Family Tribute:My brother, Denis, was a great person. I don’t think he did a wrong thing in life. He was good to everyone. He would give you the shirt off his back.
My mom and dad had six children. First there were four girls (me being the last girl), and then came a boy finally, Denis. It was great growing up in this family. We were all very close. Thanksgiving and Christmas were great.
When my dad passed away, Denis took over. All of the girls were married and some had children of their own. He worked every day and went to school and most importantly, took care of my mom. The family house was huge and it needed a lot of work. My mom has arthritis and could not walk up and down the stairs very well. My brother used to go down to the basement and do the wash.
About three years ago, my mom sold the family home and bought a condo for her and Denis. My brother was a bachelor and never married. Even though the condo was much smaller, he still did so much for her. Even the little things that people don’t normally think about, such as open a window was difficult for my mom to do. Denis still yet did the wash, opened the windows, etc. He did so much for my mom, that I don’t think the rest of the family really appreciated until he was gone. My mom used to worry about what was going to happen to Denis if she passed away. He would have missed her terribly, but he would have been okay and able to take care of himself. Now, my mom is by herself and it is extremely difficult for her to take care of herself. We all check in on her. Just about every day, someone visits her and every day we all call her, but still, it is definitely not the same as having my brother there every day with her.
Denis loved comedy shows. He and my mom used to watch comedies on television all the time.
My brother loved Italian food. He was not a meat eater. He loved pasta. I used to make pasta and broccoli for family gatherings and he couldn’t get enough of it. I have not had the heart to make it since the September 11th tragedy. He and my mom used to enjoy eating out and ordering in food on the weekends. My mom used to cook during the week and now she has difficulty doing that. It is just not the same, she says.
My brother bought a new car finally in 1999. He was driving a 1987 Plymouth Sundance up until then. Instead of trading it in, he gave the car to my son Luke. And then I blew the head gasket on my car so I had to drive it. I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have that car in the driveway. He was so happy that someone was driving “Betsy” and putting some miles on it. (He didn’t drive much at all, he loved to walk wherever and whenever possible.)
Denis had 3 nieces, 6 nephews, 1 grandnephew and 1 grandniece. We all miss him very, very much. He was a great brother and I love him.
Following are the lyrics for “Chosen... Denis' Song”
Lyrics to the song were written in tribute by Tara Caloia-Moccia, Denis’ niece
There must be a reason, for all that has gone on.But what that reason is, it's hard to see right now.There's a lot of people hurting, a lot of people asking why.People are mourning, people can't stop crying.You were a son you were a brother, you were an uncle and a friend.We sit here in disbelief at how you met your end.
You were chosen, you were chosenFor a reason, even though we may not know what that reason is right nowYou were chosen, chosenTo make us better people, to make this world a better placeAnd we will never forget you smiling faceYou were chosen
There are so many people missing, so many questions left.It was a day of true horror, one we will never soon forget. People tell me thatthe angels came and took all those involved.Took them into Heaven and into God's palm.It was all a part of his plan, even though we may not see.And someday we'll understand how all this came to be.
Why you were chosen, you were chosenFor a reason, even though we may not know what that reason is right nowYou were chosen, chosenTo make us better people, to make this world a better placeAnd we will never forget your smiling faceYou were chosen
And I know I'm being selfish, wishing you were still here right now.Especially when I know you're in a better place looking down.But I just can't help it; I miss you oh so much.What I would do, just to touch you.
You were chosen, chosenFor a reason, even though we may not know what that reason is right nowYou were chosen, chosenTo make us better people, to make this world a better placeAnd we will never forget your smiling face, You were chosen.
Denis Lavelle: A Mother’s Devoted Son
Denis Lavelle idolized Rush Limbaugh and had cleared rooms at many a family gathering arguing his hard-line conservatism, but the last thing his relatives expected him to do was run for public office. But there was Mr. Lavelle over the summer, 42 and an absolute newcomer to retail politics, going door to door around Yonkers, where he was born and raised, collecting signatures for a run for the City Council on the Right to Life line.
'He had no chance,' said his brother-in- law, Alex Dziadek. 'But the party picked him because they knew he wouldn’t take it lightly.'
Mr. Lavelle, an accountant at Marsh & McLennan, had a ready smile, but he took his responsibilities seriously, and his greatest one was caring for his 75-year-old mother, who, widowed when he was 16, had become severely arthritic.
Mr. Lavelle, who never married, lived with his mother all his life, escorted her to Mass every Sunday and to the Italian restaurants on Central Avenue just about every weekend.
'He was so devoted to her,' said Mr. Lavelle’s sister Marie Paprocki. 'He was a dedicated son.'