My nephew Lewis Salvatore Brancati was born March 27, 1996, and died September 20, 2017. I miss him a lot. Here are my notes from my remembrance of him for his memorial service:
Jessi’s remembrance at Lewis’ memorial, October 2017
It’s hard to be here. But in doing this together, we are strengthening our picture and sense of Lewis, sharing memories so we can keep him vivid and warm and present in our hearts.
I only visited occasionally while Lewis was growing up. Lewis was the highlight of my visits. He loved the stories Greg invented for him. He loved playing and joking – and sometimes arguing – with Greg and Amy. He enjoyed and appreciated everyone in his extended family. I brought scarves from the thrift store, tied them on him, and we danced to the Gypsy Kings. Any other music was “too boring.” At night, he would fall asleep to rap on the radio, four-letter words and all.
Lewis was in love with quirky humor and ideas and fashions (like his t-shirt I’m wearing) and music and the Internet. He was so curious and wanted to learn all the things – from building computers, to playing an accordion he picked up at a thrift store, to reading unusual books, cooking lasagna with Luke, and learning his father’s skills. Greg had been setting up workbench space for them to work together.
Lewis was still exploring life. He hadn’t found his life’s work to hold onto. But he held onto people. He had so many friends, and was so accepting and compassionate. He collected things, but he also collected people.
He was so generous from an early age. We were at a concert in the zoo, and we heard a baby nearby. Lewis decided he had to share his grapes with this baby. Amy and Greg told him not to pester the family, but Lewis insisted. You just had to give in, he was so stubborn.
Later as a teen he asked Amy and Greg to share their home (specifically the treehouse) with a couple of friends who did not have a good place to stay.
Sometimes he could be shy, even withdrawn sometimes, or maybe I was only seeing him mirror my tendencies in our relationship. Regardless, I’ve made a resolution to reach out even when I’m pulled to isolate.
I still sometimes get upset with the universe that he’s gone and upset that sometimes he felt the harsh aspects of the world very strongly. A couple of weeks before his accident, he changed his Facebook profile picture to show the lyrics from a very sad song, Mad World.
But I will keep Lewis with me. Any time I try something new and feel the flame of curiosity and think, Lewis would be so interested. Any time I reach past my shyness to connect with new or old friends, Lewis will be with me. Any time I laugh with someone in delight, not at them, Lewis will be laughing with me. And any time we, the people who loved him, are together in this mad but also beautiful world, Lewis will be with us.