This past weekend was an emotional and impactful one for me. I have a Renaissance life that has been established. I am somewhere nearly every night of the week, by choice. Athletics, the arts – especially music and theatre, civic meetings (just to make sure all is well in the area) and charitable events. It is again, by choice, as my feeling is that as hard as I run, that is as hard as I rest. People always get a kick out of my response when they call and ask what I am doing. Many times the answer will be “thinking”. I do lie down with 8 – 10 pillows and just think. I think about everything on God’s Green Earth, for hours. I suppose it is my own form of meditation. But it is neither calming nor serene as my mind moves and tangents to the greatest of thoughts. The thoughts of a genius, or to the quandary of what happened to the best cartoons that used to air. Thus the thought process goes, from the crisis in the Ukraine to Speed Racer and why Spritle and Chimchim were so unattended.
I saw a group of young people, mostly 20 and 21 host an inaugural Benefit 5k run to honor their friend who passed away. If you read these pages, I have written of this young man before. It has been 2 ½ years since he left us, and it still rips one right to the center of their being. For he was one of the blessed who shined from within. He lived out loud and the way one should, true to themselves. When he entered a room, you knew he was there, for better or for worse. And I say that with all the admiration and adoration in my soul.
If one has never organized an event, any event, let alone a 5K, this would have been a daunting challenge. These young people formed a committee and planned the event. Ramsey took the lead as the coordinator. And I will add, all the while, attending university, working a job and perhaps trying to live a social life of some sort. I can tell you from experience the roadblocks people put in your way no matter what event you are organizing. One has to be so committed and resilient to make it happen.
The 5K race was not only a success, but a testament to their friend. The family attended, Mother, Father and Brother. Their steadfast belief and love always humbles me as they make sure that Brendan will never be forgotten and that his memory will serve to make this world a better place. The event was perfectly run, amazingly attended and raised nearly $10,000 for the scholarship funds and charities that this young man’s foundation contributes to annually.
This group of 6 young people – Ramsey, Jess, Drew, Keith, Carli and Genna made sure that their friend would be remembered. It was extraordinary. The energy, the love, the power of our souls that continue to love long after one has left us. You will see the photographs and the story in the body of our publication. And one would think that was all, some wonderful young adults hosting a hugely successful event. But one last thing happened that day, and I believe in signs. I believe in the power of a bright soul to keep letting us know he is somewhere still, not in our realm, but so close. He is just too much of a presence to go somewhere and rest. He loved his friends and family far too much. He was just too spectacular of a bright star to sit and wait. So as the day came to a close, the sadness started to truly gather as it hit me that this was a perfect day. But the glaring tragedy being that the one person who bonded all of us together- the one reason we were all there – the one damn best of all of us the one who knew that life was to live every single day to the best time – was gone.
All the organizers gathered with the family and most had left at this point. It was decided they would write a message on the balloons that had been used and then let them go into the sky. It was a glorious day, the day you would order if one could. Deep blue sky, pure white clouds and just the right breeze flowing. I simply stood to the side to give this group who was closest with him and who he loved best, to have this moment. The photo is spectacular. You will see it with the story. I moved out to watch the balloons as they lifted, a collection of color and spirit with a personal note. I turned and went to move so I could see better and I tripped over something. I looked down and it was a football. Someone had left a football on the ground. I am telling you that football was not there. It was over to the side by the football table. I know some will say that it rolled over, or someone threw it there to help clean up. I know exactly who put that football under my path.
For that is where I crossed paths with this young man, years ago. It grew into a more aware interaction, but that was the initial meeting. He loved football. I reached down and rolled it over to the side. And I started to cry, quietly and privately and the beauty of sunglasses is never appreciated until moments such as this. Then I looked up to the sky and anyone who was there will tell you that there was nothing more beautiful, ever than those balloons floating, drifting to the heavens. The brilliant colors, the love and devotion, the love that never ceases, ever. Each person standing there who had loved this young man with everything, letting go of those balloons, and simultaneously knowing that we will never let go of our memories and the impact he had on all of us.
And so I went home to my pillow laden lair. It was early afternoon. And I laid down and I cried and I cried. I wept for the loss of this beautiful life. I wept for the devotion he inspired in his friends. I wept for the indescribable pain and agony for his family and Jess. I wept for hours. And then I started to think. The legacy left by Brendan is love and loyalty. One should be so fortunate to have achieved the level of loyalty he inspired. One should be so fortunate to make such an impact on so many lives. And finally, one should be so fortunate as to know that somewhere, long after one has left this earth that they have the powerful, enduring soul that one knows without a doubt. Without a doubt he is laughing, and his eyes are twinkling with that love of adventure and he is telling us all to simply continue what we are doing as he will take care of all until we rest.
With love and such admiration to Sherri, Doug, Doug and Jess. And Ramsey, you accomplished a labor of love and success that one can only marvel. Drew who shines like no other. Keith, Carli and Genna, who love and always will. And for Ryan, who brings so much of that unbridled joy to the world and who misses his friend so deeply, and keeps him alive to us in every way.