I’m writing this post from my living room on my laptop, which is actually how this blog got started many years ago. However one room over, through two double doors is a beautiful office with a stunning hand sanded and stained gray wood wall to wall desk and my 27″ iMac, with a view of the whole back yard. That is also the room where Brandon died. We stripped it down to the studs after and did a full remodel making it a calm and peaceful place as he had written about in a school journal, and for a while I too found it a calming place. Lately though I just can’t seem to work in there, which has made school and a job search difficult as I try to find a place for my laptop, mouse, bigger keyboard, supplies etc.
I don’t go to the gym really anymore. I keep trying to but something gets in the way, and I can’t really find a reason to care. I don’t eat as healthy as I used to because it doesn’t seem important to make allergy safe foods for myself anymore. It was always easier to do that for myself because I was also doing it for Brandon. We shared a ton of allergies and I always wanted to set a good example for him.
Yelp events aren’t the same without him. Last night I attended an event with free pizza, wings, and soft serve ice cream & I spent the whole night missing the visual of him with his whole face and all of his hands covered in wing sauce. Less than 10 days before Brandon died he went to a Yelp event with me and we discussed him becoming the youngest Yelp Elite in Reno. That will never happen now.
I really miss his hugs. I feel like I’m on an island alone most of the time and I know I’ll never feel whole again without him wrapping me up in a hug, kissing the top of my head and telling me it will be okay mom.
I haven’t written since 2018 for a variety of reasons. The first reason is that someone else had moved my blog to a self hosted website & I could no longer edit, spell check, or add photos so I just stopped. My family had found my blog and began tracking my time on here which got old fast. But then my 14 year old son, my dear sweet precious Brandon committed suicide on Feb 18 2020. It’s been 18 months and this is the first time I’m able to sit down and put the words onto my website.
I don’t really know how to even start this post. I haven’t been able to breathe since he left. Brandon was my first born, my ADHD twin, and one of the only people in the world who could hug me in a way that made me feel whole and safe. My son suffered depression, and we did everything right. I have suffered depression my whole life so I was very aware of what not to do. I never asked “why” or said “you have nothing to be sad about,” I simply told him it’s okay, hugged him, cried with him and asked “how can I help?
We went to therapy. He elected to take meds, he swore he was getting better, but in the end he took his life over a girl, and I am the one who found him. There are a lot of things I will talk about, but even more I will never talk about and HOW he died is a firm no. Brandons little brother Codi was home with him that day but he does NOT want to know how his brother died. Out of respect for the only child I have left I kindly ask you not to comment asking about it, and if you do track down ways to figure it out, kindly never post it on my social media platforms where his brother follows me. Please. I will be doing a FAQ page on here too, that’s coming.
A lot is coming actually. More writing, figuring out how to do a podcast, figuring out how to write a book, and the non profit I have just started for Brandon. For now I’m going to end here, do some homework, and process the fact that I finally put it it down on my blog that my sweet 5′ 9″ love is gone.
First day of school 2021 drop off is in the books. Luckily I still woke up early every day to make Roberts breakfast while Codi was on break, so I was up & at it early this morning making him a chorizo breakfast burrito. He came downstairs with his hair done so nice, in white shorts and a rad tie dye shirt. I immediately made him take off his shirt and put on a spare then covered his shorts with a towel when I realized his burrito was full of red chorizo (I may be the laundry stain removing queen but I was not about to mess up the outfit he so carefully chose three days ago and laid out on his chair for today). He laughed but said, “good call.” As he changed shirts I saw the cross necklace filled with Brandons ashes around his neck like always, and smiled knowing his brother would be with him all day. On the way out the door I got sad, Brandon should be taking Codi to school today not me, and Brandon should be in our annual first day of school photo. Then I looked up and saw the most red sun ever and knew Brandon was taking Codi to school after all. My heart hurt more and less all at once.
I asked Codi to take photos with me and he cheerfully said, “okay!” I was stunned, here I was ready to beg for photos and he didn’t even roll his eyes at all. Even when I asked for just two more, and then re-took one more he still smiled. In the car I asked if he had on deodorant and he did. I blinked, who is this child with his hair done, deodorant on, who showers every night without even being asked, fresh brush teeth that I didn’t remind him about, and a smile. Oh right 13.5 the age when boys begin to turn into kick ass humans. When Brandon passed midway through age 14 I have to say he was the coolest Brandon I had ever known. Somewhere between 13.5 & 14 it starts to make sense for boys and they truly become the coolest people to know. I smiled knowing Codi and I had reached that milestone.
One thing Codi and I have in common is that we both really hate being late anywhere. However Codi often forgets I’ve been driving this town for more years that I care to admit and I often know a faster route than him. This is a common argument (playful) on the way to baseball. Rock Blvd & Mill area is shit around 5pm on weekdays. Somehow I get him there on time every practice. He makes sure to tell me his way would have been two minutes faster though.
I digress, for the first few months last year I took Veterans to South Meadows and then Wilbur May. One day Codi declared that taking Veterans & turning left of Carat was “so much faster moooom.” So we’ve done it his way since. This morning when we turned onto Wilbur May from Carat, the street in front of his school, there was approximately 900 cars in line. See the thing is, Codi’s school has a drop off line in front of the school, and while I don’t want to share my secret I will say that every day I laugh as all the moms wait in the worlds longest line to drop off their kid while I drive down the circle to the left of them, over the speed bump and down to the gym where there is always a white Tundra parked right in front, and I am always the second car. If it’s cold Codi waits, if it’s nice out he jumps out and is on his way. This morning I laughed because I knew that not only was this line due to the original moms trying to get in the silly drop off line, but it was also a whole class of the 6th grade moms doing the same thing. I looked at Codi and said, “Bruh, we so should have taken my way.” He was silent for a minute then said, “Just send it mom.” I was confused and said, “Send what?” He told me to go my way. I thought he was pranking me. I told him we were already in this line (.6 miles from school, but going 0-3 mph could have taken over 15 minutes) knowing he wouldn’t want me to do anything too “Shannon” to get him to school. He looks to the right where the first turn of three before the school was and said, “make a U-turn mom, just send it.” SO WE DID! As we sailed past the line that was now backed up all the way to Carat, and down Carat to Veterans Codi said, “these people have no idea what they are getting into,” and laughed. We hit every green light and Codi laughed more. As Wilbur May came into view it was clear there wasn’t a single car in our way. He looked over at me and said, “well for once mom you were right about the faster way,” and we high fived. We pulled into the farthest part of the parking lot because I knew I wouldn’t end up stuck in the school zone, and we could sail straight down to the front of the school. Wouldn’t know you know we pulled up early, he got a front of the school drop off, thanked me, hopped out ran across the parking lot, and turned around flashing me a smile & a Peace sign. As I turned around and headed home I laughed to see that the line now backed up all the way down Veterans to even turn onto Carat and the bell had rung five minutes ago.
This morning, missing one kid, having already sprayed deodorant directly onto my shirt instead of my body and then dropping my toothpaste on my shirt and having to change my own shirt while my 13 year old remained clean, I some how still won the first day of school.
That red sun was now in my rear view but it was still there, a ray of sun was shining directly down on me, and I knew Brandon had helped me get that win this morning and was guiding me home to decompress.
He found a way to still take his brother to school, and I just know had Brandon been driving this morning he would have made that same U-turn and hit the same curb I did in his smaller version of my big truck, and those two would have laughed their head off. These moments are the hardest, the ones where I’m acutely aware I’m missing one child, where I’m missing a whole set of photos, where I know a milestone such as taking his brother to school will never happen. I am grateful this day happened when Codi was at the age he is now to just smile and high five me. He runs downstairs every night to hug his dad and I, and say goodnight, we don’t have to ask anymore. When I get home now, just like his brother did Codi runs down the stairs to say hi and give me a hug. When I clean his room he always runs downstairs after seeing it to say, “Thank you for doing that.” When I tidy up his drawers or closet he thanks me for that too. He cleans his bathroom weekly now without being asked, and does things like say, “mom can you put toilet cleaner on the list for my bathroom.” He smiles more, and tells me how BUSSIN BUSSIN my food is, while doing funny dances in the kitchen after taking that first bite (I’m not allowed to post those videos, and I respect that wish of his).