December 2, 2015 is a date I will never forget, a day that was filled with my normal activities, and quite frankly, a good day. It wasn’t until later as I was relaxing at home and interacting with friends on Facebook, that December 2nd. became ominous, dark, filled with dread and terror. I was not aware that anything was wrong as far as my warm, engaging and passionately vocal circle of social media friends were concerned until someone messaged me, “Babette do you know where Nicholas is?” I quickly replied back, “What do you mean? I’m assuming he’s at work right now.” They responded back that perhaps I need to go to his wife’s Facebook page, but before I could even do that my cell phone rang and it was another Facebook friend of mine, someone that was also a mutual friend of Nicholas’ on Facebook and she told me that there had been a shooting in San Bernardino, Ca., at the Inland Regional Center where Nicholas was attending a conference and a Christmas party. My heart felt as if it had skipped a few beats, and icy fingers of fear with dread enveloped my body.
In my haste to call Nicholas’s cell phone, I inadvertently rudely disconnected with the current call while pressing the speed dial for Nick’s number. The phone rang, and rang, finally I got his voice mail and left a message that I was concerned about him so would he please call me back as soon as possible. Turning back to my computer, I immediately went to Jennifer’s page to see a posting that she was going to the site to find out about Nicholas. Many a Facebook friends in that thread were hopeful as I was that perhaps he was alive and maybe just injured, or detained by law enforcement giving his statement on what happened. We held on to that hope with much prayer. God has reasons and our prayers were answered, just not in the manner that so many of Nicholas and Jennifer’s friends had wanted. Nicholas was home, with our Lord and Savior.
Having experienced the loss of many loved ones over the years, family, friends, co-workers and yes, several social media friends since joining social media sites. Nicholas’ death struck me hard for someone I unfortunately had not had the pleasure to meet in person, yet. Nicholas and I met on Facebook, I cannot remember how it came to be, perhaps because of our mutual passion to defend the life of the unborn? As to when, I know it was before 2014 as Facebook notates it now, but that is only because I had to start a new personal page. I do know that our friendship became one that was not only through engaging online, but via telephone calls, birthday or Christmas cards. We often tried to keep in touch by phone at least once or twice a week, often catching each other on a Saturday, while Nicholas and Jennifer were relaxing at home. Nicholas would call to see how I was doing and my family, as well as passing greetings between Jennifer to me and vice versa as she was either resting or catching up on grading papers of her students. We often discussed the current political topic of the moment, bible verses, as well as what my girls were into and up to. We had an ease of friendship that many would have assumed we were the type of friends that knew each other far longer than we had and either went to school together or grew up in the same neighborhood.
Nicholas was always an even-tempered person at least to me, someone that no matter was going on in their life or even while sick, he was more concerned with how you were doing. He was never inappropriate in any manner, even if he was passionately pontificating on something that irked him, never a word of profanity. I on the other hand would utter, “excuse my language,” as I sorely lacked the restraint and at times dignity he exhibited during some of our serious conversations. I do remember Nicholas speaking of his fellow co-worker Syed Farook on a few occasions that year, but never in a negative manner, just that they were having conversations regarding religion. I remember asking Nicholas if Farook was comfortable with those conversations and he assured me that he was, that Farook was the one to bring it up on occasion. I also recall telling Nicholas to be careful and he in a very lighthearted manner assured me that he and Farook were not hostile at least as far as he felt, they just disagreed with each other’s views of Islam and Judaism.
The purpose of this blog, my first in many months is not to rehash nor timeline the horrible, tragic murders of the 14 victims of Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik’s violent and unholy jihadist act, but to finally express my memories of my sorely missed friend, Nicholas. I also want to emphasize that while Nicholas was a man of strong faith, convictions as well as one that was very vocal about his views. While he wasn’t perfect (he would be the first to admit that), he was not that man as many media writers tried to portray as a bigoted, inflammatory, reckless, and volatile person, which the Los Angeles Times fairly noted in the article titled, ” The Shooting Victim at the center of the debate, about politics, religion and free speech.” Kuuleme Stephens, a good friend of Nicholas’ and my fellow co-founder of The Last Civil Right gives an excellent statement in this article regarding Nicholas’ right to free speech, she states:
It wasn’t hate. He was just expressing his views while everybody else was expressing theirs,” Stephens said. “If people would pick up the phone and talk to him, you’d hear that he was very calm. If you’d disagree with him, he wouldn’t snap at you.-via LATimes
I still think of Nicholas as this sort of friend and brother in Christ, and this is how I’ll always remember him:
Babette Holder, a close friend of Thalasinos’ describes him as a “deeply faithful man.”
“He loved his wife immensely,” she tells PEOPLE Magazine . “There was not one conversation we had where he didn’t mention Jennifer or her well-being or all the other stuff they do with the church and their family.”
She adds: “He also was the type of person who put family and friends above himself. He was always getting on me about getting some rest, like a mother hen.”
While we take social media for granted and often those that are ‘friends’ or followers, I believe that many often find those that seem as if long lost soul friends, sisters, and brothers sharing common concerns, wishes and interests. I hope too that while you are ‘social media socializing’ you remember to savor those LOL’s or OMGs for at any time the person you look forward to seeing often in your threads, your fellow warrior, crusader, champion, and just dear friend may not one day be there ever again.
The last message I have from Nicholas with Jennifer from 2015, I cherish it:
Happy Thanksgiving fam! I hope you two are having a lovely blessed Thanksgiving day! From me and the girls 😀
We were thinking of you earlier sis!
HASHEM Bless you and the girls – Always! ❤✡🕎✝. 🦃
Jennifer has stated that she believes that her husband Nicholas was a martyr for his beliefs and as stated on Hannity, she said, “My husband was very cordial about these types of things,” Jennifer said. “He wasn’t going to get into a knock-down, drag-out fight with someone over whatever it might be.”
I agree, the definition of martyr is: someone killed because of their religion or beliefs.
Psalm 116:115: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
In the words of my dear friend Nicholas, “May Hashem bless you my friends.”
Copyright 2016 The Last Civil Right – All Rights Reserved