A memorial for my son: In my deepest and most unbearable grief, I did not have the soundness of mind to write a decent obituary for my son, Brandon. Certainly, the time and place of the memorial, the notice of his passing was the only obligation of the funeral director to report. I was having a hard enough time realizing that all this was happening to me. I had no one step forward to help our family in this regard. After all, who gets very much practice in writing obituaries except for the paper and the funeral director who was not at all helpful in making suggestions. In fact, he overcharged our family. In what would have been a nominal fee paid to the newspaper was a $200 fee if handled by the funeral home which had not been explained to anyone who was present while we were making final arrangements. The thing that stood out the most upon reading the obituary in the newspaper was the omission of Brandon’s accomplishments, his love of art and writing, and how this wonderful young man impacted those around him. No matter how much I write of him I can never do him justice but I have tried just the same. As his mother, I owe it to him.
If I could have had the presence of mind I would have written:
Michael Brandon Heath was born on Thursday, July 26, 1979 10:48 p.m. and passed into Heaven on the evening of Friday, March 6, 2009. He was born in Milton, Florida and was a resident of Crestview for most of his life. He leaves behind his mother, Dale, his father, Mike, sisters, Andrea Wilkinson (Johnny), and Vanessa Heath; wife, Melinda, and daughter Natalie Kimball; one niece, Mariah, and nephews, John and Jack Wilkinson, uncles and aunts; Mark and Debbie Jordan, Steve and Leitha Brogan, Linda and Ralph Proctor, Kay Henderson, Warren Heath, and cousins; Chad Jordan, Aleigha Gause, Bryan Brogan, Whitney Henderson, and Caleb Henderson, Shanda Yaun and Kimberly Harrell.
Brandon graduated from Pensacola Junior College with an AA degree and followed that by graduating from nursing school with plans to continue his education in medicine. He worked side by side with his father in the family surveying and mapping business during his teen years and on into adulthood even while he juggled college and being dad to his step daughter and adjusting to shift work as a nurse
Brandon was talented in art and writing. His classmates voted him as the “Most Talented” both in middle school and high school.
His real love was to write scripts/stories and create characters. Upon discovering how to use a video camera at a young age, he began to make his own movies. He has left behind volumes of his art from the time he could pick up a pencil to his very last days. Brandon collaborated on a book of poetry with his mother, Dale Jordan Heath, “The Human Condition….a collection of poetry”…Brandon drew the cover art and the inside illustrations.
People who were close to Brandon knew of his keen wit and sense of humor. He was exceptionally good at impersonations and was the star of the show in a room with an audience or at his place of work. Our family was always entertained at family gatherings and holidays. Brandon had a love for a variety of music from the group America to Bjork and Switchfoot. He could sing beautifully, but never allowed his voice to be heard outside the private recordings he had made with friends. Anyone who knew Brandon well, knew that he was a deep thinker and could talk for hours on matters of importance to him. His creative and intellectual mind constantly had ideas that he willingly shared with anyone who would listen.
A devoted athlete who was self disciplined in exercise and weight training, Brandon broke the weight lifting record at Crestview High when he was 16 yrs old. He played baseball, basketball, and football when he was 8 yrs old on community teams. Brandon was on the Richbourg Roadrunners football team all of middle school and the Crestview Bulldogs in high school. As an amateur boxer in 2008, he had only a few bouts before his death. A sensitive young man, Brandon was kind to others and made friends easily and for life. He was baptized at the age of seven and a member of the First United Methodist Church of Crestview. Brandon left behind prayers and journals that attest to his close relationship with Jesus. Brandon also read nightly to his daughter from the Bible and taught her to pray. He was passionate about his political beliefs and the core values that he learned early in life.
There is no measure of the gratitude to God that we have, as his family, for the gift of Michael Brandon Heath. He will be missed for as long as breath remains in our bodies….until we are reunited in Heaven.
“I loved the boy with the utmost love of which my soul is capable, and he is taken from me….yet in the agony of my spirit, in surrendering such a treasure, I feel a thousand times richer than if I had never possessed it.”
William Wordsworth 1812