one year after…

January 3, 2006 has now become January 3, 2007 … and marks 1 year since we lost Brandon to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. a milestone. 365 days have past and i am still not the same and i probably never will be. it has been a year of dusting ourselves off. a year of learning to walk strong again. a year of rebuilding. a year of complete change in so many lives. in so many ways.

brandon died just 72 days after i was a bridesmaid in his wedding. and the day of his death is probably the hardest day i’ve lived in my short 22 years. the pain of hearing those words from karen mees on the phone, “crystal, brandon just passed away” … i can hear so clearly even still. it was 12:27pm. i remember beginning to cry uncontrollably on the phone at my desk… and karen asking if i was ok… anne walked out of her office to hold me – knowing right away what i was hearing on the phone without having to ask … pastor jim and pastor dave coming up and holding me too. then sitting on the cold tile floor in the back stairway of the church admin office… to make the calls megan requested. calling sarah… calling jennifer and having to leave the news on her voice-mail … calling kate… then calling a number of others. leaving work without telling anyone. just going home to grieve. then cleaning up my face so i could head over to meg’s mom’s house. waiting for meg to wake up from a much-needed nap. sitting on the floor with her and our lifegroup. making fun of her ugly dog. sharing our love for brandon and just holding each other. praying. crying. laughing. waiting with her until her parents got back into town. then leaving her in her mother’s arms. a vision i will never forget.

i can’t imagine the pain megan was feeling that day but reliving that time right now just makes me weep … weeping in such a hard, full-bodied way. i haven’t cried in such a way over the loss of my friend since one year ago. but thinking back to those events… it is evident that the pain is so great… even still. still so raw. but through the questions of why, the pain, bitterness, sadness, anger… i can still find joy. joy in knowing he’s home with the Father and is no longer in pain. the cancer cannot get him there. it cannot defeat the eternity we have with Christ. and in that i find joy.

miss you friend. you’ve been gone longer than i knew you on earth but even in that short time you forever changed my life. you changed the lives of everyone you touched. and the impact is still seen. what a legacy and a life lived. i am honored to have known you personally and to have been your friend. thank you for loving megs…. thank you for loving us. we love you. we miss you. later, B.


brandon’s eulogy


  1. i will never forget that day either. or the days that followed. his celebration of life. hearing stories about the “trunk of meg’s car” which i will not get into detail about here but still find really funny…and coffee cans…and other things only you and i and anyone in your lifegroup who reads this will understand.

    do you remember visiting him at KU after the serious-but-not-so-serious test to which you accompanied me? and meeting his mom there.

    i miss him too girl. (hugs).

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