Dealing With The Pain

Miami Ink, Ami James, Tattoos Irene Meiller, Tony Bird's little sister

My brothers' nickname was Bird. He had a beautifully large wingspan when he would swim, the way his arms reached out resembled wings. He absolutely loved surfing, it was his life and he was almost always found in the water and on the beach. I lost my big brother on September 9th, 2016. He took his last breath fresh out of the salt water, embraced in the warm sand, with the sun shining upon his body.

Losing my older brother was by far the hardest experience I have had here on earth.  

I have always looked up to my brother, he was my rock. He took me in, gave me a home when I was in need and always provided so much love and support. Never did he make me feel judged and never did he frown upon me, even when I was at my lowest point. My big brother always took the time to hear me, give me a shoulder and made everything feel like it was going to be ok. 

My bro was a legend in Miami. I was always so proud to stand next to him when he would introduce me as his little sister. 💙 I am still proud to call him my big brother!!! And even though I already knew how much he was loved and respected, I never got to see it all at once. The way his friends and loved ones gathered the week we lost him, was absolutely incredible. To feel the warm embraces, the salty tears, the stories and the support helped put love into my very heavy heart. My big brother was not only a big brother to me, he was to so many others as well. Always warm, inviting, generous, friendly and never judgmental. He touched and impacted so many individuals, in uniquely special ways. 

The day my sister-in-law picked up his remains, I found myself needing to get my first tattoo. Yes, needing. I have never had such a desire to have an imprint on my skin. I also never imagined a tattoo would be so comforting. Somehow the pain from the needle was nurturing.

I made an appointment with a very close friend of his, tattoo artist and owner of Miami Ink, Ami James. It was an honor to be in his chair. Knowing how close they were and that he was there with my brother the day he died, had a huge impact on me. Ami took gentle care of my wrist and my heart as he tattooed me in front of my husband and my brother's two teenage girls.

The tears rolled down my face, knowing that moment was one of those memories I would never forget. It was the first of many moments, where I found myself learning to embrace the change. In the future months, my grieving process had me doing things I would have never done, if he were still here today.

Tony "bird" Torrellio, Miami Beach Surfer, Dies of heart failure


1 comment

  • This is so beautiful. I just wanted to let people know how much you helped me, so I wrote about my experience. I stumbled upon this. I had seen the photo, but I didn’t’ read the entry. No wonder this was such an amazing feeling. It felt really good to feel positive grief. Like what you spoke of in describing getting your tattoo…that’s how I felt when I saw that first pendant online. It’s a pull..a feeling.

    Sarah Hoekstra

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