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I’ve learned that the saddest thing for a girl to ever experience is watching her dad; the man who is her rock, holding her through heartache and happiness; hurting and heartbroken.
Yesterday he lost a very good friend of his – a fellow radio dj – and his heart is breaking along with so many others. And it feels like you just can’t offer enough to make things okay, like he would be able to do for you when you needed that shoulder to cry on and hand to hold. I’ve offered to bring him food and coffee as he and his brave coworkers not only power through their work, but as radio djs they’re bearing their hearts to everyone.
But nobody minds, because everyone is feeling the exact same thing that they’re feeling. Everyone is just as shocked and just as hurt at the loss of our Big Tom. Becuase he really was ours.
Tom “Big Tom” Fitzgerald was one of Newfoundland’s most prominent personalities, he was a great supporter of local music, he was a great dj, and he was one of the nicest people you could ever meet. He was active in charities, and always game for a bit of silliness. Whether it was getting a tattoo on air or having a sleepover with the Premier of Newfoundland, Big Tom was always game. He loved his daughter greatly. He loved his fans.
Of course, K-Rock listeners loved him right back.
When a radio dj is good enough at his job, it can feel like someone is losing a friend, especially when people are in a situation or job where they listen to the radio every day and get used to having that person as a form of company. So it’s not just the employees of Steele Communications that have lost a friend, but the entire community. Every person is listening to that empty space where Big Tom’s laugh would have filled the air, and feeling that emptiness in their chest.
The good thing is, thanks to Mike and Candice and their strength, we can all laugh along with the tears as we listen to one of the most beautiful tributes I’ve ever heard. Never have I heard anything so raw and so touching as two people who have just lost a friend stepping up through the hurt and for three hours, sharing their love for Tom while listeners send it right back their way, calling and tweeting with memories and support.
We can take solace in the knowledge that Big Tom lived more in his short time – just shy of his 39th birthday – than many have lived in twice that time. He lived big, he loved big, and left a legacy bigger than many could imagine.
So all that’s left to do is have a beer, blast some Alice Cooper, and keep Tom in our hearts.
Big Tom forever.