One Year

The worst year of my life. The fastest year of my life. The longest year of my life.

What scares me about this horrific anniversary is that it’s only the first. Knowing I have to live the rest of my life without Charlie is what breaks me everyday.  Today was not any harder for me than yesterday or last week because I face Charlie’s death every second of everyday.  This isn’t a “sometimes” thing.  The only comfort or peace I’ve been able to accept is that the worst year is over. At least I think it is.  I’ve read that some people felt that the second year was the toughest and I’ve also read that the fifth year is the hardest.  Who knows?  All I know is that grief is as unique as the person carrying it.  Honestly, I can’t imagine ever experiencing the soul numbing pain that consumed every waking second of my life in those early months again. I know that I do feel different now. Not better. Different. One doesn’t get better after the death of their child. We just learn how to better carry our grief. That doesn’t mean there aren’t days where it’s just too much.  The weepy days when the smallest little thing triggers a bout of crying.  The angry days when the smallest little thing sets me off.  These days will forever be a part of who I am.

Today was extremely difficult.  Make no mistake about it.  But everyday is difficult.  We have an amazing support network that has helped us through since day one.  It was humbling and uplifting to see all of the family and friends at church to support us.  The amount of cards, emails, and text messages reminded us that we are not walking this unfathomable journey alone.  The number of visits to this blog today and since I launched it has surprised me.  I struggled to start this blog and I constantly struggle with its continuation.  I was concerned that people would not read it because they wouldn’t want to “go to the pain” of reading about me getting my heart ripped out. I am concerned it not as much about Charlie and his life as it is about my life without him.  I try to balance the two but I’m never satisfied with what I write but that’s just me being tough on myself.  As usual.  I tell Vanessa after every post that it was my last post.  I’ve told my sister Liz I’ve quit this blog countless times.  I’ve written 23 posts since June and after this one I’ll have had over 30,000 visits to my blog.  I realized pretty early on that my writing has helped some other bereaved parents.  Someone who lost a child is reading.  Someone who lost a child is watching the videos.  Someone who lost a child is looking at the pictures.  Someone that loves someone who lost a child is reading,watching, and looking too.  That’s enough for me to keep posting.

It’s been one year since my soul has been obliterated.  Personally, today didn’t bring anymore pain or grief than what I already fight everyday.  I miss Charlie like crazy but I don’t miss him any less today than I did one year ago.  It seems like I haven’t held Charlie in an eternity.  It’s been the longest year of my life.  It feels like yesterday when he died in my arms.  It’s been the fastest year in my life.  I haven’t been with Charlie in a year.  It’s been the worst year of my life.

Below is a video of pictures that my cousin made for us right after Charlie died.  It has his favorite songs dubbed over which means that youtube will eventually take it down.  If you’d like a copy leave a comment and I’ll try to mail you one.  The music kills me.  I remember Char walking around the house with my iPhone singing along to the songs.  He loved what he called, “The Alabama Song,” so much that he knew all of the words of the first two verses.


19 thoughts on “One Year

  1. Dear Vanessa and Brian! NEVER stop writing !!!! You are right this last year was too long and too fast. My heart is bleeding for you. This is unfair that this wonderful child is gone, but we all can one thing, ALWAYS honor him in any way we can, I love you Charlie and I miss you every day!

  2. I thought of your family—of Charlie—many times yesterday. I’m thankful you have such an amazing support system.

    Bryan I’m glad you keep this blog. You have an amazing way with words and have spoken my mind more than once with them. Thank you for that and for helping so many others. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of getting to know Charlie. He was obvious a very special boy.

  3. Bryan,

    Thank you for sharing everything about you and Charlie. The window you have opened has allowed me to see that I am not the only Dad in so much pain, and that is strangely comforting. Every single moment of every single day, I try to find meaning and an answer as to why Colin died and will do so until the day I die. Your search, your struggles, and your love for Charlie inspire me on the days I do not want to write or want to research SIDS. Knowing that another Dad fights as hard as I do to keep their son “alive” gives me the kick in the ass that I need when I feel my grief is too much. Keep writing. Keep fighting. Keep Charlie very real and present. Lastly, keep you deep love for him and your family very much alive.


  4. How quickly, yet how slowly a year can go by when you are grieving the loss of a child! I agree with you, it doesn’t get easier – it just gets DIFFERENT! Some days I have happy wonderful thoughts of Alexander. Others, I just want to cry and never get out of bed again. Keep on writing – it helps not only you, but those of us who are also in this horrible journey of our new lives without our precious children.

  5. Your Family is in my thoughts and prayers… you will never know the impact Charlie has made on so many lives… even today. You remind me to appreciate the small things. To love beyond measure and remember those we have lost may it be a hard day or a average day. I pray you see a reminder of him that gives you hope and comfort for the moment. Because everyday I can’t fathom the moments that are so difficult for you.

  6. Not a day goes by that my heart doesn’t ache for you, Vanessa and Danny. Know that you are loved and that your words keep Charlie close to us all.

  7. Bryan,
    I too think about Charlie every day. I think about the lesson he has taught all of us. That life is short, sometimes too short. Hopefully I am a better person because of this. I cherish my grandchildren everyday. I can’t even phathom what you and Vanessa are going through. I pray you will find some peace and joy in your life. It’s what Charlie would want.
    All our love,
    The Spunders

  8. Bryan — One year later our hearts still break because of the sadness and pain the loss of Charlie has brought to you and your family. Your blog is amazing in the fact that you bring the rawness of your heartache to the surface, but you also bring the overwhelming love of your son. You are able to share with family, friends and strangers something a lot of men are not able to put into words. Watching the video brought tears to my eyes for many reasons – but it also made me smile because the love for Charlie shines through in every photo. Much love to you and Vanessa —

    Angie and Gary Minor

  9. Brian ,
    I can’t possibly imagine how difficult this has been for you and Vanessa.. I would love to see the video of Charlie, as would my sister Kris. My love and prayers to both of you.. You are a wonderful writer and I hope it helps you though it all…
    Lizzy Pugliani ..

  10. Bryan – Not a day has gone by this past year where I have not thought of you, Vanessa, Danny and your precious Charlie. You are always in my prayers. I am so sorry that I never got to meet your sweet boy, but please know I will never forget him. Your blog is an amazing tribute to him and how much you & Vanessa loved and cherished him every second of his life. You are an incredible writer and are helping and inspiring so many people with your words. Your family will always be in all of my thoughts and prayers.

  11. Not a day goes by that we don’t think about Charlie and smile at all the wonderful memories of him…such a special boy! Love you guys! We’d love a copy of the video whenever you have time…such a great tribute–Phil will especially love to have this momento of, by far, his FAVORITE buddy:)

  12. Thank you so much for sharing. I will never forget this. My reaction to this day is so fresh. I can’t imagine what it is/has been like for you and your family. I want to share all my strength with you & Vanessa to help in your healing and life forward. God is surely watching over you. To a new year, with all the very best.

  13. Bryan,

    Thank you so much for this blog, I am one of those people who lives someone who list a child and you are helping me to understand their grief. I think it’s brave, vulnerable and amazing that you are able to share in this way to help so many others, help so many others. Thank you, the YouTube was sweet, Charlie looks like an awesome kid

  14. Bryan and family: I am sending this blog on to my friend and her husband. They lost their son Patrick at the age of 44 and their grief is the same as yours. They know now that it doesn’t get easier each day. They are both very angry and do all kinds of things to get through each day. i hear from your comments you do the same thing.
    Please know that your little one is watching over you.

  15. Keep writing. It’s been 2 years and 8 months and it does change…today’s pretty rough though. On days like this, I read blogs like yours and take big sighs, fire up the Kleenex box and soldier on.

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