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Requiescat in Pace, Bradshaw

June 29, 2009

I was going to blog about my weekend of horseback riding through the Mexican Wilderness, but something else came up. I opened my inbox today to find out that I had lost a friend to the war in Afghanistan. His name was Brian, but I only remember using his last name, Bradshaw. I met Bradshaw the summer I worked as a Camp Counseler for the Catholic Younth Organization in my diocese. Like all the people I worked with that summer, I have great respect him and all the gifts he brought to our staff. I have fond memories of the man, and I will miss him greatly.

US Army Photo

US Army Photo

There is a lot I want to convey to Brian´s family and friends, but in times of great sorrow and loss, words prove completely inadequate. There is no way this blog post can convey what I want to convey to all those who miss the guy.

After knowing Brian for a few weeks there was really only one thing that stood out. He was a man. The one-with-nature, burly, holy crap I´m not messing with this dude kind of man. It´s safe to say I was intimidated by the guy at first.

I´m not sure which session it was, but finally, Brian and I were in the same lodge and we (perhaps reluctantly at first) got to hang out a bit, and from there, a friendship blossomed. I left that summer with the untmost respect for all that Brian gave to his fellow staff members and the kids who came to camp.

Session six was when the cougar invaded camp. We were in Klamath Lodge, and all us staff members were sleeping outside under the stars. Brian heard something ´big´in the woods near where we were sleeping. I thought he was kidding (trying to spread Klamath Man rumors), but the next day we discovered what it was when the cat interupted our game of capture the flag. Usually, having a cougar move through the bushes near us would have at least caused hearts to skip a beat or two, but we had Brian a few feet away and the only thing that needed to worry was the mountain lion.

The next day we heard the cat again, and Brian grabbed a stick and his knife and took off after it into the woods. I´m not sure if Brian was just trying to scare it away to protect us or acting out of anger that it had ruined our game of Life and Death in the Forest. The cat is lucky he could run fast.

I never forgot the last words Brian said to me as I left camp, just two days before I had to head out to my first year of seminary. He said, ´Hey Bryan. I just want you to know that I think it´s good that you´re going to be a priest. I didn´t know people still did stuff like that.´ Although it was a simple and unremarkable statement in many ways, I really don´t think I´ve recieved words of encouragement as sincere as this.

And although I´ll remember him as sincere, there is no way that I will remember him as unremarkable. He went off in the name of his country and died ´to try and help people.´ That is remarkable.

The world lost a remarkable man, but it´s with a smile on my face that I think of Brian watching over us, ready to chase away any cougars or Klamath men that get in our way.

To Brian´s family – God Bless you, and thank you for raising such a dedicated, sincere, honorable, and remarkable human being. I am better for having known Brian, and I know I´m not the only one.

To Brian´s friends, especially our fellow CYO staffers- I rejoice knowing that we have each other and that we don´t have to be alone in our suffering. I wish I could be in Tacoma with you all, but please know that I will be thinking of you all and praying for you all as you gather to mourn our friend.

To Brian´s men out in Afghanistan… you are lucky to have been under my friend´s command. I´m praying for you all and long the day when you will return home to your families.

Brian adding an element of danger (not to mention fun and hilarity) to the Hamilton Relay.

Brian adding an element of danger (not to mention fun and hilarity) to the Hamilton Relay.


Time for Mass and adoration, where I´ll be praying for my friend. Rest in Peace, Brian and may the choirs of angels receive your soul and present you to God, the most high.

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4 comments

  1. Thanks for this, Bryan.


  2. Thanks for this post, friend. Requiescat in pace.


  3. Thank you Bryan. I don’t know if anyone could have said it better.


  4. Bryan,
    What a wonderful tribute! My heart is heavy for his family and friends.

    As the wife of a retired soldier, I thank God everyday that my husband is home and with me and our family.

    My Rosary group will be meeting tonight and I will be sure to include Brian, his family and friends in our intentions!

    God bless you in your journey!

    Much love, Laurie Glover



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