Three families, linked together by our sons. From grade school into college we enjoyed times together – Packer games, weekends at the Wisconsin Dells, New Year’s Eve parties.
It was an exciting time for our three boys. They all went away to college. It was spring, with freshman finals coming up; they were planning their first summer since being independent at school.
It was all shattered in an instant. Brandon, the younger brother of my son’s friend, who had always been a part of their guy group, died by gun suicide. How could this be? His family had always been involved with hunting and focused on safety. They practiced safe gun storage. Yes, Brandon had a history of attempting suicide and was getting help; those other attempts failed. The gun did not fail.
Two months before he would turn 17 – his life ended. The friendships of our families severed.
This year he would have been 21 years old. We celebrate Brandon. Beautiful, silly and happy. His mom would say he was her buddy – her Mini-Me. He was outgoing, funny, caring, big-hearted and loving. He always had lots of energy and nonstop talking.
Gone too soon.
(Brandon is 3rd from the left.)