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R.I.P. Thomas Joseph (T.J.) Senft (1969-2010) - Terri Senft

Terri Senft
Date: 2010-09-14 15:09
Subject: R.I.P. Thomas Joseph (T.J.) Senft (1969-2010)
Security: Public


 
On September 8, 2010, my youngest brother T.J. died after falling down the basement stairs of his home, which resulted in a fatal brain hemorrhage one week later. He was forty-one years old, and leaves behind a wife and two children, aged ten and four. Some time ago, T.J. made a decision to become an organ donor, and as this is being written, over fifty parts of his body are saving the lives of others.

T.J. was a truly great man: generous, inspiring, infuriating, hilarious, passionate. He was committed to speaking from the mind, but also the heart and the gut, and he believed that personal shame and social niceties were a sucker’s game. His love for his family was unconditional, his support for us was boundless, and he taught everyone who cared to learn a rare trick: the ability to stare reality in the face with such ferocity that in time, it blinked back. As a sister, I was moved by his commitment to tell the truth, no matter the cost; as a writer, I was awed by it.

T.J.’s death has come as a huge and incomprehensible shock to my family. He was always so much larger than life that I suppose we all thought he would figure out a way to avoid something as mundane as death. When T.J. was ‘on’ (and that was nearly always), his presence could have the force of a tsunami, and many people needed days to recover from a long talk with him. I feel quite sorry for those who didn’t get the opportunity to know him: his personality was extra large, his sense of the absurd was legendary, and I assure you, you couldn’t out-drink him at a party.

Like all of us, my brother was flawed, and he could be challenging. But he was also the sort of man who makes life worth living. There are certain people you seek out when you don’t know if you can get through another month, or week, or moment. My brother Mike is one of those, and I turn to Mike for gentleness, acceptance, maturity and patience. But sometimes what is needed is energy, clarity, focus, and raw animal force. For this I turned to T.J., whom I could always count on to school me that joy matters, love matters, faith matters, I matter, and that everything else is pure bullshit.

Goodbye, my beloved baby brother. I have no idea how I am supposed to make sense of life’s nonsense without you, but I’m going to try. Just promise you’ll visit in my sleep to school me on how it’s done. I'm not sure I can figure it out on my own.
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dcart
User: dcart
Date: 2010-09-14 19:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, I am so, so sorry for your loss.
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trust the hours
User: lapsedmodernist
Date: 2010-09-14 19:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I am so sorry.
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love, play & inquiry
User: trochee
Date: 2010-09-14 19:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, how tragic.

I am so sorry. :(
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frank
User: archon
Date: 2010-09-14 19:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
my sincerest condolences on your loss
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Smaquis the Frog
User: missv
Date: 2010-09-14 19:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Much love to you, Terri. I'm terribly sorry for your loss.
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Cheryl
User: cheryln
Date: 2010-09-14 19:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm sorry for your loss, Terri.
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Nick Mamatas
User: nihilistic_kid
Date: 2010-09-14 19:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
How terrible. So sorry.
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Auriea.: whisper
User: womanonfire
Date: 2010-09-14 19:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:whisper
aw terri, i can't say anything... heartfelt condolences to you and you family. such a shock. my thoughts are with you.
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misquoted
User: misquoted
Date: 2010-09-14 19:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm so sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
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The Sausage King of Chicago
User: banshee
Date: 2010-09-14 20:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I am so very sorry. I'm sending you lots of love.
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Operatic: Mozart and Lucy
User: operatic
Date: 2010-09-14 20:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Mozart and Lucy
I'm so very sorry; my thoughts and prayers are with y'all. *hug!*
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love you from the heart: mdfflower
User: yanatonage
Date: 2010-09-14 20:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:mdfflower
I'm so sorry Terri. My thoughts are with you.
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.::Beat An' Blood::..: i hope
User: i_dread
Date: 2010-09-14 20:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:i hope
I'm sorry for your Family's loss. Be well.
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varenka
User: vienna
Date: 2010-09-14 20:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, Terri. This is unbelievably shocking and tragic. I'm so very, very sorry. I know what it's like to lose a sibling unexpectedly and much too soon. Please, please let me know if there is anything whatsoever I can do for you, if you want to talk, if you want to sit around and no talk, anything.
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The Procrastinatrix: eyeofgod
User: yasminke
Date: 2010-09-14 20:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:eyeofgod
So sorry for your family's loss.
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jactitation: serious ethel
User: jactitation
Date: 2010-09-14 21:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:serious ethel
How awful. I'm so very sorry. My heart reaches to you.
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the floozie in the jacuzzi: thinkingclara
User: wurlitzerprized
Date: 2010-09-14 21:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:thinkingclara
what a rare and extraordinary person.
i am so sorry for your loss.
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inne
User: inne
Date: 2010-09-14 21:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
i'm so sorry, terri
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teatime
User: exterra
Date: 2010-09-14 22:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
oh, I'm so so sorry. ***warm hug***
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but ain't no gyroscope can spin forever....: eyes
User: roadnotes
Date: 2010-09-14 22:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:eyes
Oh, we are so sorry for your loss. May his memory always be for a blessing.
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cyberdivalive
User: cyberdivalive
Date: 2010-09-14 23:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I cant imagine how you are coping - my deepest sympathies...
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American White-Collar Gypsy
User: ethernautrix
Date: 2010-09-14 23:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Terrible, terrible news. I am very sorry for your loss.
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Nick Danger, Third Eye: oh shit
User: murphy59
Date: 2010-09-15 00:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:oh shit
Oh dear. I'm so sorry for your loss!
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User: ludimagist
Date: 2010-09-15 00:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My heartfelt condolences.

That is truly tragic.
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User: ext_257350
Date: 2010-09-15 00:46 (UTC)
Subject: T.J.
There's very little that can be said but I'm sure your light has been a welcome beacon to your family, I am so sorry for your loss and also know the agony of losing a younger sibling suddenly, unexpectedly. Nothing makes sense. It will be with you and your family always... right now like a heavy boulder weighing down, eventually like a feather, but always a companion. I feel blessed to have met him ever so briefly and know how much he meant to you from how frequently you talked about him and characterized him perfectly. I love you and am here if you want to talk or hang out when you're more 'south'.
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Gordonzola
User: gordonzola
Date: 2010-09-15 00:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
omg, that's awful. so sorry for you and the family.
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Trouble: sinatra
User: ccjohn
Date: 2010-09-15 00:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:sinatra
Damn it Terri I am so sorry. My prayers are with you. -- John
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constant change
User: alison_chains
Date: 2010-09-15 02:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm so sorry for your loss.
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Hal
User: hal_obrien
Date: 2010-09-15 04:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm shocked at this as well. I'm sorry for your loss.
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noyasoul
User: noyasoul
Date: 2010-09-15 09:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I am so sorry. RIP.
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Amy Stephenson
User: yoames
Date: 2010-09-15 11:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm so sorry. My thoughts are with you.
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Cryo
User: cryo
Date: 2010-09-15 13:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
my condolences.
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User: grass
Date: 2010-09-15 15:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
What a shock,our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.
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w.
User: whitney_arlene
Date: 2010-09-15 18:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
so sorry for your loss Terri. xo.
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invisible bicycle
User: delphizyx
Date: 2010-09-15 19:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Terri, I'm so very sorry for your loss and for all of those affected by his passing.
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Taxchick
User: taxchick
Date: 2010-09-16 04:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Wow, I'm so sorry. He sounded like an awesome man! Very well written - thanks for sharing.
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Patrick Coleman
User: planetconcrete
Date: 2010-09-16 08:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Urgh, I know this is tough and everything I've written sounds douchey, so:

"the ability to stare reality in the face with such ferocity that in time, it blinked back"

and

"joy matters, love matters, faith matters, I matter, and that everything else is pure bullshit"

Here's to your brother! May his wisdom live on!
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[ suZen ]
User: creactivity
Date: 2010-09-16 15:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I can't even imagine dealing with such a shocking loss at the prime of his life. I'm so very sorry that you are all having to bear it.
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elliott smith thought police
User: scribble
Date: 2010-09-16 21:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm so sorry. There are no words.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2010-09-26 01:26 (UTC)
Subject: Good stuff
I met your brother only briefly at CMSI in 2003. He struck me as a very grounded, gentle person...a nice guy. Although I've met many people over the years, I do, specifically, remember meeting this man. The world is less without his positive energy.
A very well-written remembrance. My deepest sympathy to his family.
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ana voog
User: ana
Date: 2010-10-04 17:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
i'm just finally reading this now.
i'm so sorry. this brought tears to my eyes.
i just had to come up with the design for my son's tombstone, and i have to go through all the clothes and stuff i saved for him and donate to goodwill today.
like you said on FB, closure is a bitch.
and yes, writing emails explaining these sorts of things sucks ass.
infinite hugs to you and your family
i'm glad you had the time that you had with him and know him and love him.
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User: ext_280872
Date: 2010-10-10 23:57 (UTC)
Subject: so sorry
Rob was 41 when he died. The priest, who I met for the first time the day I arranged the funeral, closed the meeting by saying, "This is really shitty and really stinky." Best priest ever.

It's been 7 years, and it's still shitty and stinky, but less so. Cursing helps. Wishing you the best.
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Mira Mudhir
User: Mira Mudhir
Date: 2010-10-18 18:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I am so sorry terri, heartfelt condolences to you and you family! Big hugs!
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2010-12-21 06:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
hi terri..im writing this in absence of capitol letters as I am tired and lazy at the moment....I stumbled upon your little ditty bout your bro and was asolutaly stoked to the inth degree....I, as you, and all others whose paths were graced by tjs 'dirty boy' presence..am just giving you my quick take on my experience w him....its not unfortunate, but par/normal/nobodys fing business/ how we feel about the matter of the T....if I ponder the sitution to long the absolution of the matter s too much to bare...I mean if the tables were turned he'd be barading me for the fact that i actually left the world head first down a flight of stairs...expletive..yadayadadyada!!!!!!My style is to not have a gaping hole in my soul, nor to learn from the life he lived...I, as he, am a maverick, and will keep on keeping on as(this I do believe would thouroughly piss him off)he would do the same!!!but really..I will..I hope you are well and I love you....really...I have enough to spread around....take care, Peas, Matt
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2010-12-21 06:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The word 'condolences' should be banned when people die!!!...I mean Really
!!!!!!
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