Wow! It’s Been Two Years! / (Farewell Old Friend)

I can’t believe it! With all that’s been going on in recent weeks I completely forgot that Thursday, December 6  was the second anniversary of “A Day in the Life and Other Assorted BS.” Two years, where does the time go? When I began my blog I had no idea it would still be going strong. But you know what they say, “Time flies when you’re having fun!”

The purpose of starting the blog was twofold. First, I thought that the act of writing my blog nearly everyday  would help me keep the memory of my departed friend Brian Muldrow alive, and it has. When I sit down to write I think of Brian and often ask myself what he would have thought about what I’m writing about and sometimes incorporate it into my writing. I believe if Brian were still alive he and I would have had a blast doing a blog together.

The second reason for starting the blog was to help me be a more disciplined writer. “A Day in the Life” is by far the most consistent writing I’ve ever done. I’ve always enjoyed writing but before “A day in the Life” my writing was sporadic. I’d work hard at times and  on a few occasions actually write everyday for several months! But those were mostly ‘day’ journals. usually the best I could do was to string a few weeks together and mostly I wouldn’t write for long periods.  I had hopes that “ADITL” would help me break those bad habits and it has. I only hope I can keep at it. I’m really enjoying the experience.

In honor of my one year anniversary I have chosen to reprint a piece I wrote about my buddy Brian called “Farewell Old Friend.” Since my website is dedicated to his memory I thought it would be fitting. If you haven’t had a chance to read it before, it will give you some insight into Brian’s life and the demons he battled.  My thanks to all of you who supporting and enjoy reading  “A Day in the Life” I hope I’ve been able to make you laugh a little, think a lot and open your eyes to some of life’s real moments. It is truly been my pleasure…

JS

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“Farewell Old Friend”

An old friend contacted me recently inquiring about the life and death of our buddy Brian Muldrow for whom this site is dedicated. He had just learned of Brian’s passing. This, in part, is what I shared with him.

In a nutshell, Brian’s life was a battle. For most of his life he fought the demons of his alcoholism and for over twenty of those years he managed to win the battle of everyday. Through those years of sobriety he was a diligent, hard-working individual, He married a woman he had met in rehab and despite the countless warnings and advise against two addicts marrying, he went on to prove the nay sayers wrong. They remained married until the end and raised two wonderful children. When his wife was diagnosed with a chronic painful condition that limited her activities, Brian stepped in and not only helped care for her, but took over many of the parental duties outside the home.
There were many of his friends, myself included, who worried that the added pressure he was  dealing with would push him over the edge and back to the bottle, but Brian persevered and did a remarkable job.  His worse vice was smoking which, despite many attempts, he was never able to quit.
Through the years it wasn’t uncommon to see Brian with his young children, around downtown Glendora, at the market or other locations. When  they were older he often took them to work at the college on Friday or Saturday evenings when he was on duty for high school football games. I had the good fortune of often seeing him there with the kids, as our high school uses Citrus as our home field. He loved to talk about his kids and always appeared content. All appeared to be going well, other than his arthritis, Then his mother died.
Things started to turn when Brian discovered his mom dead in her home during the Christmas holidays 2005. She’d been dead for a couple of days, it really shook him up.  When I saw him he told me he was okay but I knew that wasn’t true. He looked shell shocked. A few weeks later  he told me that his mom had left him the house and he really wanted to live there with his family. He was so excited. He’d been renting forever and at long last they could have a place of their own.
Sadly things didn’t turn out as he would have liked. His wife didn’t want to leave their rented home in Glendora. She didn’t want to live in Azusa. This was a bitter point of contention, that led to their separation. He continued to pay the rent on the Glendora house and being there for his children, but Brian moved to his new home alone.
A year later, near the anniversary of his mom’s passing, Brian lost it big time. After over twenty years of sobriety, he went on a three day drinking binge that ended with him trying to asphyxiate himself  by locking himself in the garage and starting up his mom’s car. If his brother hadn’t come by and found him, he might have succeeded.  He was rushed to the hospital put on a 72 hour suicide watch then committed to Aurora Charter Oak  Recovery Center for a few months. While there he met a patient named John. They hit it off right away and became friends. John needed a place to stay so Brian told him that when he was released he could stay at his house.
Brian was finally released and returned home. A few weeks later John moved in.  There was some worry at the time that John was scamming Brian and would rip him off, but those fears proved to be unfounded. Any help, John received from Brian monetary or otherwise, was given freely by Brian with no reservation or expectations. He always had a big heart.
Things went well for several months. Brian enjoyed having John around. But in August 06 Brian had a major set back. While in Las Vegas with his wife and two kids he found some of his wife’s pain medication and over medicated causing quite a scene at the Mirage Hotel where they were staying. Security had to lock down one  entire floor because of his wild antics. He was hospitalized and remained there for a little more than a week. John called to let me know what was going on and kept me posted on the situation the entire time. Upon Brian’s release John drove to Vegas to pick him up and bring him home. In time he proved to be a valuable friend.
A few months later Brian was forced to retire from  Citrus College where he’d worked as a groundsman for over 20 years. His chronic arthritis no longer allowed him to do the job. For nearly a year he seemed to be doing okay. John was good company and kept a close eye on him. Then, like clockwork just before his birthday in late August 07 he had another melt down, overdosed and was hospitalized again. Tim Ryan, Raylene and I went to see him and he seemed to be doing  okay and was released a few days later.
He was fine for few more months but then he did it again, overdose. He was taken to the emergency room. where he lapsed into a coma and was in ICU for weeks. Eventually he was moved to another facility. A month or so later he came out of the coma but remained hospitalized until March of 2008.
Over the next eight month things appeared to be going well, but he was very depressed. He even survived the usual depression he suffered nearly every August around his birthday which was quite an accomplishment. Then in mid November 08 he began seeing a new psychologist for his depression. I remember him telling me that he’d walked in, talked with the psychologist for about half an hour and walked out with a prescription for a powerful new anti depressive. A week later Brian was dead. Free of all the pain…
His death was recorded as an accidental overdose of  prescription medications. I don’t remember the name of the new med but I researched it on the internet right after his death. It was powerful stuff, with several known side effects, complete with warnings that initially the drug could increase feelings of depression and that the patient should not be left alone when starting on the drug. Besides the mind meds Brian was also taking  pain meds for his arthritis and others meds as well. The combination proved lethal. He died on Thanksgiving Day 2008.
Brian’s death was very sad, but not unexpected. He’d played with his med dosages several times before and seemed to enjoy pushing the limit. It was like a game to him. I truly believe his death was accidental.  There were too many things Brian enjoyed about living to end it that way.  For Brian, on most days, the good outweighed the bad. I know he would never have intended to leave his kids fatherless. He loved his children and spoke of them often. He would never have done that to them.
No way…
Farewell old friend…
You are missed…
J S
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