Giving peace a chance

The Life (and Legacy) of Brian

“I have a friend I’ve never seen
He hides his head inside a dream”

– Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Neil Young

Maybe I should start with how our friendship started back in the ‘70s, but to be current, I’ll talk about how it ended. Brian was an “anti-vax” and anti-masker” who believed in end-time conspiracy theories. Also, a survivalist, he had a healthy distrust of doctors and scientists.

There wasn’t much this well-regarded artist, and notable bodybuilder, couldn’t talk intelligently about. He was a lifelong friend and would help anyone who’d asked.

With mass vaccinations keeping COVID-19 at bay, I decided to reach out to him again, when there was no response. Then after several weeks he called.

Uncharacteristically, he launched into a series of accusations complaining we didn’t respect his views on the virus or his ‘big brother-type’ beliefs… just humouring him. His conclusion? If we’re not on the same page, then why get together? Our overriding question to him? Was he really willing to lose relationships over it? Either way it didn’t matter… we were going to love him anyway.

Shortly afterwards he was checked into the hospital complaining of unusual muscle pains – dying just days later. Tests taken showed he had suffered a brain embolism – with evidence of previously undetected strokes. Numerous studies have shown there are undeniable links between heart disease, stroke, and stress. My wife, a retired nurse, suggested that if Brian would have had regular health checkups this might have been diagnosed and treated.

I believe the virus didn’t cause his death but carrying the weight of COVID-19 on his mind, did. By refusing to wear a mask he found himself in the public eye – becoming frantically obsessed. As a very private person Brian would have suffered emotionally from the negative energy it generated. And, even if we thought this effort was misplaced, you’ve got to admire his fortitude. His message? Save yourself – the cure is worse than the disease.

Giving peace a chance
Touching Hearts

As a society, when all this is effectively over, we’ll have to go back to living “normal.” We must reconcile this within ourselves before addressing others: giving peace another chance! With Brian, we loved him like a brother.

Agree to disagree. To paraphrase a great quote – there are three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the truth.

Hate doesn’t work for me. Neither is being judgemental. It never works out right when I’m wrong. For most folks, however, vaccine acceptance is almost universal. There may be bumps on the rollout, but the ‘vac-battle’ is over. Remembering the millions who’ve died, let the healing begin!

Brian had always come from a place of love, not hate. Everything he did was to build the world up, not tear it down. Perhaps, that’s not a bad epitaph.

Fortunately, my wife had a chance to talk with him on his bedside phone.

He said he wasn’t afraid to die. He considered his 75 years on earth as a good age to leave it… he was content. His last words, “After all, you know my views of this world… not so great.”

Judith wept.

“Someone should call him and see
If he can come out
Try to lose the down that he’s found”

Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Neil Young

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That’s the way I figure it. – FP

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Fred, read your stuff in “Embracing Change” from Wilmot Twsp. You tweaked me today with the Neil quote.. and wanted to say that I am sorry you lost your friend. No end to the many stories and opinions around this pandemic. I tell my family & friends that I haven’t had the flu in 2 years so there must be something positive with the masking and hand washing (?). Tolerance seems to be in short supply these days around the world.
    Keep your stick on the ice….
    PS: I am 69 and have seen Neil 4 times…Tonight’s The Night ………….

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