The blur of grief: in memory of Brian Bard

The blur of grief: in memory of Brian Bard
Brian with his son Cypress.

Brian Bard died from pancreatic cancer on February 7, 2017. His loss is profound for his wife and three children, ages 6 to 16. No matter what your beliefs, loss leaves a yawning gap in our present lives.

I didn’t know Brian personally, but I feel like I met him through his wife, Jennifer Bannan. Jennifer read one of my blog posts and reached out to me with information about a newly developed diagnostic tool for bladder cancer. She was passionate about this product, made by the company she works for, because her experiences with her husband’s cancer made her keenly aware of the importance of early diagnosis.

After exchanging emails with her several times, I asked if she would tell Brian’s story in a blog post, and she did here.

Sometimes living in the cancer community feels like sitting in a waiting room. You look around and wonder who’s going to be called next. Living in this community isn’t easy. Sometimes you’re caught between survivor’s guilt and grief exhaustion.

My choice, however, is to still live inside the community and to stay in close touch, to reach out and risk the grief that loss brings. I choose this because my cancer community reached out to me. My support group was the bridge that carried me over. Their encouragement and involvement in my life changed me forever.

We lose so many people, and sometimes the grief feels like a blur. But these people who have died are not a blur. They are specific, well-defined, and unique.

I didn’t know Brian Bard, but from his wife and his obituary I’ve learned that he spoke Spanish and German and that he read Greek. He loved philosophy and travel. He was an athlete who loved the outdoors.

He taught himself to become a software engineer and developed “leading-edge software for Four Rivers Software Services, Inc.”

Jennifer described him as “a listener, challenger, anti-establisher, and searcher.” I know from these words that I would have liked him. Between being a reader of Greek and a person who challenged the world around him, Brian sounds like just the sort of person I would have loved to talk with.

Almost half of Brian’s obituary is a list of the family he has left behind. So many people will stand in testimony to the importance of his life, to his impact on them and on his world.

Brian Bard died from pancreatic cancer on February 7th. He was 48.

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Filed under: Cancer, Grief, Uncategorized

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