For My Brother Tom

Tom is the super cool one on the right :)
Ric, Vincent, me, Tom at the Bronx Zoo in New York. Photo taken by Jessica.

About 11 years ago my family was hit really, really hard. My older brother Tom was driving home from church when he was cut off at a stop light and fatally shot, point blank, in the head. He was only 24 years old. At the time he had just graduated from college with his bachelor's degree in Computer Science and was thinking about getting his masters as well as applying for job positions. Tom's future was bright and full of potential. Out of all my mother's children he was probably the one who appreciated life the most. He always tried to put a smile on our faces and he loved to dance, sing, and play sports. Now that I think of it, I really don't know what he didn't/couldn't do :)

When I think of him it always brings a smile to my face but for some reason I always cry on his birthday. I don't know if it's because I wish he was here to celebrate it but just like clock work the tears never fail to happen.

For some reason Tom and I were always bickering lol. We were like two little old ladies. I was this little 3 foot kid arguing with this 6 foot guy over who should wash the dishes (always had a stubborn streak about me). But he never stayed mad at me. The next second he was wrestling me, or lifting me up in the air. Just usually something that I felt would give my little heart an attack lol. I know he loved us a lot and it felt like everyday he reminded us. One thing that was really interesting was the number of pictures he took. I had never seen someone who loved the camera so much! lol Every minute it was hey take a picture of me lol. Now that I look back at it I feel like he was creating little memories for us.

Tom was a devoted christian. I don't mean the manic bible beating ones. I mean the new-age cool ones who believed in god and REALLY loved their neighbors as themselves. He was fearless. Always heading into any difficult situation with the most optimism you could ever find in someone. He and I would always take little walks (in whichever city we were living in at the time) and he would give me advice on every and anything.  He would tell me to not be so shy or doubt myself so much in life. He was always there for things like that.

Tom and Ric grew up together in Jamaica with mama and the family until they were in their early 20s. They went to school there and Ric was always looking out for Tom. He always looked out for all of us actually. When we were born (Vincent and myself) we each kind of clung to one of them. I went with Ric and Vincent went with Tom. They were our heroes man. Vincent was like Tom's carbon copy lol. Always so excited to see him. Tom loved that kid so much and people were always amazed by how much they looked alike. I don't think anyone ever understood Vincent as much as Tom did. One of the things we all did together was watch Dragon Ball Z. We would get home before Ric and Tom since they were in college so we would tape each episode. When they got home we would all watch it together. Best times ever!

Tom and Vincent (mama in the background)

I remember watching Tom with his his friends. He was just a star, Man, the room would just about light up when he was there. Everyone had a smile on their face and the air was filled with laughter. It was such a weightless feeling to be around him. And he made it so easy to get along with him. He was a guys, guy and ladies man at the same time. I don't know how he did it!

I remember the night we got the news. My twin brother and I were in Ric and Tom's room sleeping. We had fallen asleep watching cartoons. A strange sound woke me up. I got out of bed and opened the door. Sitting at the dining room table with two officers trying helplessly to console her was my mother. I had never seen her cry before. The strange sound I heard was my mother sobbing into her hands. She looked up and noticed me, called for Ric and I was ushered back into the room. Ric woke up my brother and then sat on the bed and told us the horrible news.

At the time we were too young to understand and I think Ric knew that. He brought us to the hospital but he wouldn't let us go in to see Tom. He had sustained so much damage and Ric didn't want us to see him like that. The following days were very fuzzy and a little hard to remember. Ric took us for a walk one day to show us where Tom had been shot. It wasn't more than 6 blocks away from home... He was almost home you guys.

They never found the killer of my brother and it took a long time for my family to recover from this blow. We were all affected in our own way and it's something we live with each day. I know Tom is resting peacefully. And I know he's up there with God having a great time in heaven. I always wonder  what it would have been like if he was still here. Would things have turned out differently? Why do we have to experience such painful loses in life? Is it to give us the gift to help others?

I know Tom lived for a reason and I know he was taken so young for a reason. I'm just so grateful for the time we got to spend with him while he was here. I really believe Tom was an angel on Earth.

There were two funerals for Tom. One in New York and the other in Jamaica where he was finally laid to rest.

Today, October 1 2015, Tommi-lee Wray would have been 35 years old.

I love and miss you so much Tom. Rest in peace ok :)

Tom, Mom, and Ric at Tom's Graduation


P.S. Everyone spelled his name: Tommy Lee Wray and he never even fussed about it. What a guy! :)


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! and Thank so much for reading :) :)

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks a lot Bro! So glad you liked it :) :) <3


    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad you loved it :)

  4. I met Tomilee in 2001 at Mercy college and we became fast friends. He was an amazing guy and he really did light up the room when he walked into it. I found this blog by accident as a friend and I were wondering if they ever caught his killer. You paid him great tribute with this article and these beautiful pictures. I know he lives on in the memories of all who ever loved him.

  5. Really cool story. Thanks for sharing.


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