Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bryan's Birthday

Tomorrow would have been Bryan’s 34th birthday, however 11 days after his 31st birthday he was killed. His death was a homicide. The finality of that horrible day in 2007 is clear on his birthday. Bryan and I were born ten and a half months apart, growing up we heard the term Irish Twins used to describe us. I am the older brother, and Bryan the younger. For one and a half months Bryan would make sure I knew that we were the same age. My birthday in 2007 was hard, because I knew that that day marked the last time we would be the same age. It may seem like a small thing, but it was a reminder of the fact that my Brother’s life was taken.

Today I am 34, and tomorrow Bryan remains 31. Forever 31. I spoke briefly with my parents this afternoon, my mother called to remind me of something I needed to do, but I sensed there was more to it. She needed to hear my voice. They were headed to the cemetery to lay a wreath on Bryan’s grave. The hard gray granite is a stark contrast to Bryan’s personality. Although Bryan was naturally shy, those that knew him best saw the softness in his heart and the loyalty that made him a great friend. The granite is cold to the touch, but Bryan was not a cold person. He was laid back and accepted as friends many people who had been rejected by society. When you were a friend of Bryan’s you always had a person who would stand in your corner and support you. When I go to the cemetery I always pat the gravestone in a loving brotherly manner, and I tell him that I love him. The coldness and hardness of the stone is unmistakable, and one day I hope I will be able to replace that stone with my brother. That will not happen until I am gone as well.

The hope comes from my faith which has been renewed in the wake of this tragedy. Although I would trade in everything I have learned to have my brother back, the lessons are not insignificant. Spiritually, I have learned that Our Heavenly father has a plan in which we have agency to choose. He does not want or “will” us to hurt one another, but it is a byproduct of that choice. However, He is there to comfort us and carry us through the difficulty that results. He is there for the offender, to lead him to remorse and repentance if the offender would only listen. He is there for the family of the victim, he sends others to bring comfort and sends the Holy Spirit in the quiet times to comfort further. He was there literally for my brother, when his spirit left his body, and he “'slipped the surly bonds of earth' to 'touch the face of God.'” 1 God is there, and it is in those instances when we see His hand touching our lives.

Tomorrow my brother would have celebrated, but instead today we all remember. We remember a man named Bryan, who loved his daughter, his family, his friends, and the pure powder of the Rocky Mountains. In one swing of a weapon he was silenced forever, but one thing that could not be taken from us was his love and the memories we share. God Bless.

1. From a speech given by President Ronald Reagan - January 28, 1986

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