Brian was the son of my Godmother. Although we weren't related by blood, we considered each other cousins. He was three years younger than myself and was one of the most wonderful people I have met in this lifetime. I was 21 years old in the late 1980s and I was visiting my younger sister who was attending Salem State College at the time. This was the weekend before Thanksgiving.
During that visit, my Mom called us to let us know that Brian had been killed the night before in a horrible car accident in Virginia. He was only 18. I walked around in a state of shock and was inconsolable for a long time to come. He was the first person I knew even close to my age that had passed away and I took it extremely hard.
During the short Thanksgiving week I would leave work on my lunch break and go over to a nearby church to pray or just think. On one of those occasions I asked Brian to ask God for a little snow for Christmas that year. We always anticipated the first snow fall and this was a very dry year for us so far. I forgot about this request and went on trying to get back to normal while still mourning his loss.
A few weeks before Christmas I was driving home from a babysitting job when I got to thinking about Brian. I cried all the way home. I drove to the top of the driveway where our house sat on a hill and cried some more. Something on the windshield suddenly had caught my eye. Flakes of snow were falling on my windshield and melting. I stopped crying and watched them come down and slowly melt into beads of water. I remembered my request at the church but did not think the two were related. That is until I stepped out of the car.
I stared up at the sky expecting to look up and see more snow falling and what I saw shocked me. It was a beautiful cloudless night with a million stars shining in the sky. The bare trees moved in the breeze. I stood there with my mouth open. Where did the snow come from? What had I just seen? My Mom drove up the driveway just then and asked me what I was doing. I told her what had happened and she just nodded her head. I don't know if she believed me or not but I didn't push it. We entered the house and she asked me if I was alright. I started to cry again.
From upstairs I could hear my Dad yelling for either myself or my Mom to come upstairs quick. I ran up to my parent's bedroom only to find my Dad kneeling in front of the large picture window as if in prayer. "Come here, you have to see this," he said, waving me towards him. I had no idea what he was looking at and I suddenly felt frightened.
I knelt down next to him and he pointed out the window to the sky. "Keep watching the sky," he said. I did and seconds later a glowing green chunk dropped from the sky and burnt out as it neared the earth. We were witnessing a meteor shower. This was followed by several shooting stars. I don't know if this is related to the snow on the windshield or not but I had this overwhelming feeling that God, a greater power, or something understood my grief and I was not alone. I wanted to run to my room and throw the covers over my head. It was such a very powerful feeling.
The following summer my family had planned to rent a beach house for a week on the Maine coast. This was a yearly vacation and Brian had been present for this vacation most years. I remember him arriving at our house with either his surf board or boogie board in tow. He was what you would think of when you pictured a typical surfer boy; tan skin, sun-bleached hair, and Ocean Pacific clothing.
I was dreading this vacation because of the hole his death had left in my life. At the time I had just taken a new job working as a sales person and was constantly traveling. I was in an area that had a shop where you could get your tarot cards read. I felt this pull to go in. The reader started to tell me different things about my life and about the future when she suddenly stopped. She looked at me and asked if I had recently lost a brother or a cousin in a car accident. I asked her how she knew that. She said he kept coming up in the cards. I burst into tears. I was really embarrassed to be crying in front of this woman but I couldn't help it. She said that he didn't want me to be sad anymore and that I needed to stop crying because he was okay. I spent the rest of the day in shock.
A few weeks later I dreamt of Brian. He asked me why I was crying. I said it was because I would never see him again. He looked at me as if to say, "you know better than that..." Then he had to go.
On the morning of my wedding in April of 2006, I felt him near me. I took this as a sign that he was happy for me and approved of who I was marrying. My Godmother flew out to be at my wedding and when I told her that I felt her son near, she said she felt him as well.
A few weeks ago I was searching through the garage for pictures to include in my story "The Spirits of Goodale Cemetery," when I came across a picture that was taken many years ago while on vacation on the coast of Maine. My sisters, Brian, and I would always meet other kids our age also vacationing with their families. It was the last day of our vacation and we had decided to take a picture of us all before we left. Someone thought it would be a neat idea to build a human pyramid.
Brian, being the lightest of all us, had the job of being at the top. There in the picture of that wind swept beach, with smiles on our tanned faces, was Brian; his sun-bleached hair toussled in the breeze, and one hand raised up towards heaven. This is how I will forever remember him. Rest in peace my friend.