Friday, June 9, 2017

Remembering my brother Brian

8 years ago today is forever etched in my memory. I received a very unexpected phone call from my husband who was in Utah with our children. He took them to visit family for the week while I stayed in Texas to attend our Stake Young Women's camp. The call came shortly after I arrived and had begun setting up camp. A couple of the girls were complaining about sleeping arrangements when my phone rang. "Bec there's been an accident with Brian". "What do you mean?"  "It involves the police."  "What? Is everything ok?"  "I don't know all the details, but I'll call you soon".  I hung up not knowing what to think. Brian had never been in trouble. He was so kind hearted. In fact later I reflected on our relationship and I did not have one memory of ever having contention with him. He just wasn't that way. I took him for show and tell to my kindergarten class.  I had always been proud of my baby brother.  He was extremely bright and aware of people and their feelings. Currently he had been living in Flagstaff attending Northern AZ State University working towards his PhD.  He and his wife were traveling back to Arizona after attending a wedding in Salt Lake City. Having recently been diagnosed with bipolar he experienced a manic episode in which he was delusional. His wife pulled over on the highway to get his medication.  When he began to walk in and out of traffic she called the police for help. They showed up, tasered him twice in the chest and he was gone.  The whole incident lasted 42 seconds.  He left a beautiful pregnant wife and 2 year old daughter. 

This picture was taken 3 days before his death
The phone rang again "Bec, Brian's gone, he passed away".  The news was surreal. My head was spinning. How could this be? I felt completely alone. Quickly the matter of sleeping arrangements was resolved as the girls looked at my face and heard me say "my brother died.”  It was a whirlwind.  I knew I had to go. I found my dear friend and Stake YW president Connie and told her what had happened. Within moments I was receiving a beautiful priesthood blessing from her husband. Arrangements were made for her son, who was helping set up camp, to drive me the 2 hours home. Dave debated whether to fly directly to Texas to be with me but instead we decided I should fly to Utah as soon as possible. He booked me a flight for that night. Another dear friend Jackie drove me to the airport, cried with me, gave me a hug and a pack of peanut butter m&m’s, my favorite! After checking in and going through security I found myself sitting at the gate with 1 hour before boarding. How am I going to do this I cried in my mind? I called Dave seeking comfort and to pass the time. He was so kind. While we were talking I looked up and across the room was a sister missionary. My heart smiled. I told Dave. "There's a sister missionary". He said "go talk to her, she'll help you". I hung up and quickly walked over to her, tapped her on the shoulder and simply said “ I need you" as I collapsed in her arms. She was literally an angel as she listened to me. I learned she was traveling home after 18 months in Ecuador. She too was alone. We were on the same flight and ended up sitting next to each other. Some may say coincidence but I say differently. She was put in my path by a loving Heavenly Father and Savior who knows us so individually.

"And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face.  
I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, 
and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."
D&C 84:88. 
Through the entire experience of losing Brian my faith in the Savior and testimony of his glorious gospel soared. The veil is thin. It became a very sacred time as I turned to the scriptures, prayer and the Savior for comfort. The promises in the Book of Mormon are real. Death is but a separation for a time. (to know and understand more about death and the resurrection I invite you to study Alma 40) I searched deep within the reservoir of faith I had built for many years.  In my time of need, it gave me great strength.  As we nourish our testimonies every day by doing the small and simple things of prayer and scripture study we are blessed with peace and a strength beyond understanding.

“Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up,
 and bring forth fruit unto us.  An now behold, if ye nourish it with much 
care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit.”  
Alma 32:37

I invite you to do something to nourish your faith everyday.  Trials come to all.  None are spared during this life.  I testify as we turn to the Savior he carries us, strengthens us and gives us peace beyond all understanding.  Remember the words Helaman spoke to his sons...

"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock 
of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build 
your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, 
yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea when all his hail and his mighty storm
 shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the
 gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built,
 which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."
Helaman 5:12

God speed my dear brother...until we meet again where the fish always bite and the powder never ends!


  1. i remember this incident and was sadden as I sort of knew the family as I worked at the high school where two of the kids in this family attended years ago. I too believe the sister missionary was placed there for you by a loving Heavenly Father. Thank you for your love to the missionaries in this mission which my grandson is serving in.

  2. Such a wonderful tribute. Thank you for your faith and testimony!

  3. Thank you for sharing this tender post, I love the sweet relationship you had with your brother. Thank you for the scriptures you shared and for inspiring us all with your eternal perspective and trust in the Lord.