Tuesday, August 13, 2013

For the Love of a Friend...

In life, we encounter moments when words fall far short of capturing reality. This is one of those moments. Early Monday morning, I lost a sweet friend. While I am certainly not the only one suffering this loss, I can only offer you my experiences and perspectives. I wouldn't dare try to capture someone else's unique memories with David. If I had to write a biography on David Santucci, it would be incomplete. I don't know where he was born or what it was like to sit by him in class, but I could write you a hell of a few chapters on the years 2006 to the present. I met David Santucci, fondly referred to by many as "Tucci", during the summer of 2006. Having gone to high school together, I already knew of him. I had just transferred home from Knoxville with my friends and was trying to find my scene in Memphis in a post-high school world. I remember my friend, Sam Ward, was recovering from surgery or an ailment of some kind. He was having people over at his parent's house, and somehow Jenny and I were invited... and so kicked off the summer of 2006.

 I'm not sure if being 19 comes with an unparalleled energy, but I recall that we all hung out practically every day that summer. We created our own fun, day after day. That's how I got to know Tucci. He had a love for music, exercise, fitness, MMA, kickboxing, running, biking, medicine, and most obviously, a huge loyalty to his friends. When I wanted to start distance running, Tucci offered to run with me. We went to the sweet neighborhood beside the Pink Palace and ran six-miles. When I wanted to stop, Tucci was a strong voice of encouragement. When we would be in the thick of an impromptu party - because that is always how they began - Tucci would discipline himself to bow out early so that he could study. My strongest memory of Tucci's interests all center around medicine, fitness, and wellness. We had many long chats about those topics. Of course, we didn't stop there. We could all spend hours talking about religion and politics to the backdrop of Friends or Scrubs (or whichever show we were binging on at the time). He had an insightful soul and a sharp wit. Somewhere around 2008-2009, our group of friends dissipated for a time. I imagine that Tucci was going to school and staying focused like he had grown accustomed to doing. Then, in 2011, we started to see more of each other. Justin would start throwing his famous pool parties, and those attracted our group of friends like a moth to a flame. Justin described that he could go three months without seeing Tucci and pick up like they hadn't missed a beat. That's how I feel. When I saw him, he wanted to know everything about my Diabetes diagnosis and how I was doing. I could tell it was bothering him that I didn't fit the mold of the Diabetics he had learned so much about in school, but he went out of his way to offer me encouraging advice on how to manage it. I enjoyed his company during one of the Grizzlies' playoff games against OKC. I had people over at my parent's house to watch, and the night ended with Andrew, Tucci, Justin and me sitting at the Double J listening to my mom tell us hilarious stories. Tucci didn't care that we didn't have big downtown plans afterward. He was always content to be around friends. My most vivid, recent conversation with Tucci involved me venting to him about how I hate when groups of friends drift apart. People always get too busy and wrapped up in their own world, myself included. He reminded me that it would happen more and more as people started families. He said it so matter-of-factly. He mentioned that it was hard to be on a different page in life than everyone else around him in terms of marriage and family, but he had confidence that his time would come.

What sadness I have in knowing it won't. It can't, because his opportunity was stripped from him by the cowardly and cruel actions of a few people looking for their next wallet. Why these incomprehensible tragedies happen with such frequency befuddles me. When the shadow of tragedy looms this close to home, it has a much harsher impact. I don't want to dismiss the other victims of violent crimes. Their deaths, too, are senseless. They also leave behind friends and family. But here's the difference - our hearts ache when we read an article about the shooting of 27-year-old man walking to his car downtown. Hell, a 27-year-old man? I could read that article and picture any one of my friends. That's merely a description. This time, I knew the face. I knew the name. I wasn't hearing about someone else's friend. I was hearing about one of mine. Maybe it isn't right, but that's the difference.

I am a firm believer that goodness can come from tragedy.  Everyone knows I am the biggest champion of the city of Memphis. I detest that we are a city riddled with gun violence and gang-related activity, but it doesn't have to define us. Criminals exist in all shapes and sizes and manifest in all geographical areas. Cities, having a higher concentration of people, harbor a higher concentration of crime. Do we need to make strides? Absolutely. Long ones. Do we need to shake things up and get the right folk's attention? Perhaps, yes. I am not suggesting that any anger here is misguided. All of our emotions are natural reactions to a senseless series of events, but I would encourage us not to turn our back on the city or lose hope that humans can change for the better. I believe that David was aiming for a career in nursing because he was a believer in that very idea - that people can overcome their impairments and achieve wellness. Tucci wouldn't turn his back on the problem. The Tucci I know would train with the best of his ability to fight the issue head-on. That's what makes him special.

I keep trying to remind myself that it's okay to grieve, make progress, and then come unraveled again. I take comfort in knowing that, while people can go around taking each other's lives on a whim, there is no weapon powerful enough to strip away memories or break the bond of friendship.

I will always miss you, sweet friend. I will guard my memories with all that I have. I am lucky to have known you and bewildered to have lost you. I know what they mean when they say "gone, but not forgotten..."

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair
Mumford & Sons


  1. I am so sorry to hear of your loss! He sounds like a special and beautiful soul. Be thinking of you during this difficult time.

  2. Jordan, I'm so, so sorry to hear of the loss of your dear friend. You have paid him a sweet and loving tribute with your words. Rest in peace, Tucci.

  3. As Davids brother, thanks for these nice words. i have emailed them to other family members. thanks again

  4. Jordan, I was so sad when I heard the news about Tucci. I know you, his friends and family will miss him dearly. I'm praying for all of you during this difficult time.

  5. what a sweet tribute to tucci. we ran in similar circles in middle and high school and he was always such a sweet guy. such a gentleman and so well respected by everyone who knew him.
    when we were in middle school my brother thought his nickname was tushie, not tucci. everytime we would say the name my mom would giggle at my little 6 yr old brother saying tushie and talk about how sweet of a young man he was.
    so unfair.


09 10 11 12
Blogging tips