Friday, September 27, 2002

The service for Brian is tomorrow - Saturday. I've written a personal statement for the memorial service, which I'll put on the web site along with some pictures of Brian and of the mountain.


Brian Douglas Faughnan
June 6, 1967 – July 2002

Brian was eight years younger than I. For the years we had with him, he was my much younger brother. When I joined the search in Whistler, the RCMP thought I was Brian’s father. Eight years can be a long time, especially if one is prone to gray hair.

I remember Brian when I left home at 19. I went far away, and I would not really see him for many years. I think we knew that when we said good-bye. He was eleven then. I remember that he held my hands when we crossed busy streets, and that I was a bit embarrassed, but also grateful. I don’t know how true that memory is, but for years I have missed him holding my hand. Now I hold the hands of my sons, and that is precious to me. I think of Brian then.

After Brian was born, we received an honorary centennial letter. He was a ‘67 baby, born on Canada’s special birthday. That impressed me then. I thought that made him special too, and so he always seemed to us. Blessed. Last summer he and I decided I was the buggy 1.0 release, and he a much-improved version. He had many gifts, he was the beloved child. Beloved by his family, by his friends, by my sons Timothy and Ben and his niece Lauren.

What did I know of Brian the adult? Not so much, at least until recent years. We corresponded and saw each other at holidays, and sometimes we visited. We seemed to think quite a bit alike, but we lived far apart. It was a grace that he stayed with my family for a month in the summer of 2001. We had an easy time together, talking of many things. He mentions one of our conversations in a screenplay. I found that screenplay in Vancouver and I read it on the plane ride home. Someday soon I’ll put some more pictures and the screenplay on the website – you can read it there if you like.

In Vancouver, when he was gone, I learned more. Sometimes psychics would say they heard him, but I could not. His friends could speak though. With his family Brian was often quiet, even reticent, with a wry, sardonic wit. In that year that was a week, I learned he could be bold and boistrous, a clown and a leader, a flirt and a mentor. I learned of his life as a teacher, an explorer and an adventurer. I learned that for a grown person, an older brother tells only a part of a story.

In Whistler, and upon the mountain with Brian’s friends, he felt as though he was close by, though I could not touch him. I remembered then older parts of my life; as though in some other world I was traveling Brian’s path.

We looked hard for Brian those bright days on Rainbow Mountain, my brother Steven first alone, and then all of us together. We looked beneath rocks, in crevasses and open fields, in dense brush and beneath ice and snow. We looked from the air and from the ground. For every place we looked, there were a thousand others. We found nothing, and yet we did find him, or a part of him. His memory was among us. On the last day there, I said good-bye to the mountain, and to him.

So he has gone. An explorer, born out of time, between the great ages of exploration, he has gone too far ahead of us. It is a terrible thing to be without him. My son Timothy adored him. Even now, abruptly, he tells us “I really miss Uncle Brian very much”. So do I. So do all of us.

Our special brother, friend, child, is gone. His thoughts and dreams and works live only in us now. We each alone and together will find our ways to carry his memory. Holding a child’s hand, eating an apple, walking the mountains, seeing the summits, I will think of him. In new paths and old ways revisited, I will think of him. We go on, but Brian is, forever, 35.

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