November 12, 2011

YOU KILLED ME WHEN YOU KILLED MY BROTHER

A few weeks ago I posted a story about the senseless murders in Philadelphia.  The goal of the story was to give those who take part in senseless murders a chance to experience the aftermath of taking some one's life.  It also give reasons to how a beef with one person can divide a family of ten.  When someone life is taken deliberately by the hands of crime the decease isn't the one whom is left to experience the pain because he/she is dead.  However, the parents, sibling(s), close friends and I could go on and on are the ones to experience the pain of it.  I'm certain that you understand the point that I am making.  According to the Philadelphia Police Department, we are now November 12, 2011 reached 283 murders since the last count was taken November 11,2011 at 11:59pm.  That is insane and ridiculous.  This is an accurate count and later in this story I will provide you with resources to keep you abreast of what's going on in our community.  Two women were kind enough to share their stories of loved ones taken away due to yet another senseless murder.  After reading these stories please share. 
Shirley Hooks a.k.a."Kitty" (Girlfriend/ Mother of Son)
Victim: Azizuddin Uqdah
Age: 26yrs Old.
OR:  What was your relation to the victim?
SH:   He was my son's father
OR:  Was this a result of another senseless murder in the city of Philadelphia?
SH:   Yes it was the result of a senseless murder.  It's been 21 years and no one was ever convicted.  The case remains unsolved.
OR:  What were you doing the moment that you received the news?
SH:   I was at the hospital when the doctor told us he didn't make it after the surgery bullet hit his heart

OR:   If you had to use one word to describe how you felt at that very moment, What word would it be?
SH:   Devastated

OR:   At what age did he die and how old was your son?
SH:    He was 26yrs old and our son was 2yrs old.

OR:   Did the passing of his father affect him emotionally when he was old enough to understand? If so, how?
SH:    He has no memory of his father.  However, I tell him about his father, including the good and the bad.

OR:   Was the person(s) ever convicted for his murder?
SH:    No one was ever convicted of the crime.

OR:    If you were granted the opportunity to share your feelings with those responsible for his untimely demise, What will be your final words to them?
SH:    Why?

OR:    What do you miss most of him?  Describe his personality and the effect his death had on you as a companion and child mother?
SH:     Although he was into the streets,  he was not a violent person he would have helped anyone not hurt them.  It was very hard for me raising my son because he always asked where his dad was. I did it though.  My son is a college graduate and lives in California. He has a good relationship with his father's family and we are very tight. I went through a personal growth myself.  I had to get a job.  I later bought myself a home because we were left with no money.  There was no insurance policy and the lifestyle that I was accustomed to had to be scaled down.  All of his friends turned their backs on us.  I had to do what a mother has to do.  I also had a daughter.  We prevailed and I struggled for awhile.  I sold my jewelry to pay bills until I found stable employment. 
I miss him.  We had our Ups and downs. But, he loved me I have never met a man that was so giving of himself to everyone.  I always felt bad because my son never had a chance to get to know his father or how wonderful he was.  I tell my son about his dad every chance I get. He's so much like his father that it scares me at times. I thank God for the six years of my life that I was allowed to share with him.  I was left with a piece of him that serves as a reminder of our love and time together, our son.  For all the mothers out here whom don't allow the fathers to see their children, think about it.  Children need a father.  Drug dealers be mindful of the life you live because your children will be affected.
Tiffanie Gilmore (sister)
Victim:  Nasir Ali Mateen Oakley (Nas)
OR:  Who was Nasir?  Describe Nasir's character?
TG:   Highly intelligent, charismatic, funny, and a natural born Leader, are just a few adjectives to describe the man my brother became. Nasir was my protector! But on the streets he hid behind a tough persona.
OR:  What happened to Nasir?
TG:   Nas, was killed by a family friend April 25, 2004. Although many stories have circulated throughout our neighborhood, only Nasir and Derrick Harper aka Howie knows what happened between the two of them. Therefore, I can only share with you what my brother told me the evening before he was killed.
Reflecting back, I’m not sure what was going on throughout the week. My mother told Nasir not to visit her home in Logan. Sunday, April 24, 2004 around 8:30 pm my brother Nasir came to my mother’s home when she was at church. I asked my brother what he was doing in Logan.  He said, “I’m going out tonight and I can come down here if I want to!” I asked Nas why our mother didn't want him in Logan, and this is what he said “Howie, had taken a gun that belonged to me from a mutual friend, he wouldn’t give me my gun back so I took his red coat and his stuff!” We talked for a little while longer, said our goodbyes, and Nas left. Sometime in the early hours in the morning my mother received a phone call that Nasir had been shot and he was rushed to Einstein Hospital. I’m not sure how or who took us to the hospital.  I just remember waiting in a room with family members and friends while Nasir was in the operating room.
OR: What was your reaction that very moment that you received the news about your brother's passing?
TG:  The very moment I received the news of Nas passing seemed so unreal. It was as if I was dreaming! The Doctor’s told us we could see him, but we couldn’t touch him. Me, my mom, and my cousin Tammy went into the operating room. Nas looked so peaceful, just like he was asleep. My cousin Tammy was crying hysterically. My mom wanted to touch my brother, but the Doctor’s said no! Up until that point I think I was in shock. I remember crying and pleading with the Doctor’s. I remember saying “That’s her son! Her son! She had him! Why can’t she touch him?

OR: What were your feelings for the person that took life from your brother at that time?
TG:  At the time of Nas death, I was so angry with Howie. I felt so betrayed because our families grew up together. My Uncle made sure to take care of him in  prison. I helped my mom prepare food for his family when his mom passed away. Howie and his brothers even referred to my mother as mom! Disbelief, I never would have imaged that someone so close would have taken this route.

OR: What are your feelings of them now?
TG: Nowadays, I’m more so content with my brother’s death. I forgive Howie and I dare not harden my heart towards him. Although, I do not condone Howie’s actions, I know it’s the way of the “Streets".  You will either end up in jail or six feet deep. So there’s no point in stressing over something that I cannot change. I’ll never forget my brother and I doubt that Howie will either. Hopefully, Nas memory is constantly playing back in Howie’s mind, just as it plays back in mine. I feel Nasir’s memory alone is enough to disturb his sleep at night.

OR:  Was the case ever solved? If so, do you think the outcome was decided against fairly?
TG:   My family was told that there were a lot of people at the scene when my brother was killed. Unfortunately, no one would come forth with a statement. Therefore, Howie was never charged with my brother’s death.

 OR:  What advice or support do you have for that sister you don't know who has or is sharing the same drastic loss of her brother to assist in healing?
 TR:  For family members who are also experiencing the same drastic loss of a love one, I salute you! Coping with the loss of my brother has been very challenging at times. Although it has been 7 years, I still have some good and bad days when a thought of Nas enters my mind. However, I try not to dwell so much on the negative aspects, I tend to think about the happy times we shared together. This may seem a little strange to some people but our family still celebrates Nas birthday with memorials each year. During those times our family and friends have shirts made, throw a big BBQ, and release balloons at Broad & Loudon.  That is the location where my brother was shot. These are just some of the things that we do to help us in our healing process.
Nasir may be Gone, but he’ll never be Forgotten!!

I would like to take the time to thank everyone that participated in any project that I asked for your assistance on.  Some of the things that I request for people to share be very personal and it sometimes take people to a place in their mind that they hate to revisit.  The goal of this article is to give people a look inside the heart of those whom loved ones were taken unwillingly.  I love you all and forever will I be grateful to each and everyone of you that is reading this now.  Be Blessed....


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