Brandon’s Gift

By Michael Armijo

As I stood in line last Thursday afternoon, I waited for my son so intently. Each parent I knew, who was waiting for their child to come to the attendance office at high school, I hugged. We didn’t need to explain why; we all just hugged.
When my son came to the office, he grabbed me. He held me like he did when he was 10. His hug told me that he loved me and appreciated me. He looked for comfort from the pain he suffered that day. His hug asked me to love him and reassure him, that he meant so much to us, as parents. He appreciated us just a little bit more and we did the same. Tragedy, right in front of his eyes, opened his perspective just a bit more.  His friend was gone, and he missed him.
Being a positive person, I have no choice but to look for good in whatever life gives me, regardless of the circumstances. Tragedy has once again struck our lives, but somehow I had to look for something good that was left.
When Brandon took his life in front of all his best friends, in the center of campus at the high school he loved, he brought us all so many gifts. He brought us so much light. That day I realized how much I loved my son, and that day so many parents loved their children more than they’ve ever imagined. That fatal day, so many of us really appreciated their weakened children. We appreciated all the things we overlook each day. The homework, the trash, their rooms, their grades, they were all irrelevant. For me, I was just happy I still had a son.
I believe that within all of our actions, regardless of the perception of others, there are gifts embedded within. My gift, from a young boy named Brandon, was to appreciate my son, to do the things that I haven’t been doing. Listen to him a little more. Appreciate him. Look at his bright spots, not his weaknesses. Enjoy his sense of humor, spend time with him alone. Love him as though it was his last day.  Because for Brandon, it was.
So, thank you Brandon, thank you for allowing me to feel my son’s grasp. Thank you for forcing me to look at my son and our relationship. Thank you for allowing me to love, and appreciate, my once little boy. Thank you for allowing other parents to hug one another with deep appreciation and love. Thank you for pushing them to love their kids just a little more. Thank you for bringing all those kids to church, because when asked why they were there on Sunday, they responded: “Because this is Brandon’s church.” The many gifts hidden within your actions have been discovered. They’ve been opened. They’ve been appreciated. We will keep them forever, because we will always, each day, open Brandon’s gift.