As a mother, I can see the best in my children but also the flaws that make them who they are. I know that parents focus on only the goodness of a child who has passed. It seems that we are trying to make it up to that child the fact that they are no longer with us, that something bad has happened so we must dwell on only the good that was part of that child’s character. I will present my son’s best traits in this post, but it would be unfair to the human race if I didn’t mention that there were a few flaws here and there.
Throughout Brandon’s life he was sensitive to others feelings. I always thought that he was too nice, sometimes. How many little football players do you know that write apologies to a player from the other team because he “hit” him too hard during a play? He had countless girlfriends who called him and flirted with him that continued until he married. I saved a message machine tape that has two giggly girls on it leaving a message for Brandon. Apparently, they thought they were leaving a message on his personal machine. He was flattered but his problem was having to choose just one girlfriend. This was in the first grade, mind you.
Brandon was witty and kind of shy. He had a voice that was smooth like jazz. He could imitate sounds like the old Loony-Toones cartoon character, Gerald McBongBong…and then when he got older he would do impersonations like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Billy Bob Thornton in Sling Blade….anybody he thought was interesting or had a uniqueness. If he wasn’t imitating them, he was drawing caricatures of them. He loved comic books when he was a tween. He always drew and wrote his own comics. There was a time when he thought he would like to be a writer and artist for comic books. His dad even took him to a convention for such when it came to a town near us. Below he did a caricature of the entire football team in high school.
My son always had dreams and ambitions. He wanted to be the best in everything he did and was pretty disappointed when it wasn’t always that way. He made lists of all his goals. He did this his entire life. I have several of them in his belongings. He wrote stories and movie scripts. He was thorough in his character descriptions and drew detailed storyboards. Most of his stories were heavy on the dialogue. I tried to get him to pay more attention to the narrative. Overtime he made excellent improvements in his writing skills.
Brandon had a fierce passion for all things political. Like all three of my children, they have strong beliefs that were part of their foundation. My son became more in tune with what was going on in the world after September 11th. Who didn’t? We were all connected to the television for a very long time after the attack on our country. Brandon became a fan of talk radio.
After Brandon married, it was admirable how he was so protective of his little family. He did not mind sharing his feelings about his desire to make a good life for them. He was such a hard worker. Being raised in the land surveying business, he was no stranger to fighting the elements and swinging a machete through the thickest of swamps. There was a time when he not only did that but he worked for Po Folks as a waiter. It was after working there that he was very mindful of how much we left for a tip when eating out. It touched my heart when he would add more to our amount for the waiter/tress… kind and thoughtful.
Brandon was easily frustrated. It would anger him when things were out of control…like his wife. It was something that was thoroughly out of hand at the end of his life. M. had a drinking problem that was fostered from childhood. I did not know this about her until it was too late. Whenever Brandon would bring up this subject to me it was done with a lot of excuse making…her “bad childhood” was always the reason. She would spend money on drinking after work with her co-workers even when money was tight. I only know that because one of her co-workers told my daughter this after Brandon died.
My son was also a dedicated athlete who continued to be in some kind of sport right until the end. He was mindful of his muscles and appearance. Sometimes I would catch him looking in the mirror and flexing his arms. I sometimes felt sorry for Brandon because we would always rely on him to help us move the heavier things around the house and yard. I know he must have gotten tired of that.
I am sure that as I lie in bed tonight or in the wee hours of the morning, I will remember another quality that I forgot to mention. I think that I have listed the important ones…but this most important last one…his faith in God.
Brandon was always spiritual even as a child…thus he was baptized at 7 years old like his sisters. When he was ten years old, he exhibited signs of being a preacher for sure. We had moved to a town in central Florida and he became buddies with our preacher’s sons. All four of them. I think that had something to do with it but I would like to think that he learned about faith from being taken to church and also the stories and prayers he learned early in his life.
As time wore on, life changed and so did Brandon. He became more moody and easily agitated. He shared his own concerns about his moods with me…and what did I do? I asked him if he was taking any new supplements or health foods that could be affecting him!! It was much more than that. I just had no idea.
I don’t want to write anymore tonight…it is way too sad to keep writing this. I am reliving with every sentence and strike of the key…..a time that I wish I could have back. How I wish I could have the little boy back that had already disappeared long before Brandon left us. That is the nature of living and growing…and going…..