This picture is how I will always remember you ... always staring into the eyes of your children ... always holding one of your babes in your arms ... always a Daddy.
I, however, am really pissed that this is how I have to"remember" you. You were way, way too young to leave this earth ... and your kids are way, way too young to live out their days without their Daddy here. I watched them bury you today. Literally. You went down into the earth as your children looked on. It was one of the worst days of my life. And theirs.
I watched your wife become a widow today. I watched your parents bury their eldest son. I watched your brother fall apart at the loss of you. I watched your Dad nearly throw himself into the ground with you. I watched my husband cry and shake .... and heard him curse God. In fact, I witnessed my husband lose all faith completely ... as this was just so, so wrong.
Your wife had witnessed this entire scene before ... as you well know. She was there when her own mother buried her father at such a young age. She watched her mother become a widow way too young. And like you, her own father left behind 5 children. It was a horrible deja vous of her own mother's life. And now she must raise her children without their Daddy ... just as she was raised without hers.
So wrong, Brian. So wrong.
You were healthy, Brian. We still don't know how on earth you died. Apparently we won't know for weeks. It seems your last hours were likely painless. But that is little consolation. Your kids' lives - your parents' lives - your wife's life --- will be far from painless now.
We are not angry at you. We love you. We are angry at something we cannot understand. We are angry at SO much. But not at you. Ok - maybe a little bit at you. Did you feel it coming and not get help? Did you screw up some meds or something? What the hell happened, Brian!? We will eventually find out, and we will forgive it. But right now, we don't know. And we are going to remain angry till we do - and maybe longer.
Brian - this sucks. I am sure you would agree. But here's the thing --- we will pick up where you left off --- as best we can. We will watch over your wife and kids. We will do whatever we can to help them. We will talk to them about how much you love them. We will make sure they take those bi-annual trips to Disney World. We will make sure Suzan does not try to take everything on by herself. We will love them as best we can for you. All of us. It won't be enough - but we hope it is something.
Till we see you again, Brian ... we love you. You were a good, solid man. You worked so hard to provide for your family. You were totally unassuming. Just a good soul who appreciated a good life spent with family. Always smiling. Always generous.
I cannot express to you - or anyone else - how much it sucks that you are gone. I hate this. We hate this. And I hope we can figure it out soon before we all lose faith.
Forever yours truly,