His Name Was Brandon
His name was Brandon. I did not know him personally, nor do I know his family. I do know, however, that he was only 20 years young when he died. I know that he had thick brown hair that was permanently creased where his hat sat. I know that he had dimples that guarded a smile that glistened in the sunlight. Lastly, the fishing rod engraved on Brandon’s final memorial tells me this young man loved to fish.
I know these things about Brandon because he is buried two rows east and four spaces north from where my family rests so quietly. I noticed the new grave immediately and was instantly intrigued. Unfortunately, with each passing day, the rotting flowers were discarded until none remained. Once this happens, all evidence that a funeral service had been put together was erased; any remnants of a ceremony held in honor of sending this young man to the heavens had disappeared with the awe of a magic trick. This weighed heavily on my heart.
During the week after our introduction, I watched and waited for someone to visit this young man. When they would finally arrive, I would make a quick exit as is the unspoken rule of regular cemetery dwellers. For the families that have had a recent death, they are left alone to wail, scream or curse the heavens if needed. Nobody should have to grieve in front of an audience of any sort. The rules of this sanctuary are sacred to me. To my dismay, no one ever came - not once.
His birthday passed, the date of his death came and went, and yet, not a soul. Once I realized the people that he used to laugh with, confide in and trust would not be coming, this was when I adopted Brandon. If you know me, you would tell me that I do not need another person to be sad about; but if you really knew me, you wouldn’t even bother because this is just how I’m built. It is a flaw that will someday break me in half, and I accept this. I know I will die of a broken heart one day, but I will do so knowing I did all in my power to help those in need - regardless of a present heart beat or not.
Now when I visit the ones I have bid farewell, I take a flower from each bouquet and place it beside the picture of a handsome young man named Brandon. I pull the weeds bordering his slot and keep his gravestone shiny. I do all I can without needing a time card and a name badge.
Before I gather my things and prepare to go home to a family that is still living, I stop for a brief moment and say a brief prayer for a boy I never met. I do this because I am a mom who believes that a child who is placed in the ground deserves a flower placed in their honor every now and again. For all I know, his parents have moved or simply don’t have the heart to visit their boy, and that’s alright. In the meantime, I’ve got him. He will be part of my family now. Yes, I place flowers on the grave site of a young man I have never met, his name is Brandon.
I hope everyone had a great weekend! Prayers and blessings to all you, my friends. Let’s talk on Wednesday, I’ll bring the coffee. -R.