I helped her gather her belongings off of the floorand waited with her until she was ready to go home. While I waited with her I called my mother, I told her what happened and asked her if it was okay for me to leave with my friend, and she said yes.
When I got to her house, my cousin called me and asked me if I wanted to go to the mall with her, I gave her the address to my friend’s house and told her to come and get me. As I put my phone down it started ringing again, it was my dad calling, which never happens. Confused, I picked up the phone and said “hello?” he asked me for my mother’s work phone number which confused me even more, as I tried to ask questions and figure out what was going on, he had already hung up the phone. Immediately after, I hear a horn blowing outside, it was my cousin. I said goodbye to my friend and walked outside to the car.
As I fastened my seatbelt my phone rang, it was my dad, again. As I fixed my mouth to say hello, my dad said “listen to me Noelle, I need you to stay as calm as possible, your brother was in a bad car accident and is being rushed to the hospital, meet me there as soon as possible.” My stomach was doing backflips; I hung up the phone and called my mother somehow able to relay the information through my waterfall of tears, she hung up the phone now just as distraught as me and told me that she was on her way to the hospital.” Without saying a word, my cousin and I changed routes from the mall and rushed to Bay State hospital.
We entered a waiting room full of praying family members where I sat down in disbelief. As I wrestled with the thoughts of how this could have happened, the doctor came out and explained the severity of my brother’s injuries, as I prepared myself to hear the worst, the doctor said “he’s stable and very lucky to be alive.” He was okay; I don’t think I’ve ever been more thankful.
Only a few short days later on September 28, 2013, the anxiety that I felt in the waiting room revisited me. I went to a football game with my cousins the night before, we went home exhausted from a great time. My sleep was cut short when I heard my mother yelling my name the next morning, “Noelle, John is on the news, he’s been shot.” I froze as the fear circulated through my body. I grabbed my phone and texted my cousins in hopes for them to tell me it was a mistake, but it wasn’t. I signed onto Facebook and saw a newsfeed full of “R.I.P. Pubi.”
I called my mother and shared the heartbreaking news through the same tears that I told my mother about the accident. He told me that he was coming to get me so that we could be with the rest of my family at my aunt’s house. We walked into a house of people who felt the same intense sadness, I sat to collect my scattered thoughts a second time. The news was on and they told the same violent narrative, not once highlighting the good person that he really was.
My thoughts hit me like a ton of bricks, “how could someone do this?” I thought.
They took a father from his kids, a husband, a brother and MY cousin; he was only 22 years old, I just didn’t understand. They didn’t have the right to take him from us.
Two years later, the loss feels like it was yesterday, my rage is still flared because my questions are still unanswered. Yet for these reasons and many more, his legacy will still live on forever.