8.20.2010

Lamont Corwin John Francis: 1972-2010

MontSoccer

The biggest influence in my life is my older brother Monty. He passed away suddenly yesterday at age 37 leaving behind a devoted wife, four beautiful children and a legacy of love & friendship with anyone he ever came across. For those of us that knew him our lives will never be what they were when he was here. And because we knew him our lives can never be what they were before he came into them.

He was my partner in crime, confidant, idol and educator. He was the kind of brother found only in a Hollywood film or the Holy Bible. From a young age he played fill-in for our absentee father and did what he could to try and teach me how to be a man even though he was but a boy himself. He always looked out for me and our younger siblings, perfecting his uncanny paternal instincts for the day when he would have a family of his own.

I've often wondered what would have happened to me without him in my life; it scares me because I know the answer is far more sinister than the blessed existence I live today. If I've ever done a good thing on this earth I can tell you that at its root, Monty Francis is responsible for it.

He really did teach me everything. When I was 6 he told me that the New York Cosmos were the best soccer team in the world. I disagreed and told him it was the Chicago Sting even though I knew nothing about them other than their logo was cool. When I was 10 took me to pick out first three cassettes: Midnight Starr's No Parking on the Dancefloor, Van Halen's 1984 and Depeche Mode's Some Great Reward.

When I was in Cub Scouts helped me earn every merit badge possible. He tutored me in catechism before my Confirmation. In 7th grade he came home with a 12" single of this snare drum-less music by a band called 808 State. "What is this?" I said. "House music," he replied. Mind. Blown. And he always kept me in check whenever I went off the reservation and got a little big-headed, selfish or ornery.

He gave me so much and I don't know if I could ever return the favor in kind. Not that that's why he did any of it, for some great reward. He was as selfless as is humanly possible. I was able to do a few things for him though, small tokens of tribute to my liege. The one that will stick with me until I join him was having the privilege of taking him to his first Man United matches, his favorite club. We saw them play in Philly and New York and he was so excited, so happy. After the match at Giants Stadium we were supposed to go see his favorite band, The Cure, play at Randalls Island but we were so full of light beer and tailgate sausage (not to mention dangerously dehydrated) that our pitstop to change shirts at my apartment turned into both of us passing out until 11pm. We missed the show entirely but made a midnight trip to Times Square, someplace he always wanted to visit. It was a perfect day.

I'm wrecked right now and feel like I've got an arm or some other major part of me missing. But I'm so grateful for the time I had with this most beautiful human being and all of the memories & lessons that he left me with and the love he gave me when he was here.

Goodbye and "thank you" sweet brother...I will always love you. I know that you are still watching over me from afar.