Three days ago marked 5 years since you lost your battle with depression. I went home to Minnesota for the anniversary so I could spend it with Mom.
Monday, the day before, I drove up to Minneapolis to have lunch with a group of old friends. I left early enough to make room for a special errand I wanted to take care of before I met up with them– I wanted to stop by your old condo, the very same home you died in. I can’t explain it and I’m sure it sounds pretty pitiful, but I just feel close to you there, you know? As I approached your neighborhood, so many memories came flooding back– trips to see you to watch football games together, to eat pizza and go bowling with you, to go take care of Maximus and Marcus while you were away, to watch the football draft or just to hang out and watch movies together. I wished so badly with each passing block that the last five years had just been a terrible dream and I’d turn the corner and see your red, two-door Saturn parked in the driveway.
As I pulled up, it was easy to spot the changes that told me you no longer lived there– the wind chimes hanging there surely did not belong to you and there were many new plants and flowers along the length of the house that I’m certain weren’t there before. I parked in front but left the car running as I grabbed the small pot of purple flowers I picked up for you (Go Vikings!) and began walking towards the front door. As I approached the front door, it appeared there was a light on inside and I saw movement in there. It completely startled me because I specifically chose to go late in the morning in the hopes that whoever lives there now would likely be away at work. I made the decision to quickly set the flowers down and leave… but not before snapping a picture of the door I’d seen you walk through so many times before I got in the car to drive away. I desperately wanted to sit there for a while and relive some of those memories but it occurred to me that loitering about staring at your old house and crying like a crazy woman might draw unwanted attention and possibly a call to the police.
Driving away along Brookdale Drive I noticed all the little shops in the area and I wondered about them. That little convenience store… did you once pull your Saturn up to those very pumps and fill up with gas? Did you ever stop in that little grocery to pick up milk? Is that liquor store I passed the one where you bought all of that vodka you consumed in your last few months? I imagined going inside to buy some much-needed booze of my own and that maybe the very same cashier looking into my eyes had once looked into your sad, empty eyes as well. But I didn’t. I just kept driving and imagined all kinds of things about your last days in that very neighborhood… and I wished things were different.
At Mom’s new home (which is adorable, by the way) I spent some time going through old photos and mementos and thought of you. I came across some papers that Mom had printed off with some memorial messages we received after you died. I thought you might like to know how fondly you were remembered by others so I’m going to share a few of them with you now.
Brian, my friend, you will be missed. You touched many people in your life and it will leave a hole in many of our hearts. Your sly smile and that chuckle you let out like a sneaky laugh always made me crack up. I will miss that and wish I could hear it one more time while sitting around watching the game with our group of friends enjoying each other’s company. You were always a good friend and I will never forget the fun we had growing up; making rubber fingers and Freddy Krueger costumes, laughing about the antics of classmates, floating the Camaro down University Avenue after the Metallica concert and your Bart costume with the wig and cheese stuck to your shirt that Halloween and SO many more good times. I wish I could say goodbye to you in person but I’m stuck 3,000 miles away without a way to be there to send you off like the great friend you were. I’ll miss you Brian. Save me a seat at the bar. Love ya, big guy.
I worked with Brian at Otto Bock, we were shocked and very saddened to hear he is gone. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. I really enjoyed all the heated discussions I had with Brian of politics and his wealth of football knowledge was incredible. On more than one occasion I told him he needs to be a football announcer or analyst; he had a true gift of knowledge and recollection with that sport! It is just very sad he is gone but I’ am so grateful he was here when he was, it was a true blessing to have known him. I pray for peace and strength for his family and peace for Brian.
I first met Brian at Target Corporation when he was servicing the printer by my office. We got to chit chatting and realized we belonged to the same health club. After that we became friends. It was always so nice that he took the time to stop and talk. I know he was very serious about his weightlifting. I also ran into him at the gym pool during the summers… we would spend a couple hours together. He was so interesting to talk to about books and movies. We shared a lot about career and office politics. One memory I have that makes me smile is one day out of the blue he decided to join me in a yoga class. It was so cute! Here was this body builder guy with all these delicate girls doing these yoga poses. The instructor just loved him, he did really well! I really liked being casual gym friends with him and he really brightened my life a lot. I thought about him today when the Vikes finally won. This ones for you, Brian! I wanted to offer my best to all of you and let you know how much I enjoyed knowing him.
I hope you know how very much you were respected, loved and appreciated. What I wouldn’t give to hear that laugh of yours one more time, dude. There was nothing in this world quite like it.