Tim’s official obituary was beautiful written. Writing them has to be so hard because how do you explain who a person was…a lifetime of “the best of times, and the worst of times” into a few short paragraphs? It’s pretty much an impossible task. I’ll give Facebook credit here today for giving me an opportunity to elaborate a little on Tim’s obit, and expanding on the side of him I knew the best, the role he played in my life, as my younger cousin.
Growing up I remember it being, “the four of us”. That meant my sister Jaimie, Tim, my cousin Michael and I. Jaimie & Tim are 5 months apart, Michael and I are a year and a day apart, between us, youngest to oldest, there’s a 24 month difference. We made a good team. Ninja Turtles, The Land Before Time, Rugrats, Doug, PowerRangers, etc…they gave us a lot to work with. Jaimie and I didn’t go to New Milford Camp’s, we went to Sherman one’s so that we could be with Michael and Tim. I’ve always felt like half a Shermanite because of them, especially when we got into high school & they came to New Milford…(Pat his brother also gave me a little cred there too). Jaimie and I went to so many of Michael & Tim’s little league hockey games that I hated at the time because it .was. so. cold!! But, I love every minute looking back on it now.
Our little sleepovers at Tim’s with the four of us were epic. Aunt Cathy would tell us the most amazing stories you’ll ever hear in your life. A particularly awesome one was about how she thought Tim was going to be born a girl named Meredith and everyday she’d talk to her belly and say “hiiiii Meredith” He’d hate every minute of it. He’d hate/probably love the laugh people get from telling the story now. Aunt Cathy made every sleep over the best experience. She made “special water” where she knocked on all the kitchen cabinets and pretended that it added magic to it…she made everything fun and silly. Even the other day she was telling “Timothy” about all the sandcastles we used to build at Millstone to Susan and Adrianna, giving them something to strive for I guess. It brought a huge smile to his face. I miss those sandcastle years…
I’ve watched Tim be the sibling I wish I could be. He got along with all 4 of his siblings so well, they all had unique relationships that only they know and will forever cherish. With Sara, he was her world, and she was his. The first thing Jaimie said to me after she found out Tim had passed was that Sara was waiting to hold his hand, and I believe her, knowing they’re back together is what is getting me through this. His relationship with Susan was so beautiful, of course she started out as the younger sister, but as of late, she has gotten so mature, she was basically the one telling him how to bag groceries properly and cook things better. Susan is so amazing; I think she helped heal Tim’s heart in ways that we’ll never know.
Tim has looked up to Pat, like all the younger cousins have…since forever. He’s always been cooler than us, more tech savvy than us, had more money than us, and had this “parents just don’t understand attitude” that separated him from the straighter-laced kids. Some ideas form when you’re a little kid, get stuck it’s hard to shake them, those are ones I have a hard time shaking about Pat. Tim looked up to him as probably THE funniest person in the world, and he’s up there, but so is Tim. Everyone had to get closer when Sara passed, and I know one person whose relationship probably went from kid sibling to adult sibling, was his and Erin’s. Erin and Tim were best friends. They had their own language, similar to Pete and Kyle, in that whenever I look over or hear what they’re talking about, I have no clue because it’s in a whole different language altogether. Erin looked out & I know helped provide guidance for Tim. Her daughter Adrianna was more like a sister, less like a niece to him. He had so much love in his heart for his siblings, and them for him. And that’s probably what I’ll remember the most.
Tim was everywhere. He was at every. single. family. event (since he was probably born)…and in an Irish family that’s hard to do. He never missed an event because he didn’t feel like going, or had something better to do; family was number one to Tim, I realize now how much of a sign of respect that was.
Tim was a man of few words, but, holy shit did he make those words count. I can’t think of a single thing that he said that doesn’t instantly make me laugh out loud. His brother is exactly the same way in that regard. How two brothers are so naturally under-the-radar funny, I have no idea. Tim would say the weirdest shit just to get a laugh out of a group, or he’d say a perfectly timed comment because the whole time everyone else was talking he just be waiting…and waiting…for the right moment. And then, boom, he’d nail it.
We had the best conversations about geeky stuff we loved like TV & Movies, specifically comedy. Last Superbowl, it must have been afterward, or during halftime, when everyone was downstairs, him and I sat on the couch away from the noise and talked about SNL’s upcoming 40th anniversary special the following week and we geeeeeeked out, we talked about almost everything comedy possible. It was awesome, and I’ll never forget it.
Obviously I don’t think anyone in my family will ever let Chris forget the time he basically threw Tim across the room in 2010 (such an exaggeration, I’m kidding). After making family bratwurst, (and the ENTIRE family was sitting in the Filippi’s living room) Chris kinda chest-bumped Tim in celebration of the Olympic women’s curling…WOMEN’S CURLING!…(who cares?) and not ready for it at all, Tim flew into a giant picture on Aunt Carol’s wall. The thing swung wide to the right, wide to the left, wide to the right again and then crashed to the ground. I think all the air was sucked out of the room in shock, and then everyone laughed harder than they have in their entire lives (except probably Aunt Carol & Cathy). I remember Mike Ness saying after the laughter stopped, “Did that really just happen?” and I was thinking the exact same thing. How was that moment, caused by such an accidental troublemaker (my step-dad) and such an under-cover wallflower (Tim) witnessed by the majority of our family. It didn’t get better than that. I know it pissed off some people, broke some things and not everyone found it as hilarious as I do, but it still lives as the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.
Finally, Tim was the catcher on the H&H Softball Team, our grandfather’s old team, that’s been around for 40 years. Tim’s dad, Tom is one of the four original members, our pitcher. I know my grandfather would be extremely proud that Tim would have played for so many years (10, I think?) on this team #16. A number of members of the team are multi-generational, and that’s a special thing. We take it seriously, even if it is beer league softball. A lot has happened over the course of 40 years, (almost) five years ago we lost another teammate, Ryan Tlasky (20) whom we’ll never forget. We’re a family, we see each other through terrible times, lots of beers & laughs and the occasional win. It was one of Tim’s favorite thing’s in the world, along with watching the NYYankees & Minnesota Vikings with his family ( The Ness Family of course included in that statement).
Things will never be the same without you Tim. I know you didn’t know how much you meant to me because I didn’t tell you enough…I wish I did. I believe you and Sara are free from pain now, I hope you feel my love, I hope you feel our love tomorrow, and the rest we’ll be sending forever #HackettStrong
Sending, but also asking for positive & healing vibes today,
The picture below was taken in a year I don’t remember at Tim’s Communion, at the place we paid our respects to him today. It was an outdoor service because his parents thought he would want be a service outside to celebrate Tim’s love of the outdoors.
The picture below is of all of his cousin’s (& his brother) on his dad’s side of the family. We missed including both his oldest and youngest sister before taking the picture, they had already left; It’s still a pretty rare thing to get a picture like this.
They needed a woman’s touch in organizing my grandfather’s 40yr old softball team, so I’ve gotten to play a huge part in managing it over the last 5 years. Tim was our catcher for (I think) 10 seasons! These were some of his favorite people, and family members in the entire world!! Tim’s the one in blue, behind the guy in the UCONN sweatshirt.
And finally, the last good picture we ever took together, 2015’s Memorial Day Weekend at my Brother-in-Laws bonfire: