For our Anchorage celebration of life, I presented a somewhat different eulogy for Bryan. I’m copying it here, and then will try to think of something less grim to write about the rest of the week. (Like my freshly groomed fluffy doggies with bows on their collars!)
Yesterday evening, I realized I was really cranky at having to sit down and write this. The basic problem is that I don’t want to be having a memorial service for him because, damn it, he should still be here and would have loved the gathering of friends and family.
But, it is what it is and we have to keep going, one step at a time.
As many of you know, Bryan collapsed and passed away while waiting in line for the morning ferry to Seattle. The coroner felt it was some form of heart failure – perhaps a pulmonary embolism. There were no warning signs; it was sudden, shocking and decades too soon.
Bryan commuted to downtown Seattle daily via car, ferry & bus, while I had the opportunity to work at home fairly often. Most mornings he’d get up and walk out the door for the ferry about the time I woke up for my workday. Every morning, no matter how groggy I was, we’d make a point of hugging and kissing goodbye and telling each other “I love you”. Knowing that our last words to each other were an expression of love has saved my sanity through these terrible weeks.
Bryan and I actually met online. No, not in one of those chat rooms, but a science fiction forum. We eventually met and established a life together here in Alaska. We were married June 21, 1997, summer solstice, in his parents beautiful (and rainy) garden. I had the privilege of being his wife and best friend for 12 all-too-short years.
Honestly, happily ever after never was the fairy tale we had hoped for. It never is for anyone. We were in our mid-30s when we married, strong-willed and stubborn, and had our share of challenges. There were wonderful times where it seemed we could conquer the world together, and painful times when it seemed like we couldn’t agree on up or down.
Still, he was a wonderful husband, one of the best. He was a romantic who made it clear daily that he adored me, telling me often with words, affection and action. He brought me flowers frequently, loved to take me out for dinner and movie dates, and supported me as I pursued my own interests and professional life.
In marrying me, he also became a devoted father to two boys. He proudly sat beside me at school conferences, spelling bees and scouting ceremonies, and patiently helped with homework and long nights with sick kids. He gladly invested the time and energy required to help raise two bright, caring, handsome men, and considered them his own from the moment he said “I do.”
When I went through his office effects, carefully packed up for me, I was overwhelmed to find more than a dozen pictures of the boys in the boxes. They had been displayed all about his office. We are all overwhelmed with gratitude for how much he loved us.
I was very proud of Bryan’s professional accomplishments and stature. I work in telecom IT, and of course he worked in title law, and we laughed at our mutual incomprehension of each others’ industry jargon, documentation and regulatory snafus. Still, as he told me many stories from work, it was clear that his professional ethic, business judgment, wisdom and passion for his profession were extraordinary. When I hear details about his professional accomplishments from his longtime colleagues and friends, I realize all the more what a tremendous loss this is to the title industry.
I loved so many things about Bryan – his integrity, honesty, brilliance, fierce loyalty, and complete disdain for idiots. Above all, I loved his laughter. He had a wonderful sense of humor and I adored listening to him tell stories and tales. The world is a grimmer place without his rendition of the Scottish joke.
Bryan tried to convince us all he was a cranky, grumpy lawyer, but most of us knew what a teddy bear he really was. He had the biggest heart I’ve ever known and spent his love so unsparingly on family, friends, and his beloved dogs, it’s not surprising that his heart is what finally gave out.
I loved him more than I can say. My home, like my heart, is far too empty and quiet now. Our path forward looks rocky and desolate without Bryan’s laughter and love to ease the way.
When you remember him, remember his laughter and his integrity, and honor him by telling your family and friends know how much you love them, regularly and often.