Monday, May 14, 2012

Under the weight of sorrow.

Brian died ten months ago. Yesterday, Mother's Day, I expected a call from him that never came.

This is how I feel when I write about Brian. There is life, under life to discover and reveal. Yet, I scratch the surface and stop. Something weighs me down. I don't know the details of his death; I do not know who knows the details.

Thank you for following this blog.
I do not know if and when I can return. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

He was building a life.

Brian made solo trips to Oregon whenever he could. He'd call us Friday morning, and arrive in Eureka by noon. We picked him up, had lunch and then he drove us home.  The next day, he and I would comb the beaches, catch up with our lives. Whatever was on our minds, we had an opportunity to walk and talk and get those thoughts out.  By Monday, he was gone again.

We took yearly trip to Southern California, usually during winter months, to escape the rains. We spent a few days at a local motel, taking turns meeting with Scott and his family, and with Brian, attempting to get them all together whenever possible.  Here, we had just arrived late one afternoon. Brian was living in Palos Verdes then, before he bought the house,  just a hill away from this mall.

Making faces: from left to right.
Front row: Scott, Jasmine, Thizar Williams
Back row: Brian, Ken
Location: South Bay, Torrance.

Ken and I had just arrived from Oregon, and the family met us at this place because Brian was working at L3, just a few miles away, and Scott's residence  even closer. Ken and I were already giddy with all that sunshine. Though cool for Southern California, the temperatures were just right for us.

We returned a few months later, to inspect the house he was about to purchase, and this time we had my old car, a beat up Saturn he wanted to borrow for a few months. I was happy to deliver the car, though I wondered that it would make it all the way down without a hitch.  The car had been sitting in my garage, and I'm sure had major hiccups and had become a nest for some wandering critter during the cold months.  We were prepared to help him with the down payment too; but, he had worked that out too.  He was taking advantage of a government program  and borrowing from his retirement funds. The only thing he needed was a car for emergency trips now and then. He was selling his brand new Acura sports car to cut down a $500 monthly expense, and wanted to have a great credit score when he applied for the mortgage loan.

In late June, we drove down, left the car with him, inspected the Long Beach residence he was about to purchase, consulted with him on the expenses he would incur with this property, and wished him good luck.

That year, at Thanksgiving, I helped him make a turkey dinner for all of us down in Long Beach. His house was bare-boned, but he was most proud of a new puppy, Buttercup, that had joined his household.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dancing in the streets.

(Dancing on the Willamette Bridge in Eugene, Oregon, with Janet Lee, 2010)

Brian loved music, all kinds, all instruments, all vocals, all beats. Through a series of life experiences he was introduced to dance, theater, piano, guitar, partly because as a young child he came along whenever his sister Pia performed or attended practices, partly because he was constantly improvising with whatever instrument he could get his hands on.

(He never missed any performances of the Comforters! (Pia and Jason)

 He was eclectic by nature, and in his possession, after the memorial, we found many tapes and recordings, including old LP's he had "borrowed" from his big brother Scott, who had in turn salvaged them when the family was forced to abandon our residence after the Northridge Earthquake of 1994.

Soon after that, he inherited a very special guitar, a gift from a friend of his father when he heard that the boy was interested in jazz. This friend was a nephew of legendary Billy Strayhorn. This connection, The A Train piece, the Duke Ellington connection, all became motivation for Brian to learn the instrument, jam with friends.

I don't know when he began to dance. I do know that he loved all forms of music, and dancing on the street, on a moonlit night would fit his idea of jamming.

After college, as he moved around, he took few things with him, his cat Newkie,  his guitars and recordings, his computer, his books,  a frying pan and cookbooks from our pre-earthquake house in Woodland Hills, the one we made our pasta sauce in, and all the cards and letters I had sent him.