Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The great outdoors.

Brian was a city kid. Born at the Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Hollywood, lived in Covina for the first  two years, and then spent the rest of his life in Woodland Hills, in the same house on Farralone Ave until the earthquake of 1994, when we vacated and lived in the neighborhood, at Mike Kohan's house and Scott's house for a couple of years until the new house was erected.

Every day, rain or shine, Brian would stop at the broken house, and check on Sam, his cat he had rescued at his nursery school by Woodlake, a kitty he brought home before she was fully weaned. He had weaned and cuddled with that kitty for years. After the earthquake, she couldn't adjust to the new digs, and he took her back, to the garage that was still full of our stuff and was not going to be demolished.  She lived there, in that square block, sleeping in the garage where Brian would visit, feed and play with her before and after his school day.  In the evening, all of us would then visit the site and see the progress of the work, and have picnics for hours, discussing our day, sharing our dreams.  Brian became interested in the workmanship, and asked many questions of Jim Stewart, our contractor.

Brian's initials are on the pavement by the entrance to the new house, under the deck at 5780 Farralone, Woodland Hills, Ca.

When the house was finished, he constructed the irrigation system, and helped me plant and tend the garden areas. We drove all the way to the Huntington Gardens fall sale to pick up some beautiful roses and specimens. He and I set up new lawns, and proudly lined the driveway with herbs.

He loved water, trees, outdoor recreation, camping, fishing. In elementary, his dad coached him starting in early spring with baseball, then soccer through summer and fall, and basketball through winter.  His dad also became an umpire for baseball and soccer after Brian got to high school and stopped playing team sports. He became interested in tennis, and there too, his dad coached him, advised him on which racket to choose.  Later, he picked up golf too.

After his death, his camping equipment, his sports equipment, his bikes were all donated to his friends who had played or camped with him. Each was invited to choose and to treasure the friendship he had had with Brian.  Mike Kohan took one bike; Sean Miller the other. Johnny Tully, the camping gear, basketball stuff. Whatever was left went to Salvation Army.  

Saturday, February 18, 2012

You are with me.

Dear Brian,
You were standing on the deck at the lake, Janet at your side. I chose this picture for your obituary. Yes, I thought, this is how you left us.

You were  enjoying your dog Butters playing with Pia's dog Walrus. You were happy for the dogs, for the space you loved, their playfulness making you happy, your family and the love of your life by your side.

This is the last picture of took of you, July 4th weekend of 2011. A week or so later, you were dead. This is how I will forever remember you.

Below, is the full picture, you and Janet Lee, your fiance, smiling at the dogs.

This is our last meal, at Redfish, you, Janet, Pia and Jason, your Dad and me, celebrating our 45th Anniversary.

Your dog Butters is now living with Johnny Tully, the young neighbor across the street who offered her a home.

This is your backyard after your death. Your friends and neighbors came over, and they tore down, cleaned up, and installed a new garden. Janet designed the garden of your dreams and she made it happen in just a few weeks.

A lot of love and dedication went into this task. Over a hundred people worked here at one time or other, before and after the funeral services.  The Lee family, including Bryan Lee who took a military leave to be here, made sure this garden came together the way Janet wanted it.  A remarkable feat!
Even friends from high school were here. In this photo, on the left, is Jordan, the friend you had in junior high.

You were most loved, son. You are missed.