A little girl who had just come from the first funeral she had ever attended approached her father with a confused look on her face.
“Daddy, when we were standing outside the church, I heard some people saying that it takes a year to get over someone dying. I think that’s terrible. How can you get over it? I would always miss that person,” she said.
“Don’t worry, sweetie,” her dad replied. “You always miss someone you love. But you have to go through every special occasion, like birthdays and Christmas, to find out just how much. You’ll miss that person forever, but, after a year, you’ll always know how much.”
And so it is that we mark the first anniversary in heaven of the architect of this column, Mr. Thomas G. Kane. His was a presence impossible to miss, as he was always the biggest personality in the room. He had more friends than even he could count, mostly because he made each of them feel like they were among his closest.
“To walk two blocks with him could take an hour,” his wife Ellen once said.
Because his friends were so important to him, and he to them, we could think of no more appropriate way to mark his passing than to share a few stories about Kane from his friends that express how much they miss him.
All of us at the Bay Ridge Eagle were forever touched by Tom’s warmth and not a day goes by that we don’t strive to make him proud. This tribute column is just a small sampling of the love that continues to pour out from his loved ones on a daily basis.
Ellen herself observed, “If I had to write a funny memory, or when I missed him most, I would need a paper the size of the Sunday Times! Every second of every day.”
That sentiment seems to run through the hearts of his friends, as well. Here is just a small sample of the notes we’ve received about TK as the unhappiest of anniversaries approaches.
“If everyone who knew Tom Kane were to send in one funny memory they shared with him, the Bay Ridge Eagle would have to be the same size as War & Peace. I think I will go with the “when you missed him most” theme. Obviously, the Final Four party at Pipin’s Pub comes to mind. A more personal moment came last August when I saw Bob Dylan at the Convention Center in Asbury Park. This was the first time I didn’t have to call TK that night or the next day with a review of the show. It seems impossible that it is a year already. There is hardly a day that goes by when something doesn’t trigger a thought of Tommy. Pretty much every one of these thoughts and memories quickly brings a smile to my face. You are missed, my friend. Happy first anniversary in Heaven.” … James DeLorenzo
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“A few thoughts about my friend TK. I remember how, each and every year, around the end of September, we would be at work and I’d ask him, “Are you going to be up on the avenue Sunday at the Third Avenue Festival?” He would always reply, “No way; I hate that thing!” Now, we all knew that was the furthest thing from the truth! He’d be there from sunrise to way past sunset, stopping by every single bar, restaurant and store from Pipin’s to the Three Jolly Pigeons. It was hilarious to watch him go up and down Third Avenue, meeting everyone he knew — which was just about everyone! He lived for that first weekend in October on Third Avenue. I’d have to say that, over the past year, there have been more than a few times I’ve missed my old friend. We grew up together: myself, Tommy and James DeLorenzo. It really hit home for me on Christmas Eve. I brought my two sons into Pipin’s to watch the Jets and Giants do battle. It was just odd to be standing there against the wall with my two boys and not having “Uncle TK” there shooting the breeze with them. That moment really made me stop and take notice about how much I miss my dear friend and how all of us have lost both a great friend and a great influence in our lives.” … Jack Sullivan
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“I don’t have a specific memory because there are so many. I just have the memory of how important he made every single person feel that he came in contact with. He had a way of making you feel like his best friend. It was a gift he had. And I can never forget his anniversary – he died on my birthday. It makes me sad, but, in a funny way, it also makes me feel important. Go figure.” … Laurie Oliver
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“I missed him at the annual holiday dinner at Two Toms. I do have a funny memory of him getting mad at us when he coached us in little league for not listening and horsing around. Now, when the boys and girls who I coach tune me out and I get mad at them, I feel like he is looking down laughing at me and shaking his head and saying, “I told you so!” … Sean Ingram
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“This is a story I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. It was our senior year at Xaverian and we were on a ski trip in Glens Falls, N.Y. I cut my leg horsing around in the room with Kane and a bunch of other guys. It was a pretty bad gash, so they took me by ambulance to the hospital. Of course, Kane came with me and it quickly became the funniest ambulance ride of all time. He had the paramedics in stitches and I could not stop laughing, even through the pain. Today, I still have a huge scar on my thigh, but every time I look at it, a big smile and a good feeling comes to me. As far as scars go, this one’s a true winner, but I’m really glad it’s there.” … John Vacante
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“This past year, I got the job coaching Varsity football at Christ the King High School. If Tommy were alive, he would have been one of the first to congratulate me and, in his own words, tell me how proud he was. I love Tommy and miss him every day. He will be forever in my heart. And I know that we will meet again someday and I’m sure we will be belting out some type of Dylan song like we always did.” … Neil O’Donnell
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“I can’t believe it has been a year already. Tom gave me a gift a long time ago of a framed passage from Ecclesiastes 6:14 that still hangs on my wall. It makes me think about him every time I pass it. It reads, ‘A faithful friend is a sure shelter. Whoever has found one, has found a rare treasure.’ He was such a large figure in so many people’s day-to-day life. We were all richer in our lives to call him a friend. I think about him often.” … Tony Vella
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“I remember laughing as the whole saga of the Red Sox collapse unfolded in September. I know he’d have been furious as he watched them give away a playoff spot with their completely inept play. But I laughed when I thought he might’ve been a little bit forgiving when he found out they were drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse during games.” … Eddie Mayrose
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“So, goodbye, my friend. I know I’ll never see you again. But the love you gave me through all the years, will take away these tears. It’s okay, now. Goodbye, my friend.” … Linda Ronstadt