My ten-year high school reunion is coming up this summer (you don't have to remind me that I'm getting super old!!) Last weekend I was sitting around with family discussing just how old I'm getting - and how I was excited to see all my classmates at our reunion. This turned to talking about the classmate and cousin that left us WAY too soon - his laughter and smile will be missed so much at our 10 year reunion.
If I could say anything about Brian, it would be that he was so full of life. I've known Brian for as long as I can remember...we grew up going to the same church and we are cousins (even though it's far down the line:) We made our "acting" debut together around age 5 when we were shepards in our church's Christmas play. We were both Odon Bulldogs - I was the cheerleader and he played basketball. I clearly remember a birthday party he had at his house (one of our first boy/girl parties) where we played a game of softball, then played hide-and-seek at night with flashlights. Everything was fun with Brian - he made everyone laugh and was the life of the party. He was always being sooooo silly - teasing everyone or mooning us when we least expected it. What a hoot!
We moved on in school to North Daviess - where Brian met the love of his life - Jen. They dated all thru school - and were voted "cutest couple" of our senior class. I remember our senior trip (to Turkey Run, I think?) and Brian canoeing - we all hiked the trails and met up for lunch. That day will always shine very bright among my memories.
After high school Brian and Jen got married - one of those perfect love stories that everyone envied. No one would have imagined what happened next...how Brian was taken away from us doing something he loved so much. No one expected that the hunting trip on the day after Christmas would be Brian's last. My heart broke on that day for all the guys on that hunting trip, for Jen who had just become a widow at a VERY young age, for Brian's parents who lost their sweet son, for the ND Class of '99 who just lost a classmate that they all adored, and for my own loss of a childhood friend.
Gabe and I decided after this long, heart-wrenching talk about Brian, to go on a 4wheeler ride to the cemetery right by my mom and dad's house to visit Brian's grave. On our way there - the sky turned this amazing orange color with huge white clouds billowing upward...and as we looked up lightening began to strike. I absolutely love what Gabe said next: "Brian is putting on a show for us - showing off like usual:)" We both had a big laugh (which is what Brian would have wanted) and then headed to his grave. This was our view that evening: