My Buddy Brian

The week before Lisa died I went to see my doctor twice.  I was having anxiety attacks and needed some help sleeping.  I’d seen him a couple of times annually for three or four years prior to my crisis, physicals, sinusitis.  I think I was one of his younger patients.

I saw him on the Thursday before Lisa died about sleeplessness.  I shared my story, let him know our family’s situation.  I went back on the following Monday.  He had no idea who I was.  Not only had he forgotten my name, I had to refresh him on the fact that my young wife was dying, that I had three kids, that I was struggling emotionally.  Needless to say, the following month, I switched to a new physician.

The new guy was younger than I.  He was a swimmer, in incredible physical condition.  He was also a great listener.  He was as concerned about my mental condition, how I was handling the stress of my loss, as he was my physical ailments.  He wasn’t herding cattle.  He was genuinely interested in making a difference in the lives of his patients.

Two years later, I heard that he was facing the same diagnosis as Lisa.  He had colon cancer, Stage IV.

He took time off from work and eventually left the practice.  But he and I kept up.  We periodically went to lunch to share war stories, particularly about our kids and the legacy we wanted to leave for them.  I didn’t see him often, but in the little time we had, a bond was formed.  I remember thinking to myself, don’t get too engaged, it will hurt worse when he’s gone.  But there was something about this guy, an intensity – a fierce desire to figure life out, to make a difference.

And he did.  My doctor not only changed lives in the office, but he was also instrumental in starting and growing a swim team for kids in a nearby neighborhood.  I understand he coached the same way he practiced medicine with a thoughtful, caring, intensity.  Encouraging, pushing, listening, meeting you where you were not where he wanted you to be.

Imagine knowing that you built something on this earth that will change lives for years and years into the future.  Each person he poured in to, each kid he challenged, each patient he encouraged will take his legacy and spread it in their own unique way.

I’d like to think that we are all as conscientious about leaving what we touch better than we found it.  Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s the case.  But there are a few, like Brian, who sincerely put others before themselves.

My goal:  To be more like him.

If I meet my objective, the world will be a better place.

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24 Comments

  1. Michael

     /  June 3, 2015

    Needed this today. Thanks. (And thanks for folk like Brian, too.)

    Reply
  2. positivelypeppy

     /  June 3, 2015

    The world needs more people like that.

    Reply
  3. Mom

     /  June 3, 2015

    What a gift to have a friend like this who “gets it” in this life. They influence you and those around them to do just what you said…to make a difference in this world. That’s what it’s all about.

    Reply
  4. Kathryn Williams

     /  June 3, 2015

    Beautifully said – I hope you shared this with the Goldman’s – I know that they would appreciate it so much!

    Sent from my iPhone

    Kathryn B. Williams kbilbrowilliams@me.com 919-815-6420 mobile 3317 Old Saybrook Court Raleigh, NC 27612

    >

    Reply
  5. We should be remembered for what we leave others rather than what we have while here. You have been doing a great job of this and also doing what Brian has through your child raising, this blog and the book!!!

    Reply
  6. Well done 🙂

    Reply
  7. Meghan

     /  June 3, 2015

    It seems you are the same kind of person as Brian. Maybe it’s like attracting like.

    I remember how much you cared for kids at the Y when working with them. And Lisa, too. That’s why you all were impressionable on me. Because you both expressed a commitment and genuine love for raising kids to be honest, caring and loving people. I always felt like, back then, that if I had kids going to after school programs, I’d only want people like you and Lisa running it.
    You are making such a positive difference.

    Reply
  8. Amen, Bruce. He was a fine, kind, most humble and giving man, husband and father and a very talented swimmer who encouraged every person he met ~ especially swimmers. During the time we knew him, he left an impact on us ~ because he was always interested in you & others and never focused on himself (or his illness). He was a stud (Robert agrees). He was a star. He was a great man and doc. We will never forget Brian, and I know he would be humbled by Grayson dedicating this summer’s swim season to him. SHALOM Dr. G & FAMILY,

    The Rehms

    Reply
  9. Charlotte Hauptman

     /  June 3, 2015

    …..Another gift to my heart…..Thank you for another glimpse into who Brian was, and the legacy he left….

    Reply
  10. Courtney Thompson

     /  June 3, 2015

    So glad to know that you also
    knew Brian. He was a great individual. I swam with him years ago. He has inspired many and touched many and like you said years to come he will have a lasting impact. What a great legacy.

    Reply
  11. I’m sorry Bruce. I don’t know what I would do without my doctor. I tell her I love her and it’s ok with her. 🙂 I had just told my real doctor how thankful I was for her last month. I loved her so much, I switched the kids to her too! Thank you for being your doctor’s friend. I hope you find a new one that listens to you.

    Reply
  12. Aunt Susan

     /  June 4, 2015

    you know I think you have been working toward you goal for a long long time, and have come very close to hitting it. I know Lisa thought so.

    Reply
  13. Andee

     /  June 6, 2015

    This is a very good post. Thanks for sharing! Interesting how God puts certain people in our path “for such a time”. I’m sure you were a great encouragement to your Dr. when he faced his own health crisis.

    Reply
  14. People cross our paths for a reason. We learn something from each other.

    Reply
  15. woww. great.. Well done 🙂

    Reply
  16. Beautifully said – I hope you shared this with the Goldman’s – I know that they would appreciate it so much!

    Reply

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