Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Brady...back in triathlon days
20 years ago this week, I lost my husband. Silly phrase, that. I didn't "lose" Brady, of course. I knew exactly where he was. He lay on the bed in front of me. After hours in a coma, heart racing and breathing ragged, he opened his eyes briefly, as if to note that the important people had gathered for his transition moment. We had--most of us, anyway. His cousin and close friend did not hear the news in time, but Brady could wait no longer. He closed his eyes, drew one last breath and crossed a bridge, out of our sight for a time.

My father gave me a priesthood blessing that night. He blessed me, among other things, with the ability to do what I needed to do to wrap things up and leave my relationship with Brady behind until the eternities. At the same time, he reminded me that a closeness would continue and that Brady would always remain near, would always care.

I had forgotten the specifics of that blessing until I read my journal just now. Looking back with the perspective of time and experience, I see inspiration in my father's words. Brady and I shared just three years together as husband and wife. We were young and stupid, trying to be grownups and, more often than not, falling short.

Just two months after Brady died, I moved cross country, seeking fresh air and a chance to remember how to be young. I married again, a year and a half later. I have always wondered what Brady thought about that. Even though I knew without a doubt that I did the right thing, for a long time I still felt a twinge of guilt, a sense that I had betrayed Brady somehow, or at least that I had betrayed the sensibilities of his family.

I have visited his grave over the years, reporting in. "Devin is growing tall, Brady. He's smart and handsome. You would be so proud." And later, pleading, "Please help me raise your son. I'm trying my best, but he's struggling, and I feel so inadequate." Then, just a year ago, I sat in the Salt Lake temple with Devin for the first time. I prayed fervently that Brady could share in that moment somehow, that he could watch his son prepare to serve a mission, that he could see the fine man Devin had become.

Devin and others have sensed Brady's presence over the years. I never felt I deserved that experience. But I find myself, all these years later, wondering what it will be like to see him again. I hope we can be friends. I hope we can sit down and compare stories over a cup of hot chocolate. I hope we can take our grandchildren (or great-grandchildren) for walks in the clouds and argue about whether they inherited their intellect and talent from Grandma or from Grandpa.

In those early years, I wanted to wield my pen to write a stunning tribute to Brady. I soon realized how very little I knew him, that I would do better to raise his son well than to try and create a life that Brady himself had not yet lived. Now I find that I have nothing profound to say. In some way and in his own time, Brady will find a way to tell his own story. I don't pretend to understand eternity, and I cannot paint heaven. But I do know that Brady lives on. I know I will see him again, and I think he will smile when he sees me. I hope he does.

Until then, I will simply live my life. Now and then I will look up and wink at the sky. I will hear a snatch of a song or catch a glimpse of a Rocky Mountain sunset, and I will remember a life I had the honor to share just briefly.


  1. You and Brady seemed so old and grown-up to me back in those days. Weird to think about how young you really were.

    This is a great post.

  2. Very heartfelt and well written, Juliana. I ran into your Mother at the temple last week and she mentioned briefly that Devin is doing very well on his mission and I had a comment or two on those days 20 years ago, days which I remember well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Juliana, beautiful as always. Crying. Remembering Brady, thinking of you. Oh my goodness... really crying. Do you remember the non-alcoholic wine tastings? I saw a car just like Brady's a few weeks ago and told N about him and you. I told he loved to golf, how silly he could be and happy the two of you were. I so wish we would not have been so far away when you needed friends close.

    ...Smiling and wiping drying salt off my cheeks. I'm smiling because of a snippet of conversation that I am remembering from when we all had dinner together. Oh my! I'll save that for when we can hug and talk.

  4. My words are inadequate. I love how real you are. I love how honest and reflective this piece is . Thank you for opening your soul up to is.

  5. Absolutely beautiful Julianna. I think you have honored Brady's life well.I remember the strength of spirit I felt as I taught Devin in Seminary and that reflects on the great parents he has. A double blessing to have two fathers that love him profoundly.

  6. Why do I, Alexia, show up as Mimi Dust?

  7. So glad you left a comment on our site, and a connection to your blog. What a breathtaking post.

    I left a comment on our site, too. Perhaps sometime you might consider a guest post for our site? ;)

  8. if only everyone could be remembered through your eyes. so perfectly stated. i'm glad to know you, juliana ♥

  9. This was a very sweet heartfelt post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts I enjoyed reading this one. This was very well written.
    Blessings to you!
    This is my first time visiting and I will return.