Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Brian's journal

Dear Brian,

Today, as the boys are in school, I have opted NOT to run needless errands, go to the gym, or spend time away from home. I am taking some time to gradually work my way through more of your things, deciding what to keep for the boys, what to give to your family and friends and what to simply discard. [And I have decided that the morphine (that I had forgotten was there) is going back to hospice to destroy legally.] Upon going through your nightstand drawer, I found your old journal. Journaling was something that you wanted to make a priority when you were first diagnosed and got over the initial shock (although did we ever truly get over that shock?).

It is in finding particular reminders that I am both overjoyed and deeply saddened. These reminders are the ones that bring you into action. The pair of paint stained shorts you wore when you did projects strike an emotion and memory in me greater than a still photograph. Your hockey jersey with the red paint stain that looks like blood and the boys will forever think insist is blood, is more jolting than the State 1st Place trophy-plaque. Coming across your cigar case with a lone forgotten cigar in your golf bag sparks more in me than the photo of you smoking a cigar with ashes longer than the cigar. Seeing your words written in a journal reminds me that you were here on this earth physically writing and thinking and feeling.

Your last journal entry was in 2000. I wish so much you would have continued to write in it. I love reading your thoughts and ramblings. You wrote exactly as you spoke. And you spoke as you lived. Not many people in this world do that. You always did.

Here is your last entry that brought me pride and tears and longing:

April 6, 2000

The secret to long life is to keep your soul happy. If your soul is happy, he'll want to stay in this world. One of the best ways to make your soul happy is to make someone else happy.

Brian, I think this is so profound and beautiful and simple. It is one of the most accurate statements I can think of to describe you. And the best part is that is came directly from you and was the last journal entry you ever wrote. And it was 9 years before you died. So, I know you won't mind that I am sharing it on this blog for the world to see. It is something you would have wanted to tell everyone and anyone who was struggling with contentment or health or other issues. I do believe you left this world with a happy soul. Why your soul didn't want to stay, as you wrote, I cannot answer. Perhaps because it was so happy and your body was failing enough that it was ready to flee back to it's creator? I don't know, but I know you were always a happy, empathetic, and compassionate soul. So many people told me while coming to visit us those last few months before you passed that despite our situation and its apparent grim outlook, our house was not a sad place. It was still a place of peace and joy. Brian, even in your last few dying months, you made others happy just as your journal entry stated - the most remarkable testimony to who you have always been!

I love you, Brian. I miss you.



  1. I think his happy soul and love for you and the boys helped him fight for as long as he did. I have no doubt if it was up to him that he would be by your side forever.

  2. It's a long road this road of grief, keep going. You are doing such an awesome job of a very tough situation. This was so personal and so raw, thank you for sharing it. I hope it helps someone else who is walking that road too.

  3. That right there is a legacy to be proud of. I'm so glad you have it.

  4. Beautiful words! XOXO

  5. Isn't it amazing what you find when you go through the dear one's belongings. I found a pin in my Mother's things that I passed along to my daughter. I kept the wedding rings from my first marriage for her also. They are treasured items to her and me.

    You are graceful in sorrow as you were in supporting Brian. The Lord is surely lifting you up. Be brave.
    Karen W. in S.W. Ohio

  6. everytime I think about Brian, and picture him in my mind...he has a smile on his face...that is how I see him still...and it brings a smile to my face : )

    LOVE you,

  7. I think that his journal entry is profoundly beautiful. What a wonderful thing to have.

  8. What a legacy to leave....we should all be living our lives striving to make those around us happy. Thanks for being so transparent. Just keep going Angie....the race with grief is on and you WILL WIN.


  9. WOW! Thanks for sharing this lovely and true statement from Brian. This is something for us all to strive for.

    Thinking of you as you go through his things.

  10. When I think of the hundreds of occurrences that coincided to bring us and keep us in each other's lives, and how any one change may have altered our lifelong friendship, my heart skips. I know my life is better for having known him and you.

  11. This is beautiful. The post and the quote both. I hope you don't mind, but I like to post different quotes on my blog and I just put Brian's quote up with a link here. Thank you for this and may God bless you.

  12. I loved this. and now I need a Kleenex...

  13. Lovely post. Thanks for sharing a piece of your life with us. Love, Karye

  14. nothing profound or grand to say. just wanted to say i'm thinking of you and your boys.