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Olivia Thomas uploaded photo(s)
Monday, November 27, 2023
A Tribute to my brother “You knew what you was doin' when you made us; so with all due respect You coulda forgave him, you didn't have to take him” - Dr.Dre My older brother Justin Dale Thomas passed away while he was living in a Manitoba Housing unit on Kennedy between May 5th and July 20th, 2023, He was a young boy searching for companionship and a sense of belonging, seeking male role models. This is a natural desire for any child and not a criminal inclination, but rather a basic human need. It isn’t uncommon for people to prioritize making judgments rather than trying to understand and empathize with Justin or individuals like him who face similar challenges. Many fail to recognize the immense intricacies of the human condition. In my last conversation with Justin, he conveyed regret for the decisions he made during his early years, and he made it clear that many of the challenges he faced can be attributed to that time in his life. He felt trapped in his circumstances, and it is evident that both the justice system and the school system let my brother down. Starting at the age of 13, if he had received the necessary support and guidance, I firmly believe that Justin would still be with us today. As a young girl, I often spent weekends lying awake at night next to my mom, feeling an overwhelming sense of uneasiness. I would anxiously wait for the phone to ring, silently hoping that nothing bad would happen to him during that time. Lying in bed, I could sense my mother's anxiety, worry, and panic, even though she tried to hide it. When I found out you left us, my heart broke for her first. Justin could have been a model for sure, I remember walking home one time from school and he must have had 10 girls following him down the back lane. But it was his soul that was the most admirable thing about him, Justin didn’t have a judgemental bone in his body. You could tell him anything and he would try to understand. He was the type of person who would have given you the shirt off his back if you needed it. And he was smart, especially with technology sometimes I would envision him working at Best Buy or the Apple store. It has been quite the experience to witness and see the outpouring of love from so many people which is an enduring testament to his true essence and “being” on this planet. Even in the last few years of his life, whenever I saw him, he would ask if I needed anything, such as money or food. Despite his physical suffering, he remained concerned about my well-being. In some of our toughest moments, instead of dwelling on his own pain, he would try to make me smile and shield me from the heavy burden he carried on his shoulders while I sobbed in front of him. Me and my mom spent a lot of time going to visit Justin at the detention center on Kenaston during Justin's teen years. I remember I was so excited each time we went to see him because my brother, my mother, and I shared so many moments of laughter. And anytime the three of us were together, it felt like home. My brother possessed an exceptional sense of humour, and he could make anyone smile. Even if I didn't understand the joke, I didn't know what they were talking about, or to be honest, they were likely making fun of my serious demeanour, I couldn't help but laugh too. I longed to experience their laughter once more. My mother and brother taught me the valuable lesson of making the best out of any situation, whether we were in a jail visitation room, waiting for the bus in the cold, or eating expired Kraft Dinner because we couldn't afford anything else. They showed me the importance of not letting these challenges hinder us but instead finding ways to make the most out of them. Gina (my mother) and Justin shared an extraordinary bond and demonstrated immense love for each other, no matter what. This brings me solace as it assures me that Justin departed this world knowing he was cherished by his sole parent. I have a vivid memory of one of the last times I saw you. I drove Mom to your place to drop off a winter jacket. Despite the freezing temperature of 25 below, you came out wearing only a T-shirt, blue jeans, and bare feet. I hesitated about getting out of the car, ultimately choosing to stay inside out of laziness. Little did I know at that moment that it would be the last time I would see you. I couldn't take my eyes off you as you embraced Mom. I often dream about getting out of the car and telling you to come with us, urging you to come home. I am not really religious, and I am barely spiritual, but there are two moments in my life that I just can’t explain. I am not sure of the date, but I distinctly recall a moment when my mother and I were having dinner at Chicken Delight with one of her friends. And I couldn't eat, which, if you know me, is odd. I also had this overwhelming feeling of uneasiness and anxiety. I shared with my mom that I felt like something bad was going to happen. Now, I know that this experience is defined as a premonition. That evening my mom woke me up in the middle of the night and I think I went to my auntie’s house, and the next thing I knew I was walking into a hospital room, and there he was, beaten to a pulp, I can still vividly remember the look of his swollen eyes. From that moment forward, Justin was never the same. This is something that my mother helped me realize, and I didn't fully comprehend it until now. We believe that Justin likely suffered from brain damage, which affected his decision-making abilities. I hope that one day I will be able to forgive myself for not recognizing the significance of that moment in his life. My second “premonition, ”It was probably just odd timing, but if it has any real significance, I apologize deeply to my brother for not acting on these feelings earlier. I had this intense feeling that something was wrong. When we received the news of Justin's passing, my mom realized that his phone activity had stopped on May 5th. On May 7th, my therapist made a note: "Olivia is having difficulty sleeping and is experiencing distressing thoughts about death." At that time, I didn't have any dots to connect, and I thought it was just some random new anxiety. It's often said that everything is revealed beforehand, but only to those who are perceptive. Perhaps you were trying to communicate something to me, or maybe at that moment, a higher power was giving me the gift of insight without explicitly showing me. I deeply regret not taking action based on that intuition, and I am truly sorry. I understand that even if I had taken action, maybe I wouldn't have been able to save him, but perhaps we would have answers about what happened to him. Instead, my mother and I are left with a multitude of unanswered questions that will forever remain a source of pain and longing. During the last few months of Justin's life, I didn't reach out to him. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to help him if he asked, and I didn't want to have to say no. I prioritized my own feelings over being there for someone I loved. Now, I realize that what he likely wanted from me most was to simply acknowledge his humanity. Justin, my dear brother, I deeply regret not being there for you in a way that I can be proud of today. It troubles me greatly to know that you passed away alone, and it weighs heavily on my heart that it took us a considerable amount of time to realize that you were no longer with us. Losing you has brought me great sadness, and your absence has created an emptiness within me that cannot be replaced. The pain of losing you is beyond words and burdens my spirit. It is devastating to accept that I will never witness your smile or hear your voice again. I am left with an intense feeling of longing and a profound yearning for another opportunity from the universe. The memories we created together will forever be cherished, but the pain of your absence is a constant reminder of what I have lost. Grief has become a companion that walks beside me, a heavy burden that I carry every day. I am heartbroken over all the things we will never get the chance to do together. It pains me that you can't enjoy your incredible son, who looks just like you, he’s funny like you and especially silly like you. Today we made silly faces at each other, over FaceTime while he laughed his head off. And all I could think about was that I wish you were here. You wouldn't believe how smart he is, how kind he is, how curly his hair has gotten, he points at your beautiful face and is proud to call you his dad. I’m sorry that you had to carry so much pain alone. Not being able to say goodbye is one of the hardest truths I haven’t accepted yet. I yearn for the days when our bedrooms were next to each other, the hours spent sitting with you and watching you play video games, our daily walks to school, or the moments when the three of us would dance in the living room to music videos. Even the silly times, like when we would stuff as many cheese slices in our pants as possible before going to bed. I would do anything to go back to those moments. Every day, when I think of you, I try to force myself to reflect on the good moments we shared and the laughter we enjoyed. Despite the sorrow that consumes me, I hold onto the hope that one day, the pain will ease. By sharing my regrets and experiences, I hope others can learn from them and cherish the people they hold dear. And at the end of the day, we must value people’s humanity above all else. In my father's culture, I learned about the concept of oneness and unity. Instead of saying “you and I," many Caribbean people say "I and I." This signifies that there is no separation between us, but rather a shared sense of identity and collective consciousness that recognizes our shared humanity. I deeply regret every phone call I wanted to make but didn't, every text I wanted to send but held back, and every moment I wanted to say "I love you" but remained silent. Justin, you were always my hero, and even in your death, you remain so. I am still broken by your loss, you left too soon, and I miss you, but I hope that we will be together again. Some say that losing a sibling is one of the most painful losses a person can experience because sisters and brothers get it, they were there. Experiencing grief is the cost we bear for loving someone, and if I had to choose between grief and nothing, I would choose grief. While my grief may transform over time, it will never truly end, just like my love for you Justin. I will always search for your presence, anticipate your joyful expression, and listen to your laughter until we meet again. Love you forever, your baby sister. Olivia.
Dr Lois Stewart-Archer, Hon Consul for Jamaica in Winnipeg posted a condolence
Thursday, August 3, 2023
What a heartbreak. So very young! On behalf of myself and family, I extend sincerest condolences to Justin's family and loved ones. Our prayer is that our awesome God will wrap His arms around you and grant you all His perfect peace! May pleasant memories make you smile, or even burst out laughing, when you least expect! Dr. Lois Stewart-Archer and Family Hon Consul for Jamaica in Winnipeg
Fatima uploaded photo(s)
Monday, July 31, 2023
Cheryl planted a tree in memory of JUSTIN THOMAS
Monday, July 31, 2023
My condolences Gina to you & your family. RIP JT. Join in honoring their life - plant a memorial tree
The family of JUSTIN DALE THOMAS uploaded a photo
Friday, July 28, 2023
A Memorial Tree was planted for JUSTIN THOMAS
Thursday, July 27, 2023
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at 1442 Main Street Join in honoring their life - plant a memorial tree
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