Brian is like the Biblical icon Job, who lost all that really mattered to him—especially his ten children.
Afflicted by severe physical ailments as well, Job nonetheless loved and kept faith in his Creator, who, according to Scripture, allowed all of Job’s horrible misfortune in order to prove to Satan that Job was worthy of God’s adoration. Even when his own wife scolded him, telling him to curse and forget about God, Job didn’t at all oblige her.
At age ten Brian lost his only sister, sixteen, who was killed in a 1984 car accident. With her female friend at the wheel, it’s believed that she suddenly swerved to avoid hitting a stray dog that had bolted onto the road out from nowhere.
Then, fourteen years later, his severely depressed mother took her own life at age fifty-three. Brian notes that his mother’s persistently formidable depression was likely exacerbated by strong guilt she suffered when the family’s cherished pet feline crawled into the warm dryer not long before wet clothes were hastily thrown in and the machine engaged by his obviously unknowing mother.
As though all of that extreme misfortune was not enough, five years later, his only brother took his own life at age thirty-eight, also likely due to severe depression.
Even with such a burdensomely unfortunate family (fairly recent) past, Brian, who himself suffers with very challenging mental illness, stoically bears his cross.
Diagnosed with a schizo-effective disorder in 1996, it was for the most part stabilized with strong medication. He emphasizes, though, that he hasn’t consumed any illicit drugs “since I was twenty-five or twenty-six years old,” even though it meant the cessation of some (albeit good) friendships that otherwise would’ve involved him moving up onto harder drugs and thus ruining his own life, as they did theirs.
Although he realizes that he often comes across as being over-medicated, Brian still doesn’t believe that his partial stupor is extensive enough to significantly numb his emotional pain normally associated with such an enormous loss of those so beloved to a person.
But the medication that he’s been taking (as well as the illicit drug use of his earlier years) “likely has numbed, to some extent, some pain and other negative memories from my past that caused me [to feel] guilt and other bad emotions. I’d [likely] be bouncing off the walls [without the medication].”
Besides his formidable mental illness, Brian also endures physical ailments, the specifics of which he chooses to keep private; yet, he maintains his reputation as one of the most friendly, compassionate members of the clubhouse which he frequents. Some fellow members assert that knowing him well means being aware that he’s really not the type able to offend even the most repellent personalities.
With the much needed and appreciated visitations by his sole remaining yet resilient immediate family member, his father (with whom he resided when, as a one-year-old infant, his parents divorced), Brian impressively remains positive in his outlook while enjoying whatever good times that happen to come his way.
Also, say fellow clubhouse members, if any person truly deserves lucky breaks, it’s definitely Brian.
Queried as to how he feels when hearing in the news, parents crying out how God has blessed them by sparing their seriously sick or kidnapped child’s life, while his own immediate family was all but completely removed from the face of the planet, Brian meekly replies that he leaves it to the Creator “to decide who do or don’t get ‘blessed’ and in whatever way He deems right.” Furthermore, he adds, “I’m a believer, that I’ll see them again [in the hereafter].”
When average folk dwell upon their negatives in life, Brian’s greatest of challenges can put matters into perspective: Simply said, he’s pretty much the epitome of a strong, positive person, with an enduring attitude towards the enormous crucifix life has placed upon his shoulder to drag along, during the remainder of his days.■