Friday, May 11, 2012


The bus ride.
That dreaded stretch in the afternoon when we would load onto the bus and sit (for what seemed forever) It was not a quiet, calm ride for me. Instead of time to do homework, or to chat with friends, I had to wrestle to keep my adorable, fiery red haired, as-cute-as-you-could-ever-be-brother (believe me, he was cute), in his seat, and out of the aisles, and away from those who would tempt him to do.... stuff (that only would ever result in him getting in trouble). 

I was over my head, and out of my league. Then along came John's forever protector.  Actually there were two of them, but Brandon, Brandon saved me on a daily basis on the bus, as he guarded and watched over my brother. I could finally relax knowing that no one would infiltrate the wall that Brandon and the fellow protector made around my brother.

Years and years later, my chance to, (in a small way) repay Brandon happened.  My brother was in high school, and Brandon's younger sister, Bonnie, was in John's class.

"You know, John," I said to him, "Bonnie is Brandon's sister."
"I know."
"You know, Brandon took care of you. You need to take care of Bonnie. Don't let anything happen to her."
"I won't, Steph. I'll take care of her."

He did.

John, and his whole class loved Bonnie.  But John, my brother, my hero, took my words seriously.  Bonnie was his friend, and she was his responsibility. (Apparently to the point where he would not allow others to take her down the hallways. He was the only one allowed to push her down the hall--- his rules of course.)

"How is Bonnie?" I would ask.
"She's good."
"What do you do when she's in school with you?"
"We touch her face, and we touch her arms and her hands. We talk to her, and tell her we are there, and we sing to her."
"What do you sing?"
"My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean."
"Does she like it?"
"Oh, yes."
"How do you know."
"I just do, Steph. I just know."

He did. I believed him. He knew. 

It's no wonder then, to me, that when I drive by your family's old house, that I miss you, Brandon.  It's no wonder that when I go back to my memories of elementary school, that you are there. And, at times, when I see my brother, that I remember you.  And, it never fails that every time I do remember you, I smile, and then I grow sad, because I miss you.

And, while I miss the boy that you were, others miss you for the man that you became. And while I cry, over that boy who saved me for those years on the bus, your family and your friends cry, missing the man, the dad, the husband, the friend that you became.

Thank you, Brandon. One hundred times over.  Thank you.

We will love you forever. We will miss you for always.
You will always be in our hearts.


Katrina said...

Steph, that was wonderfully written. How great of him to help you the way that he did. He will be missed by many.

Anonymous said...

Niecee, I hope that somehow his family got to read this. I think it would mean alot to them. it touched me.

Bethany said...

Hello Stephanie,

My mom posted this and I got told by many friends this was worth reading. With being his sister, I have seen the good and the very bad with my brother Brandon. It sometimes haunts me to this day about his death, but to hear this blog is so soothing to the wounds I feel. It helps to remember that he had a purpose even at such a young age and he had a positive influence on so many including you and John. Thank you so much for sharing!

Bethany (Blosser) Stanley