Happy Birthday, Brian!

***Please note: the following post was written on December 8th, 2012. Due to certain factors (okay, okay, because I’m working too damn much…), I was unable to post this on that day. The date is very important, though, as you’ll see when you continue reading. Still, though that important day has past, I still feel it very crucial to share the post. It’s one of the few days of the year when you can expect me to get pretty personal here in this blog. Thanks for reading.

Thirty years ago today, a great man came into this world. He didn’t get to stay very long, but what he became in the twenty seven years that he did get was pretty damn special. His name was Brian James Cooper, he died about three years ago in 2010, and I had the privilege and the honor of almost being his wife.

Today’s a pretty bittersweet day for me. I get to remember the life of someone who completely changed my world, and, at the same time, I’m faced with the fact that we never got to embark on the life we had planned for each other. Brian’s death was pretty sudden and unexpected. A little bit after Christmas, the doctors had called and informed him that they finally figured out that his enlarged, anomalous lymph nodes were indeed cancerous, and he’d need to start treatment immediately. It’s sort of a dark irony that I remember hearing so many times how we should be glad it was non-Hodgkin’s. Technically, it wasn’t the cancer that killed Brian, but rather the effects of the chemotherapy. He had never had a strong immune system, and chemotherapy basically kills what immune system you do have. He was in his second month, at the end of January, where he contracted a strain of e.coli and, with no immune system to fight it off, he was admitted into ICU, struggling in a battle he couldn’t win, and it was decided that it would be best to let him go.

It’s impossible for me to type this out without starting to cry; it was nearly three years ago, but that night in the hospital is still so vivid in my head that I still haven’t been able to go into a hospital since. But it’s important for me to write about it, to tell our story, to acknowledge this monumental event that has changed me so profoundly. There are a lot of things that I didn’t get to do because of Brian’s unexpected death, but it steered me on a completely different path, and I have a feeling that a lot of the things I’ve done since and will continue to do might not have happened if not. I could go into the everything happens for a reason bullshit, but I’d rather just recognize the fact that I am a much stronger person for what I’ve been through, and while I would have preferred everything would have gone along as planned, I’m grateful, in a way, to have had this experience that gives me such a unique perspective and strength. And there’s always going to be a part of him inside me. Always. I’m even wearing one of his old flannel shirts right now as I write this.

I’ve been thinking of writing a memoir about our brief, but incredible life together (tentatively titled “Destructor,” after a drawing he did once that I still have; it would make great cover art), but I don’t know if I’m quite ready for that yet. Eventually. I know he’s inspired me for another book, Ragnorok: Space Vikings, something he always joked about writing, though he was not a writer. Brian was a great man, and so I hope I can always remember him on this day, to celebrate the great life he was able to squeeze into twenty seven short years. I love you, Brian, I miss you. I hope you’re proud of everything I’ve become so far, and all the great things I plan to still accomplish.

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9 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Brian!

  1. L.S., This is a sad post, and my thoughts are with you. I remember you posting about Brian in the past, but this explains in a little more detail your journey over the past few years. I wish you the best as you move forward.

  2. I’m sitting her in my office crying over a life cut short and a love story that didn’t get to continue. I’m so, so sorry you had to lose someone who meant so much to you. There are just no words adequate enough to explain how much this post touched me. I’m so glad you’re strong enough to go forward and live life, and yet remember Brian so fondly.

  3. Laura, the love story of you and Brian will always be yours. When you share the feelings of the loss you have felt, you help all of us to understand the true and pure love that the 2 of you had together. I was blessed to know and love Brian. I am blessed to know and love you as well. I grieve for your loss and celebrate in the love that you had found, a love that some never have the privilege to experience ever in their lives. I appreciate your ability to share this with us all. As I read, I am taken back to that Tuesday in January 2010, and the helplessness I felt as a mom wanting to take all the pain away from you~ I am so proud of you. I would love to shield you from anything that causes you pain,~ they say you get stronger through pain, which is true, but through pain and JOY in our lives,that is what molds us and makes us who we are, right at this moment. thank you again for sharing this very intimate post with us. I love you..

  4. I never understood that “everything happens for a reason” crap either, as though there is a greater plan going on. Yes things happen for reasons but unfortunately they are not always good reasons. Remember your time together as it was clearly very significant. It is not easy, and you have to make the best of it, but that doesn’t mean give up. It means remember the good things and lessons learned, and use it in a positive way. And think would Brian be proud or happy for what you have done and achieved.

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