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Brian’s Story: seeking peace in a losing battle

A woman with an open, engaging smile and a splendid brown hat comes toward me, holding out her hand in greeting. I’m meeting Lisa for the first time; she’s come to tell me the story of Brian, her beloved, adopted child. We’ve chosen to meet in the library on a blustery Sunday afternoon in July, and settle on a small, quiet room on the second floor with a window facing west. The sky is uncharacteristically overcast and a green-leaved canopy outside our window moves with the wind. Intermittent lightning and splashes of raindrops join in at will, but our spot is protected and cozy – a safe place to unravel a lamentable tale of heartbreak. We sit adjacent to each other and as Lisa starts to collect her thoughts aloud to share details about her son’s life and death, I begin to understand the strength of this thoughtful woman who lost her only child less than two years ago. We smile at each other and soon find a shared rhythm of conversation as Brian’s story unfolds.

“My dream (is) . . . to honor Brian,” his mother states. And since her idea was still new, we didn’t talk specifics. But I’m hoping this mother of a beautiful but burdened son might be crafting some very specific language within her proposal idea of creating a community committed to conversations about shaping a more peaceful world for all. Perhaps Lisa will find ways to honor Brian through promoting conversations about the shaping of a better world for the whole as well as for the one; conversations about the attainment of inner peace and a quality life for any and all who strive to find their footing but somehow lose themselves in the process – conversations about individual children in pain; conversations about Brian.

Welcome into the world of the twelfth child, lost tragically and too soon, in the series of stories to be found in my new book: . . . and then Grace smiles: stories and reflections on grief, courage and healing. To read about Lisa and Brian, go to and click on Books in the menu. Parents tell their Stories is located under the Books tab. As you begin reading, consider holding mother and son in your heart.


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