It was just like any other day. I was working at the office and I had to make arrangements to drop off my employer’s car at his house with the help of Bruce, a friend and co worker. Russel, my boss has always lent me his car when I needed a car as he did not want to see me have to take on the expense of renting a car. I had the use of his car for 4 days as my car was in the repair shop. Bruce followed me to Russel’s house to drop off his car and he drove me home. It was Thursday, April 16th 2009 and we just finished another busy tax season and I felt relief that we did not have long nights for awhile. I was telling Bruce as he drove me home that it felt good to get through another tax season and home at an earlier hour so I could spend some time with my son. As Bruce dropped me off at my house I thanked him and waved goodbye. I was home and my wife and son both said, “Dad, You’re home early tonight!” I said yes and I was happy to be home with my family. It was about 6:00 pm and I was talking with my wife and sister-in-law. I sat down to dinner and had the TV on so I could relax a little. My son was on the computer as he always enjoys his computer time. After dinner I washed up and grabbed a snack and watched some TV.
I received a call from my sister Kathy at about 7:30 pm that Kenny, my brother-in-law, her husband was in the neighborhood and was stopping by with a check for preparing their taxes. I said OK and told her I would keep the door open. At about 7:45 pm I heard a knock at the door and I went to answer and I saw both my brother-in-laws, Kenny and Michael and I was somewhat surprised. As they walked in they asked me to see if Matt could go in grandma’s room. I then proceeded to have my mother-in-law watch Matt as I sat down at the dining room table which was a gift from my dad. I offered them both a drink but they said it was OK. My wife was upstairs watching her Filipino soaps. I asked immediately if my dad was OK as I suspected this was the reason for their visit. Before I could complete my question Kenny and Michael, with grim faces had indicated that something terrible had happened to Dad and I asked is he OK? They said we have very sad news that your dad was killed and we were waiting to await confirmation of identification of his body. At this point I was in a state of shock and did not know what was going on but Matty kept coming into the room and I tried to shield him from the grim news and keep him in grandma’s room and I went upstairs to tell Maria and ask her to keep Matthew by her side as I was very distraught.
I started to cry as I felt shock and could not understand what happened. I then asked what actually happened to my dad. They said he apparently was distraught and Kathy had just talked with him after he walked home from Joan’s house. He seemed a bit agitated and was insistent on mailing a letter. He actually did not mail the letter. He placed it in my sister Kathy’s mail box. It actually was not a letter. It was a monthly car payment. My sister, Kathy asked him if he was OK and he said he had to take care of this and she offered him a ride and he said he preferred to walk. After about a half-hour and dad was not home yet she started to worry so she ran out the house to see if she could see him on his way. She saw in the distance a lot of commotion down at the Bellmore train station and she was very concerned as she ran in the house to ask Kenny if he could walk down to the station to see what happened. Kenny has a very friendly personality and can talk with anyone. So he approached the 2 detectives standing down at the stairway that leads up to the platform and asked what had happened. They indicated that there was a fatality on the tracks. Apparently someone was hit by the train going full speed and the person was killed instantly. Kenny then proceeded to explain that they were looking for his father-in-law who was reported missing. The detectives said that if you have questions or concerns you would have to direct them with the MTA. There was no identification of the body at this time. Kenny called the MTA to see where the body was to be brought so he could see if that was our dad. He made arrangements to go the following day which was Friday, April 17th 2009. So at this point it was apparent that it was my dad that was hit by the train and Kenny explained that he made arrangements to identify the body at the morgue in the morning. I just was beside myself and did not know what to say as it was all so devastating and we did not expect this at all. Our family had just celebrated Easter the week before and dad looked great and he was so proud of his grandson Gregory who was on leave from the USMC. My brother-in-laws comforted me at a most critical time as I knew they had to get home to their wives, my sisters. I gave them both big hugs and thanked them for coming and being so kind to dad as I tried to hold back my tears.
I had some phone calls to make as I called my best friend Jeffrey Saper and my boss, Russel. They were both shocked as I told them and they both were so kind and understanding. Jeff has always been there for me and Russel even offered to drive over to the house and spend time with me but I told him it was OK and I needed to just try to deal with it as best I can.
As Kenny went to the morgue my 2 sisters and I went to the funeral parlor Friday to make arrangements for Dad as we were still in a state of disbelief. I was trying to hold back my tears as my sisters both seemed so much stronger than I but we all comforted each other at this most difficult time. As we talked to the funeral director he put our minds at ease and made our visit very comfortable despite the tragic nature of it all. We were planning to do a very loving tribute to our dad and wanted to share it with family, relatives, friends, co-workers and Dad’s fellow iron workers.
The circumstances of my father’s death was still unclear and I was not sure what his state of mind was but I would never have imagined that dad would have taken his life as it apparently seemed. My dad was a wonderful, compassionate and humble man who would do anything for his family. He was such a caring husband to mom and I know when he lost her a part of him was lost. Dad was very loyal to mom despite her illness and he tried to help her as best he could. He was a wonderful father and he was always concerned for my 2 sisters and I and our children. Dad was just a simple person with a great big heart and he had such an engaging personality for a quiet man. He was proud and was old school as he worked very hard and never complained. It was his duty and he took it very seriously.
As we read my dad’s death certificate we realized that he was killed in a very quick and tragic way as he seemingly leaned into the path of an oncoming train speeding through the station and the force of the train hitting him caused him to be catapulted forward and he was airborne and thrown a considerable distance down the platform crashing onto the concrete platform causing skull fracture and instant death. I just was numb and felt truly sad and had no real way of reconciling this in my mind. I felt I was going to struggle with this for the rest of my life and just felt so much sorrow for my dad that he was in such pain. He was so strong for so long and he encountered so many personal struggles but managed to weather them and come out stronger. He was very courageous and also very fragile but he had a tremendous spirit and was a great inspiration and I truly miss him.
I was so devastated by my dad’s loss that I needed to express my sadness and pain so I used my facebook page to express my feelings and say goodbye to my dad and tell him how much we love him and will always cherish our wonderful memories of him. I was very blessed by wonderful friends who expressed their sympathies and consoled me. It was very helpful.
Dad, If I could have a few minutes with you to tell you how much you mean to me I would need a lifetime to share it all because you and mom gave me so much more than just life. You gave me all the necessary love and encouragement and support that I could ever hope for and I was blessed to have you in my corner and help me through trying times and share in our joys and sorrows. I know we all must depart as that is God’s plan but it is never easy and when we lost you we lost so much and I will try my best to be brave and move on as I have very important work with raising Matthew with my beautiful wife Maria. As Matthew meant so much to you he is our pride and joy and we love him and wish to give him all the love and encouragement that you gave Kathy, Joannie and I.
Thank you Dad! Goodbye to you! We miss you very much!
Eddie Iannielli III, Maria & Matthew