[mccookgazette.com] Fair ~ 18°F  
Feels like: 9°F
Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017


Posted Wednesday, November 25, 2009, at 12:19 PM

In 2001 while the nation was trying to deal and recover from the horrible attacks of 9/11 my family was hit by news that for the most part we have never recovered. As many of you know you read this site on a regular basis whether you have read my blog or my father's article I am talking about the death of my older brother, Brandon.

He was serving in the Marines after a stint with the Navy. He had wanted to be in the Navy Seals but could not pass the water test, which absolutely surprised me because he was a lifeguard and an excellent swimmer. He switched to the Marines and started training the M.A.S.H. unit as a nurse. He was stationed in Okinawa for two years before returning back to the states and was stationed in San Diego.

On Sunday morning at roughly around 2 am on the 25th the paramedics were called to his residence by one of his Marine buddies. Brandon had reported being really tired and closed his eyes and fell out of his chair. His heart never beat again and he was pronounced dead at 4 am.

None of our family would find out until the next morning when Navy and Marine officers showed up at my mom (in Arkansas) and dad's (in Nebraska) at 6 am. My little brother (Will) and I were living in Lincoln at the time. My mother called at 11 am to tell us of the news. By 1 pm we were headed on an 8 hour drive to my mom's. I didn't drive at all on the trip because I had just come off of the graveyard shift at the grocery store that I was working. I don't know how Will made the entire journey driving by himself but I am entirely grateful for it.

The last time I had spoken to Brandon was on Thanksgiving Day and I was asking him what the age of 24 was going to be like. He said it was going to be a really good year. My birthday falls the week after Thanksgiving on the 3rd of December. Suffice it to say my 24th birthday and 24th year of life was not all that good. But what I remember most about that phone call is that for the first time in my life I actually beat him to the point and was able to tell him that I loved him first. That was the last time that I ever talked to Brandon.

I don't know that our family will ever fully recover from that day and to be perfectly honest I don't think we should. I can't speak for the rest of my family members but I am fairly sure they would agree with me that there is a huge hole in my heart that Brandon occupied that will never be filled.

I know he's still around and that he is looking out for me. That gives me some comfort but I do miss him and do wish he were still here today. Call me selfish if you want, but the fact remains is that I am selfish. This was a five member family that even a divorce couldn't rip apart. My dad still stays with my mom when he goes to visit and they are still best of friends. But like I said it is a five member family. I am the oldest now, approaching my 32nd year of life, but in my mind I will always be the middle child.

We all miss you Brandon. It's been eight years but it still feels like yesterday.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Hold your friends close and your family members even close. Tell them that you love them every chance and opportunity that you get. You never know when it will be your last. Cherish every person you come in contact with no matter your differences. Love everyone and allow them to love you. Yes these are lessons I learned from my bubba.

I love you all and hope that your Thanksgiving is a good one. Talk to you all soon.

Just a quick addendum that I forgot early. Brandon's two favorite bands growing up were KISS and The Doors. On what would have been his 30th birthday (just a few months after he passed) my younger brother and I saw Robby Krieger (former guitarist for The Doors) in concert in Lincoln. Tonight on the 8th Anniversary of his death I am watching KISS Live on facebook. This will mark the 6th time I have seen KISS in concert. The first one was in 1984 (non makeup) with the entire family in Oklahoma City. The second being in 1996 on their reunion tour in Little Rock with William and Brandon.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Wise words when they come from the heart and not the political lobe of the brain. That goes for both of us Mike.

I'm sorry for your loss Mike. I can't even imagine what it must feel like losing someone that close in that way. You have much to be thankful for at Thanksgiving despite your loss. You got to talk to him and tell him you loved him.

Much better than having an argument or fighting something trivial and ending it on that note. SOme people don't get that opportunity, which is why your words are important. We should always love our families and friends, and others.

You never know when that day will come for you or someone you love, and I don't know how awful that would be to live the rest of my life having lost someone close that our relelationship was left with a sour note.

-- Posted by Justin76 on Wed, Nov 25, 2009, at 12:48 PM

May God bless us all

-- Posted by MrsSmith on Wed, Nov 25, 2009, at 12:57 PM

I would echo justin76.

-- Posted by doodle bug on Wed, Nov 25, 2009, at 3:49 PM

Condolences, Salutations, and Happy Thanksgiving in return. Arley

-- Posted by Navyblue on Wed, Nov 25, 2009, at 6:21 PM

Please include me with Justin76, MrsSmith, and Navyblue. Always remember Brandon with a smile, he sought out to make a difference in this world, and in time, we will benefit from the fruits of his sacrifice.

I hope you and your family had a most wonderful Thanksgiving.

-- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Fri, Nov 27, 2009, at 1:25 PM

Thank you all for the warm and caring words.

-- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Fri, Nov 27, 2009, at 2:16 PM

Respond to this blog

Posting a comment requires free registration:

And Now for Something Completely Different
Michael Hendricks
Recent posts
Blog RSS feed [Feed icon]
Comments RSS feed [Feed icon]
Hot topics
Collective Amnesia
(15 ~ 1:32 PM, Jan 24)

Of Safe Spaces
(5 ~ 2:00 PM, Jan 15)

You Have a Problem
(7 ~ 5:25 PM, Jan 9)

Draining The Swamp Indeed!
(8 ~ 5:22 PM, Jan 9)

The Resistance Movement
(9 ~ 6:05 AM, Dec 28)