|Brendan our baby lover! Christmas 2017|
How often I held that precious boy when he was four months old, rocking and feeding him his bottle while his mom worked. I used to put him down for his nap and sing to him while I ran my fingers lightly over his eyelids.
There were no tears then, thinking about him, just smiles. How I loved cuddling and singing and rocking and playing little games -- reaching out to touch his velvet skin, to pick him up out of the crib, to put him on my knee and "ride away to Boston to buy a penny cake."
In the last four month there hasn't been a day I haven't thought about Brendan and cried. I clean the upstairs front bedroom and see a photo of baby Brendan sleeping and cry. I walk by the refrigerator and see a photo of him and his cousin in their Halloween costumes and cry. I sit at the dining room table and see a photo on the buffet of teenage Brendan holding two babies in his arms. And I cry -- all for missing him and missing the promise of the man he would have become.
They say that Francis of Assisi went nearly blind because he cried so much kneeling before the crucifix. I can believe it. My eyes are blurry so much of the time.
In the weeks before Brendan's death, I was practicing a piece on the piano -- the theme from Ice Castles. Now, every time I play it, I cry. "Reaching out to touch you, I can feel so much." My tears aren't for Brendan now. I trust that God in His mercy reached out for that precious child and Brendan reached back and was folded into that embrace. I cry because the more I discover about his suffering, the more I wish I could have enfolded and embraced and comforted him. Brendan's suffering is over now, passed on to all of us, especially his parents.
One thing I do now is keep a candle lit for Brendan in front of St. Joseph's statue at our little parish church. Whenever it's close to going out I move a fresh candle into that spot and relight it. When we arrive for morning Mass I look at it and ask St. Joseph to hug him for me. And I ask Brendan to pray for me and to know that I will never forget to pray for him -- every day -- for the rest of my life.
Please pray for the repose of Brendan's soul and for our suffering family, especially Brendan's mom and dad and siblings. I know many of you are already. Please don't stop. And please pray for all those teetering on the brink. Suicide surely shows the face of Satan himself who was a murderer and liar from the beginning. He roams school corridors, veterans' hospitals, and family kitchens. He leers from television sets and computers. He inspires evil wherever he lurks. Pray that those in danger of listening to his promptings will reach out for help. My message to anyone thinking about suicide -- Please don't go, we need you.