Wednesday, March 17, 2010
I have struggled for many weeks about this post's focus on the 1-year anniversary of Brian’s death. I decided to have it be completely and totally about BRIAN. Not about how the boyz and I are doing. Not about how his family is doing. Not about life in general.
Brian was the 8-year older brother to Michael. Brian was Michael’s mentor and example. Michael admired Brian and longed to spend time being like him and being near him. Brian and Sean both tormented Michael to an extent as big brothers are supposed to do, like smashing his invisible friend, manipulating him into making milkshakes and hanging him on doorknobs. Despite their age gap, Brian and Michael grew a strong brotherly bond and a great friendship. Brian always joked about Michael being his little brother then his “bigger” little brother. Brian was the shortest of the 3.
The last time Brian fell in March of 2009, Michael picked him up. The last time Brian needed to be moved but was unable to stand or walk, Sean held him up. It was just as it always had been, but not so metaphorically this time.
Brian worked for Caterpillar for his entire post-college career. He had several different positions within Caterpillar. Brian was well respected in the workforce. He worked hard, but made time for relationships. He tried his best and always followed through. He was dedicated and thorough. He was willing to learn and took all forms of criticism well. As he grew sicker and lost his ability to speak fluently and use the right side of his body, he continued to work. While the job was not as demanding as some of his other assignments, Brian took it just as seriously and dedicated just enough of himself to it to perform well and still allow his body time to recuperate and heal. In doing this, Brian gained even more respect in the workforce. While his speech failed him, he learned to patiently listen to what others had to say because he could no longer interject. He gained new perspective on when it was worthwhile to talk and how to be concise. In his illness, he showed what dedication and effort truly encompass in merely showing up each day with his continuous positive attitude and outlook.
Brian was faithful, romantic, real, complimentary, supportive, and loving. He made sure I knew he loved me but didn’t overdo it. He constantly encouraged me and instilled confidence within me. I don’t know how to put this adequately into words. I have had many people over many years tell me that most people in a lifetime do not reach the level of intimacy and love in a marriage that Brian and I had even early on. And we only grew from there. I could not tell you anyone on this earth that I would have rather spent time with than Brian. He made me laugh, cry, think, dream, reminisce, plan, and smile all in the same day. We had a good life together. He helped me learn to enjoy the moment and believe in the good of life. He personified optimism. I may have brought him to his faith in Christ, as he told me, but he helped me grow in my faith.