Brian’s Column: Reflections on a Noble Soul

Forrest S. Wright (1951-2007)
Seeds for new life and understanding

On May 7, 2017, it will be an unbelievable 10 years since my dear brother Forrest Steven Wright passed away at the tender age of 56. The column below was originally penned and posted shortly following his memorial service, then reposted two years after that. Since losing him then so unexpectedly, I have also had to say good bye to my mother (2/26/13) and to put my to sleep my trusty benevolent feline presence, Tabby (4/20/17). Losing Tabby reminded me, in particular, of Forrest and his Zen appreciation of all creatures great and small. I miss you, bro. Good night sweet boy.

The Original Postings

It seems like yesterday, though it’s been exactly a week since I accompanied my sister-in-law Grace and their children to the funeral home in Rochester, Michigan. Through varying waves of tears, we caringly helped one another move the process forward to yield to my brother Forrest a resting place attended by proper ceremony.

The whole affair turned out in its way as a work of art.  From visitation day, to reminiscences, to the honor-guard rifle salute—Forrest was a Vietnam vet—I can’t conceive of a better release for a finer being. So many friends and loved ones came, thank you so much. Grace, my nephews and nieces, my mother, and sister were all so wonderful.  Here are some parting words that have been put into print: Continue reading

Brian’s Column: Additional Notes on the Running Start

5. More on our family’s preschool setup for bro and me in the Overland Park years
Brian R. Wright

[Link to Episode 4]

Note: These columns are a series, I will make into a volume of my memoirs. You may follow the links at top and bottom of page to go to preceding or succeeding episodes. The series starts here. {If the [Link to Episode <next>] at the  bottom of the column does not show an active hyperlink, then the <next> column has yet to be written.}

This column dedicated to my brother, Forrest Steven Wright (1951-2007), in commem-oration of the 10th  anniversary of his death, May 7. RIP

From the previous episode’s closing, you can see I feel betrayed by my parents, to some extent, but mostly shanghaied by these strange adults who seem to have some unstated power over my parents. They are the ones filing me into this wretched regimented Romper Room setting called kindergarten.

But before proceeding with my personal seminal story of this maiden forced-schooling voyage, here’s a little more info on the family context and setup.

First instead of hitting you over the head with yet another of the cute pictures of my brother and me being bundled up to go to the house of God on Sunday, let me show off my mom on one of those occasions. As most women, she liked to dress and get out of the house once in a while. When else would she get the chance? [In those early years, my parents did not go out much at all, but they did have friends—Jim and Jean Clark, and Bob and Virginia Love—who lived within a few miles and the couples would visit one another’s homes, in sequence, on Friday nights for food, drink, and cards.]

Yes, as early as I can remember we were a churchgoing family. I’m sure it was a joint decision. Dad’s mother came from a large Chicago family, the Elliotts, who had roots harking back to the War for Independence…  I believe the Elliott clan had a staid upper-middle-class Presbyterian preference. Even if Dad had personal misgivings about the church’s teachings or, if on his own, he might have not attended at all, he was not one to take a stand against the social conventions of his significant others. Continue reading

Brian’s Column: Cars and Change, 2016

Often, you have to let go to move on

Lord knows the big problems of the world are not taking a breather—I especially want to send my kudos and support out to Dane Wigington et al on the front — but every once in a while, no matter how committed one is to help save the planet, a man just has to kick back and take care of some PB. In this case, the time had come to make some decisions regarding my means of free noncommercial travel.[1]

Letting Go

Villager_1997The 1997 Mercury Villager had come to the end of the line, and I loved that car—still do. For one thing, it’s a fond remembrance of my dear mother, who had been living in my condo since about 1998. [In 1999, knowing Mom had to replace her Aerostar van, I wandered down to Varsity Lincoln-Mercury in Wixom and saw it in the used car lot; I mentioned to her that I thought it looked good. Next day, I find out she’s gone ahead and bought the doggone thing, no questions asked. Fair enough.]

The Amazing Villager was an impulse purchase that worked out famously. The photo above shows that it still retains a youthful look, after 195,000 miles (160,000 from Mom and me) of yeoman’s duty in the back and forth department: traipsing down to Parris Island with five passengers to pick up my newly minted niece Marine, several crossings of lower Michigan to Battle Creek and back, I drove it to and fro the Free State (New Hampshire) on at least three occasions, and I believe Mom even took it down to Tyler, Texas, to visit friends once or twice. So there you are. A workhorse with a heart of gold. Continue reading

Book Review: Mother’s Stone (2013)

The end times and extraordinary life of Phyllis Joy
by Brian Wright (reviewed by the author)

Mothers_StoneThe idea of this book stems from a series of columns I wrote as a diary of my mother’s ‘end times.’ She was victim to a genetic illness known as polycystic kidney disease (PKD). As a patient she traversed the modern medical bloodletting system, availing herself of the best technology health insurance covers… and survived it in style for three-plus glorious years. Moreover, the universal meaning of her life ‘as a whole’ transcends the short period of her end times and is what I have aimed to capture as a message from the sages: health lessons learned and freedom lessons shared.

I originally speculated that Mother’s Stone might serve as a focal point of national and international (and non-national) discussion on how to achieve ‘better outcomes’ in medicine—at least kidney surrogate technology. I feel the diaries of Part I do a fair job of showing how the system works (and doesn’t work) today. It’s not all bad and we can do a whole lot better. But in “Part II: The Life” I take off the gloves: the restoration/reconstruction of such a marvelous life as my mom’s offers not only inspiration but a healing balm. Continue reading

Brian’s Column: A Latesummer’s Night Dream

Just my own little castle in the sky… or something more?

WDreamhatever the message, this was one of my better nights in the saddle of pleasant visions, with a touch of humor that comes from someplace outside of me. [Not that I don’t have a sense of humor, but this inner motion picture is not any sequence I would have thought up on my own, in a thousand years.] It was the previous Thursday morning (8/7/14) right toward the end of my sleep session, and the dream was so vivid and entertaining, also sad and poignant, I immediately rose to write it down in longhand. It contained so many things I truly care about in this world—and recently departed of this world: golf, Mom, and the dear deceased feline friend of the woman I married. Without further ado, here’s the story… you decide. Continue reading