Saturday, September 17, 2011

How can we live past today?

I still don't know exactly how Brian died,  and where, and why the whole thing happened.  I  think of what we have been told, and I don't know how to make sense of facts I don't have. I wish I were Matlock,  or Mike Hammer, because it makes no sense to me that this act took place at all.

(The investigation is still open. No trial dates have been set. The official death certificate says: "homicide", "battered by another".)

Brian was a peaceful man. His friends, all peaceful, thoughtful, engaged in living good, productive lives.
He was strong, tall and wiry, fit and energetic, taking up one sport after another,year in and year out.  Being a victim of a battery was not in his profile.

He had no need for possessions that cluttered his life. He biked to work, played basketball, tennis. He enjoyed the outdoors, and went camping every chance he had. He had just what he needed to live a great life: a wonderful job, a loving family, and recently, the love of his life, Janet, had accepted his marriage proposal. Two weeks earlier, when the two of them had visited us in Port Orford, Oregon, we had spoken about having a wedding at our lake house.

He had lived a frugal, thoughtful life, volunteering at Habitat for Humanity on weekends, or mentoring students, like the neighbor's son, or working on his house or car, or taking his dog Butters (short for Buttercup-as in The Princess Bride) to the ocean to swim.  Yes, that dog had been the reason he saved and  saved to buy a house in this economy, a house to nest in and build his future in - a cat Newkie now in our care, and Butters now in the neighbor's son's care.

He was most generous with his elderly parents. He called often, sometimes just to ask about a recipe he was whipping up. When he visited, a couple of times a year, he'd ask what needed to be done around the house. He couldn't just sit around. He and I would be pulling weeds,  planting, and he'd find something to be done, clean the gutters, trim trees, repair a hinge, replace light fixtures.

I see him everywhere. I look at young men now to see any resemblance of what mine was.
This week, during Cycle Oregon, I could see him riding from town to town, visiting the coast, stopping in Port Orford.

I plan my days, my outings, trying to avoid meeting people. Each look of grief on their faces melts my composure. I break into sobs and I'm back to square one.
When people ask ,how are you doing, they get a standard answer, Better.
We are not better.
We are not worse.
We are barely breathing.

Yet, yet, words and gestures of condolence are helping. We feel better, somehow.
Just a tiny tiny bit warmer.
And alive.

(Thank you for reading this. Thank you for your support.)


  1. Rosaria...what a lovely tribute to this beloved son of yours. Through your posts we have come to know his wonderful spirit. He has obviously left his mark..."Brian was here!" Just a few nights ago my husband and I were talking about how powerless people must feel when something happens to someone they love and they do not know "who did it," "why it was done," and have no place to direct their angst...but must remain helpless, lost in this fog of unknown and finality. My heart goes out to you and while it cannot change things, do know that through your sharing, we are all enriched.

  2. all I can say Rosaria is this is how it is
    I heard one of the mother's of a 911 victim on Flt 93 say....Grief is not tidy
    Better that they ask how you are and you lie
    than to be avoided... or your loss ignored
    this is the otherside of love's journey

  3. Our world is senseless Rosaria. I don't know that it was ever good, but today it is worse. The random taking of Brian's life is so horrific that I struggle in vain with trying to figure out why it had to be--for you. I remember when my husband died all of a sudden one night in his sleep, and how sympathetic people were, and then how one day they simply no longer wanted to hear from me and my pain. Somehow though we move on. We continue. And we are never the same again.
    I am sorry. I am always here to listen.
    My email is on my blog if you should ever want to write and talk.

  4. You paint such a beautiful picture of Brian. Through your description, we can see how much you loved him, and how much there was to love and respect about him. He obviously made a difference, for you, for Janet, for his neighbors, for his friends. I am so sorry for what you must be going through.

  5. Sometimes just drawing a breath is all we have the energy for. My chest grows tight to imagine your heart's weight, let alone the heaviness of air. Thinking of you. Your Brian was a beautiful man. It is easy to see as you paint him.


  6. Brian must have been a wonderful person and a wonderful son. Hugs to you.

  7. Rosaria,
    Others have been here before me and said more eloquently than I could that your Brian lives on in your words and memories of him. Had he been a different person who led a much different life, his death might not have such anguished whys attached to it. But what happened to him is so at odds with how he lived. How terribly, terribly sad to not only have lost him, but not to have any answers.
    Those of us who recognize your pain cannot feel it - we hear of it and sympathize with you, but we don't live it. I hope that you will not ever feel that you can't express your pain here - we need to be reminded that although other life goes on, the person who suffers is altered in an unimaginable, permanent way.
    Brian was obviously the kind of person who other people thought wonderful, not just those who loved him most. I'm so sorry for your broken heart.

  8. What a wonderful young man your son was--a truly beautiful soul. As you raised him to be (perhaps there is a small degree of comfort in that?). I cannot imagine your pain, I can only offer a hug...

  9. What a lovely and loving, vital young man. How senseless and horribly heartbreaking his loss. And how utterly frustrating for you to not have an understanding of how/why he died. Take one more breath, Rosaria.

  10. Blessings to you, Rosaria. I imagine that writing it down is helpful. Have you thought about grief counseling or a support group? Some stuff you have to just deal with within yourself, but it might be helpful to find a group with which to share, to know that you're not alone.

  11. The saddest, most profound words I read in your post 'I look at young men now to see any resemblance of what mine was' ... I cannot conceive of your pain.

    Brian was the son mothers and fathers dream of having. This violent act will never make sense.

  12. Brian was EVERYTHING you described. He was an AWESOME person... in every way. I remember those phone calls he made to you on the weekends. He always looked forward talking to you, asking for advice, bragging about an experiment, etc. You had a GOOD son.

  13. seeing you))) feeling you)))


  14. I got here via Helen's blog and would echo her comment. I cannot conceive of anything worse than losing a child... and (I get the impression) you still have to endure a court case! How awful for you!