09.08.2016

I thought about titling this blog “The Year that Didn’t Happen,” because, well…it didn’t–at least not as it was supposed to.  I was going to be juggling a job, a newly burgeoning film career, being a husband, and being a father to not one, but two boys.  But a year ago today I held my second son for the first, and last time.  I remember it as if it were yesterday.

Like all babies, he was lighter than he looked.  But this one…Isaac looked like me.  It was nice to see.  I love T3, but he certainly looks more like a Cooper than he does a Brown.  Isaac had my nose, which up until his mid-fifties would have been a good thing.  (It goes downhill from there.)

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not okay, and that that’s all right.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be “OK.”  I have an Isaac shaped hole in my heart that couldn’t possibly be filled.  But I don’t want that.

I still laugh.  I still dream.  And if you ask Isaac’s older brother what the meaning of life is, he will answer loud and clear: “Bacon!”  I’ve done well.

But Isaac, I miss you, boy.  And I always will.

Not many people ask me how I’m doing.  This, I believe, is mainly due to the fact that, as a Gemini, I’m quite good at keeping my cards hidden.  And I don’t take offense to it.  I’m usually more concerned about what is going on in others lives than to worry them with my own.  I am fine.  Just a little more sad than usual.

I’ve started (again) to write a novel.  I don’t have much written but the first page says the following:

To my boys, Thomas D. Brown III and Isaac Joel Brown.

I don’t know when exactly you became my compass on this adventure, but I can’t imagine life without you.  And so I dedicate this adventure to you.  

Love,
Your Father

Maybe I should have titled the blog “Meandering with Isaac.”  #LOL

You have never stopped being an inspiration my boy, and though the idea of waiting any longer to hold you again tears me apart, I’ll do us all a favor, and keep on kickin’ until I’m old and gray.  (Don’t tell anyone, but I’m starting to go gray already.)

Cheers.

Dad

PS: Your headstone / marker thing is pretty nice.  I liked that it had a tree on it.  A bringer of life. -T2

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Dear Isaac, #2

I read a love poem today and it made me think of both your mother, and of you.  E.E. Cummings wrote “[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]” in 1952, and in 2016, I share it with you:

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Love,

Dad

2015

I moved across the country.
I lost weight, and gained it back.
I read twenty-three books.  Not one of them was the one I promised to read.
I literally, “leaped for joy,” upon learning of my wife’s pregnancy.
I starred in a movie and made several.
My son taught me how to be a triceratops.  I taught him about bacon.
I was unemployed. “Sorry, we’re going in a cheaper direction.”
But, then I got a job.
I wore a tuxedo, and cried at a wedding.
But then my baby died.  I held him in my arms, only once, for fear I wouldn’t let him go again.
We put him in the ground, and I held my wife.
And, then I went to work.
I made new friends.
I tried new food.
I cried a lot. 
I began working on my novel again.  We’ll see how it works out.
I have not visited his grave.
Christmas is supposed to be a happy time of year.
All I want is for it to be September 8th, and for him to still be here.
But time is a constant.
Thanksgiving was good.
I’ve whispered “I love you” into my son’s ear, on a consistent basis.
I’ve watched Star Wars twice.
I’ll see it again, soon.
I don’t like resolutions.
But I will promise myself, this:

I will not stop.  I will continue.  I will learn how to breathe again.
I will make him proud.
I love you, Isaac.

Dear Isaac, #1

I’ve been thinking about you today.  Trying to keep it to just at “lunch time” because I won’t be productive otherwise.  My heart breaks every time I do.  No good customer service experience could blossom from that.  #NewJob

I want to make a movie for you, but I don’t know what to do.  I thought I could do a documentary-style essay, or letter from me to you, but that’s too on the nose—I would cry the whole time and not get anything done.

I have a science-fiction idea, which could be really cool if I can shape it into a story.  Ideas come easier than whole stories do.  It’s something you learn the more time you spend writing.  It would help if I knew what you looked like, you know, grown up.  I don’t know.  You were a beautiful baby though, and you had your mother’s lips.  You looked like your brother did when he was first born.  A little more purple, though.

Some people will read that last bit and think my joke in poor taste, but it isn’t for them.  It’s for you and for me.  And if you’re anything like your Dad, which I’m sure you would have been, you’d appreciate a good corpse joke, as I appreciate a good one-nut joke (as it pertains to my survival of testicular cancer in 2001).

Here’s what it boils down to: How can you miss someone you’ve never met so much that it breaks you apart every few days?  How do you tell that story?  You know, without just saying it–that’s too easy, and you deserve a masterpiece, not some Hallmark movie of the week.  I love you more than life.

It’s therapeutic to write to you.  I’m going to do it again.

Does it make a good blog post?  Probably not, but I’d rather keep it here than risk losing the piece of paper.  I’ll write you again soon…once I’ve figured out your story.

Love,

Dad

Moving Forward…

The snob in me wants to wax verbose about how the breeze feels across my neck, but I think that part of me died two weeks ago. I’m sitting here in Garfield Park in Indianapolis on a Saturday evening, getting ready to crew the pick-up shoot for Dark Ground, a feature film I had the pleasure of starring in shortly after moving back to the heartland, and I’ve been hit with a horrible revelation: I might survive this.

My second son, Isaac Joel Brown, was born six weeks early on September 8th, 2015. He was 18.5 inches long and weighed 5 lbs 9 ounces. He died the night before in his mother’s womb, and the moment that should have been overwhelming in its joy was instead filled with sorrow as I saw my son for the first time, a corpse.

Now, I’m a spiritual man, and I believe Isaac to be in Heaven right now and in that moment as well. He left a warm and happy place and found himself in an even better one. This does not comfort me much. I would rather replace this knowledge with the memory of his laugh, smile, cry, touch, smell or any of the other events that might have been had he survived. I look at my oldest son and know that Isaac would have had the best older brother and that not only was his family denied his presence, but he ours.

It’s very easy to look at the horrible things that life throws at you, and simply “throw in the towel.” I could lose faith. Saying “everything happens for a reason” not only sounds stupid in times like these but cruel as well. What reason could be good enough to kill my son?

Dwelling on thoughts like this is the path to the dark side of the force. I will not search for blame. Fear leads to anger, anger to hate, and hate to further suffering. We’ve suffered enough. I have an Isaac sized hole in my heart as proof of that.

So I continued. I continued to take job interviews, work on film projects and I have not stopped writing. This Friday I was offered and in turn accepted a full-time job. I have also begun working on three different film projects and began prepping a fourth (for the 60 Hour Film Challenge).

I make time for my wife. She is suffering as I am suffering. I have hobbies though. I’ve never prayed in a blog post before, but I pray now that God place his healing hand over all of us. Things won’t change over-night, but one day, one minute at a time, we will get through this.

So, Internet, here is my vow: I will not dwell in sorrow and anger, I will not deny them, I will feel them for as long as I must, and I will let them go. I will make this life the best one I can live and I will remember Isaac Joel Brown. I will remember him as he should have been, beautiful and alive. For he was beautiful, and according to his mother, one heck of a kicker!

DSC_4534

I love you, Isaac.

Now, it’s time to make a movie.

Throwback Thursday or My New Old Best Friend

Dear God,

First, thank you for today.  I love it when I wake up and I’m still here.  Now, secondly, thank you for my brother, Richard.  When we were younger neither of us were very good at the whole “being a supportive brother” thing, but now that we’ve grown, I couldn’t ask for a better friend.

This isn’t my typical blog post, but it’s something that’s been pressing on my heart.  I need to say these things and not just privately.

Fifteen years ago if you had asked me what I thought of my younger brother I would tell you “I love him.”  Or I would have made a fat joke.  (Oh, the irony.)  What I wouldn’t tell you is this:

He is funny, charming, intelligent, honorable, kind, and fair-minded.  He has been nothing short of a beacon of support for me in any endeavor I have ever had, and doesn’t speak to me as if one day I will be successful, but as if I already am.  Do I have disagreements with him?  Of course, one could say “all the time,” but they are no longer fights, they are conversations.  Do I think he’s obnoxious?  Incredibly.  But then again, so am I.  I like to blame it on being a Gemini, but the stars hold little sway on my behavior, not nearly as much as I do.

No idea who all those other people are.

When I was younger I was indifferent to this “younger” person who was not smaller than me.  I know, if you ask him, he would say I was a horrible older brother.  I wasn’t mean, and I cared about him deeply.  That being said our relationship never really evolved past the point it was when my parents brought him home from the hospital:

“If I hit him (physically or emotionally) he’ll make noise, and often times he’ll make enough noise or the wrong noise, and he’ll get in trouble instead of me.”  Like the time when I poked him and he threw himself through a table in order to get me in trouble for pushing.  As quick and clever as the plan was, our mother saw through it.  #Skills

It wasn’t until I was 21 that I stopped this.  When I was diagnosed with testicular cancer, and despite all of our previous history, my brother showered me with support.  I let a lot of things go during chemotherapy, to say nothing about my hair.  I don’t usually sweat the small stuff (outside of food in restaurants) anymore, and hurting my brother for sport had no more appeal.  It was childish.  And though, not intended, it was cruel.

Now, not all of the change was me, but it was enough.  I have found that this crusty Tech Sergeant is and has always been my best friend.  And I can’t thank God enough for bringing him into my life on that June morning, so many years ago.

Love,

T2

Beef Wellington: Dr Who vs. Santa Claus

I don’t know when this years Christmas became a uniquely British one, but it did.  As per tradition, I will be cooking Christmas dinner.  This year I’ve decided to conduct an experiment by way of making my first ever Beef Wellington, first Creamy Whiskey Peppercorn Sauce, first Carrot Purée, and the staple Mashed Potatoes.

Don’t worry, I’m serving an “Endless Summer Salad” with the whole thing too.  Because, #veggies.

And as much as I love food, and as much as I love cooking and trying new things…I’m really just counting the minutes until Nick Frost’s Santa Claus joins forces with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor to save Christmas from evil aliens–though, they’ll probably end up not being evil and just being horribly misunderstood–but should, in the end, bring me a load of happiness.

This is my son’s third Christmas and at 2 ½ he’s finally starting to “get it,” which is awesome, despite the fact that we’ve watched nothing but Mickey Mouse, Curious George and Thomas the Train Christmas specials for the last two months.  He knows who Santa is, though he’s not quite sure what Santa means, other than that he say’s “Ho, Ho, Ho,” and that he means Christmas…on one level or another.

I began shooting the pilot episode of a web-series, “Cooking with T3,” I’m making with my son, and should be streaming it via Youtube by the New Year.  He’s a little young still, so the first episode may be the last for a while.  Maybe shoot the next one closer to his third birthday.

Anywho, I guess this really isn’t a blog post as much as it is a rambling, but I’ll be sure to take pictures of my food–something I’ve done my whole life, yes, even before digital photography–and will be posting them to my Instagram, no doubt.

Merry Christmas everyone, be safe, and remember to enjoy yourself.