"I've got him."

| | Comments (26)

We pinkie swore many years ago that whomever passed first would “come back” and let the other know all is well. Just a nudge, a wink, or even a whisper. It was something we mentioned several times, mainly in jest. Although I am a logical, somewhat skeptical person (OK, more than somewhat skeptical), I have expected to see, hear or feel Bryce’s presence. So far...nothing. If I didn’t feel so numb, I’d feel abandoned. I understand I’m asking for miracles, but some people get them, don’t they? I have been with Bryce almost every day for nearly six years, and it just feels wrong that he isn’t with me. Perhaps this is a stage in my own grief I must endure, and it too will pass.

Grief is totally unpredictable. One moment is fine, although I’m aware of Bryce’s absence. Out of the blue, a tidal wave of loneliness, sadness and despair washes over me, fills me, drowns me. I can’t fathom this new reality. At least it’s a feeling, though. Feelings are always better than the black hole that sucks every emotion away, leaving me empty and listless—a human shell. Keeping these feelings at bay has become a full time job. If my body is moving and my mind is occupied, there isn’t much room for sorrow. When I slow down, the wave threatens to overtake me again. How long can I outrun it? Family and friends have pulled me out of the murky depths by taking me out, visiting, and otherwise distracting me. My best friend flew out from Connecticut for a few days, which was a welcome reprieve. It was nice to feel alive, albeit briefly. We kept fairly busy, but in those still, dark moments, the sorrow found me. I cannot hide from it.

As I go through all these emotions, one thing buoys my spirit. I KNOW there is something more. I cannot deny it, because Bryce let me know. It is a moment I have told few people about, yet I alluded to it in a previous post. I felt him go. I wasn’t looking for it, waiting for it, or expecting it. After he drew his last breath, we all watched him. We knew. I reached down and removed his breathing mask. I turned around to look at my dad, when suddenly my body was overcome by a sensation I find hard to describe. It was like a low voltage zap that lasted four or five seconds. I couldn’t breathe, see straight or stand upright. I was lifted, warmed, enveloped—it was euphoric. I remember saying, “I’ve got him.” I did. As quickly as it came over me, it left. It was his gift to me; a gift I cannot deny nor logic away. It was the most horrible and wonderful thing to ever have happened. I would give anything to feel that again. Perhaps I should have kept this moment locked in my most sacred vault, but my hope is sharing this moment will bring somebody peace.

Such conflicting emotions. Is he with me, or am I alone? Would I experience that same overwhelming feeling if he were here, or must I rely on hope and faith? The ever-present battle between my mind and my heart continues. I hope my heart wins. It’s the happier ending.

26 Comments So Far!

On Thursday, November 22, 2007 at 2:47 AM
Mikey said:

Tammy, He IS there with you. Sometimes when you expected to feel somet8ing and try to feel it, that is when you can't. Over time as you are patient, he will fulfill that pinky swear promise and you will know he is there. What a comfort it is to know that he is not gone forever, just changed in his physical form. His spirit, personality and everyting about him that you love still lives on, and I promise you that he is there. He loves you! More than you can imagine. It doesn't make the pain of his physical death any easier for you, but I pray that you may find the peace that you strive for. It is healthy to mourn and to feel the sorrow. I would be worried if you didn't. You will however overcome that sorrow. And in time, when you think of him, it won't be with sorrow but with fondness and love. Our Heavenly Father gives the ability to feel all these emotions for a reason. Not to sound like everybody else, but I encourage you to turn to the Lord. He knows exactly how you feel. He overcame it all and with his help you can too. This will make you a stronger person and down the road you will find yourself bouying somebody else up in a similar situation. I know it is hard this time of year. My Sister passed away December 22nd, 1998 from Breast Cancer and I think of her a lot this time of year. Maybe that is the reason that my dear sweet Baby Annika wouldn't come out when she was due and was born on December 22nd. Remeber without the rain in our lives, the flowers could not bloom. We continually pray for you and Dani. Bryce is in good hands, besides the Lord, he has my Mom and Sister with him. They will take care of him. Not to preach, bu tmay I recomend you go to the Temple as often as you can. Do whatever it takes to get there. He is with you Tammy! Trust me! May the Lord grant you the peace that you deserve and bless you continually, is my prayer.

If there is anyting I can do for you, let me know.


On Thursday, November 22, 2007 at 5:53 AM
Rachel said:


I posted once before when my husband was in the hospital recovering from surgery. I am a friend of Brendan and Julie's. My husband Gerald lost his battle with melanoma approximately 2 1/2 weeks ago. I understand exactly how you are feeling. We have two boys, 13 and 9. They are much older than your little girl and they have both been very courageous over the last couple of weeks just like their Dad.

Please know that I check your site regularly and have been praying for you and your family since I visited back in October.

On Thursday, November 22, 2007 at 7:37 AM
Tara said:

You've got him...He is with you and will continue to be with you for the rest of your days. I believe that more than ever. It is funny how it takes something as awful as melanoma to realize that and to believe.
I think of you often and continue to pray for you to be blessed with peace.
May you find blessing amongst your family and friends this Thanksgiving season. I know without doubt you're thankful for your time with Bryce, albeit to short.


On Thursday, November 22, 2007 at 8:24 AM
Gerry Roberts said:

Tammy, this must be so hard for you. I can only imagine the loneliness that you must feel. Just remember, we all love you. Your Heavenly Father loves you and when you think you can't bear it any more, He will bear it for you. He will lift you up and keep you strong. That is something that I have felt in my life. I just have to remember to let him do it. You are so special to share this with us. We still keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Enjoy this day with lots of family around you. They all love you. Take all the hugs you can get. They are sincere. I wish I could be there too. Let Valerie give you a hug for me. I miss her too. Love always, Gerry

On Thursday, November 22, 2007 at 9:52 AM
Wendy said:

You don't know me, but like so many others, I've been following your story here. I'm so sorry about Bryce. I'm humbled by your love story and your courage. My wish for you is peace, even though I know it may be a long time in coming.

Fourteen years ago, I delivered a tiny little premature baby girl. She died after just two hours. Grief became my partner, my constant companion - so I understand somewhat the feelings that you are having. I had a wise Stake President counsel me to allow myself the quiet moments. I protested - when I slowed down, didn't stay busy, that's when I sobbed, felt out of control in my grief. He simply said to allow my self the quiet - early, before my husband got up, before the sun rose, before the "world" started - because in those quiet moments was when I would eventually find my comfort. The Spirit could attend, testify, and always, always, I would try to "feel" my daughter. Yes, the tears and "literal" wailing were there, but when those would subside, I was never alone - the comfort would come.

And on a side note, and certainly not to be disrespectful to anyone else, my Mother-in-law for years,constantly claimed to be visited by or talked to by my daughter. Oh BS!!! That was not happening - no way, no how. Please know that my tone is light and I'm laughing at my MIL - if Cassidy would be visiting anyone...it was going to be me!!

Take care, Tammy. I'm thinking of you and praying that you can have peace and quiet moments. Give them to yourself. I'm thankful today for my heart that has experienced loss - I love all the more because of it. I'm also thankful for "knowing" you and Bryce in this small way. You are beautiful. You are loved.
Take care,

On Thursday, November 22, 2007 at 10:30 AM
Katie said:


You WILL have a happy ending. You have so many people that love and care for you, including Bryce. Have no doubt that he will be watching over you in those moments you feel most alone. I believe the spirit still experiences emotions on the other side of the veil. When you ache, I believe he aches. When you laugh, I believe he laughs, and it warms his huge heart to know you are laughing, or even smiling. I hope you will have such an awesome holiday this year. Surround yourself with many people who love you, but try to find the sweetness in the quiet moments as well. It will still hurt, but eventually the sting will become dull. We still pray for you, and think of you often, especially today. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and God bless you much in your hard times! Remember, You've got Bryce FOREVER!!!!!

On Thursday, November 22, 2007 at 1:57 PM
Barbara Stevens said:

Hey Tammy,

Happy Thanksgiving...I know its tough...8 years ago I buried my brother from a sudden aneurism. We had Thanksgiving dinner and the buriel was a couple days later. I remember there being a lot more leftovers that year.

I know Bryce is with you and Dani. He won't leave you. He believes in you and loves you forever.

There is no way to bypass grief, unfortunately. It comes when it comes, unexpected and raw.... No matter how much in control we try to be, it gets the best of us in those unexpected moments. Even when the grief softens, it is still there; just different. Nobody can replace that one person in your life and the reunion in the life to come will be so very special.

My hope is that when grief comes, loving family and friends will be around you to bouy you up.

You have a legion of people thinking about you today, family, friends, and strangers who visit this site.

I love you,

On Thursday, November 22, 2007 at 2:59 PM
Suzan said:

Bryce is with you everyday in all the things around you. I am thinking of you and wishing you joy on this Thanksgiving. Try to remember the good things and that he is with you today and everyday.

On Thursday, November 22, 2007 at 7:42 PM
Anonymous said:

Dear, Dear Tammy, You do not know me, but I knew of Bryce in High School and have followed your story for several weeks. Today's post really tugged at my heart and I felt I had to comment. You are so brave, so strong and so eloquent in your words. I know I can speak for many when I say we are touched and inspired by your story. I cannot begin to imagine your pain and emptiness, though you know you have Bryce FOREVER one day, the pain is still so real now. Please know you have so many people thinking and praying for you. You can get through this and you will. Thank you for helping me to appreciate what is important in life and try to ignore the things that don't matter. May the Lord bless you.

On Friday, November 23, 2007 at 9:20 AM
Nathan Sellers said:

I am so thankful to have you as my cousin. You were always someone I felt that cared about me. Though I was younger, you always would talk to me like what I said mattered. I appreciate that. I want you to know you are loved. I'm sure you are abundantly aware of that. However, imagine how difficult the loneliness and sorrow would be if you weren't. You have so many arms around you right now, it may be hard to pick out which ones are Bryce's. He is there, supporting and loving you still. He is also very busy being the loving man he always was. Time will heal the pain of having him gone. I'm sure four weeks has seemed like an eternity, but it is nothing compared to the time you will have with him again some day.
I love you.


On Friday, November 23, 2007 at 2:27 PM
Melanie said:

Sweet Tams,
Yesterday, one of the things I was greatful for was the great gift it has been to know Bryce. I would have been the much poorer these past 5 years had you not brought him into my life to share.

The nights must be the hardest. You must miss that big cuddly teddy bear keeping you warm. I hope you have finally been able to get some sleep,though. Wish I could be there to snuggle up with you and perhaps ease the pain in a miniscule way.

Don't let yourself forget how much your husband loves and cherishes you. You two have something special that will last through the eternities. It sure seems like a H--- of a long time from now,though,doesn't it!!

Have you gone back to work yet? Is the carpet in and the house back to 'normal'.
How is our darling Dani? I'm sure there are times she doesn't get it either. Or maybe she is still closer to the other side and feels her father all the time!?

I sure miss the two of you. We would love to have you come visit sometime and fill our home with your spirit. You are truly a remarkable woman, Tammy, and have influenced so many for good. What a great legacy you and Bryce have left. Your lives have been purposful and I believe you will be blessed.

Holidays can be so bittersweet as you already know. Give yourself permission to feel everything, sweet and bitter, and try not to feel guilty for tasting the sweet.
I'm so very sure that Bryce will be holding the mistletoe high and sending all your way to give you kisses and hugs.

I love you, Tams, and pray God's sweetest blessings to be poured down upon you and His loving arms to be wrapped around you and Dani. May you always know of my love for you. Take good care.

Aunt Melanie

On Friday, November 23, 2007 at 8:06 PM
ashlan said:

I came across this putting up CHRISTMAS decorations today. (I know you are thinking what kind of crazy person puts Christmas up the day after Thanksginig, well one with a 4 year old that won't stop asking;)

My First Christmas In Heavan:

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below.
With tiny lights, like heaven's stars, reflecting in the snow.
The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away that tear.
For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear,
but the sound of Christmas music can't compare to the choir up here.
I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring.
For it is beyond description to hear the angles sing.

I know how much you miss me, I see the pain in your heart,
but I am not so far away, We really aren't apart.
So be happy for me my dear ones, you know I hold you dear,
and be glad I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I send you each a special gift from my heavenly home above,
I send you each a memory of my undying love.
After all "LOVE" is the gift, more precious than gold.
Iw was always most important in the stories Jesus told.

Please love and keep eachother, as my Father said to do.
For I can't count the blessings or love he has for you.
So have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear.
Remember, I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.


On Friday, November 23, 2007 at 11:43 PM
Jenni Halley said:

Oh how I can feel your pain. I lost my mom suddenly about 18 mo. ago, and I have battled a terrible feeling of abandonment, even though I know she didn't want to go and she wants to be here to help me with Brian. I have tried to talk to her, to feel her...nothing. I thought I might be crazy because I had heard of others who felt their loved one's presence, not me. This terrifies me where Brian is concerned, that he will just be gone. I am happy to hear that you had that feeling at the moment of his death, almost as if he made one last move to fill you with his love. Don't underestimate the bond you have, and know that he will always live in your heart. I know Bryce would be so proud of you being a part of his brother's wedding, regardless of how difficult it was. I am headed to a wedding tomorrow of some good friends at the church where Brian and I were married just 5 years ago this Jan. 3rd, and I am just hoping to survive it. I will think of you and your strength, and I am also going to cry if I feel like it...it seems like just yesterday that it was us getting things ready to start our lives together, and it is all just being ripped apart.

I want you to know that I have not stopped praying for you and thinking of you. Let everyone wrap their arms around you and shelter you, and also take time to grieve.

Seeing warm wishes your way,
Jenni and Brian (stage IV melanoma)

On Saturday, November 24, 2007 at 7:57 AM
Roni said:

I just want you to know that there is not a day that passes that I do not think of you all. My bracelet reminds me everytime I touch or look at it. When I was in New York running it helped me get through. I wish I could do something for you. For right now I just want you to know I love you and he is there.


On Saturday, November 24, 2007 at 12:21 PM
Barbara Stevens said:

Hey Tammy,

Just wanted you to know I gave blood this morning. The next time it will be platelets. I put Bryce's name down on the comment card as to why I came in. Thank you Bryce for saving a few lives today... I know I wouldn't have been there today if it hadn't been for you... thanks for helping me think of others on a more conscious level.

The blood work went fast. In 4 1/2 minutes I was done. The more water a person drinks on a regular basis helps the blood flow faster. They tell people who don't drink a lot of water to do it at least 4 days in advance and it really helps. There was a screen dividing me from a few patients so I don't know who they were. But, there were about 6 of us there at 8:00 this morning. I don't know if they knew Bryce or not.

I heard the workers talking and nobody at all donated platelets yesterday probably due to the holiday. That can get scary when people need them everyday. I just think most people don't know much about platelet donation.

From what I saw, those who were giving platelets were very comfortable (I didn't hear a moan, scream, or anything other than laughter..) And after the blood was flowing, they brought a tv screen in front of them to choose a movie.

Afterwards, there were all kinds of juices and treats (even licorice!). I had water and roasted almonds...mmmmmm...

They give directions on their site, but I just got off the 4th south exit for downtown SL and headed toward the U. It veered to the right and I was automatically on foothill blvd. I passed wasatch blvd. and took a left on wakara way and then went into research park. I took a right on chipeta way and there I was! It was real easy to find the ARUP blood donor lab. They even have special parking for donors right next to the building as a bonus!

I hope my donation helps a few families who are hanging on to any hope for their loved one's survival or better quality of life. I hope it helps you, Tammy, to know that in all our different ways, we will pay forward what you have given to us.


On Sunday, November 25, 2007 at 1:23 PM
Shana said:

I just want to say how touched I have been from reading your blog. I actually wrote about you and your family in my blog about a month ago. My cousin was reading my blog and told me that you are in her ward. Abbi & Chad C. She told me how strong you have been. I can not even fathem going through what you have been through and watching your family picture slide show just made me cry and cry. I want you to know that SO many people care for you that do not even know you. So many people think about you, so many people hurt for you, so many people hope the best for you and your little girl. I am so touched by how strong you are! You amaze me. I don't know where I am going with this comment. I have been so touched and just wanted to let you know. There is really nothing I can say to make you feel better. But Bryce is with you! He is closer than you imagine. And he LOVES you. I hope you don't mind me reading your blog. If you want to know who I am, you can e-mail me and I will "invite" you to read my blog. :)

On Sunday, November 25, 2007 at 5:12 PM
Holly said:

I can't believe it's been a month. It seems like he was here only yesterday, but at the same time it feels like he's been gone for so long. I feel so much emptiness and sadness, so I can't even begin to imagine the emptiness and sadness that you're feeling.

I know that Bryce is still with you always, and the only way I can make sense of you not feeling him is that he's also somewhere else working on his progression. When he left his body, his entire spirit was still here and went through you in some way. I'm so glad he touched you in that way as he left, to let you know that he was not gone and that he loved you so much. Even though his whole spirit is not with you now like it was when he began his journey, I know that he is watching over you and Dani as a guardian angel, and I'm sure he wants so much to give you that feeling again. I can only hope that at some point he will be able to give you some kind of manifestation that he's still around.

I agree with Wendy, too: if he's gonna "visit" anybody, it's gonna be you. Please don't give up hope for that, but also don't think that just because you don't physically feel his presence that he's not there in some way. B-Town always keeps his pinky swears.

Please let the rest of us comfort you in the meantime, since we are here physically. You know that I'm here for whatever you need in the world. I love you and Dani so much, and I always be here for both of you.


On Monday, November 26, 2007 at 2:11 PM
Brittani Martin said:


Everyone has different experiences when a loved one passes. Perhaps Bryce simply wants to surprise you. When you least expect it, you may receive that glorious wave of warmth again. Please know that we are all trying to send you our own wave of warmth. Our families are eternal, and he is preparing for you. Bryce will always be with you. As will the Lord. Allow him to take your sorrow upon him, and he will. He will get you through this. You are in our prayers!


On Monday, November 26, 2007 at 4:44 PM
Gaylynn said:

When my grandfather died, I was the only one in the room when he passed away. I felt the feeling that there were many people in the room I was in my early 20's and felt more uncomfortable than at peace. After I digested what had happened I realized the family that must have been there to take him home and I had felt there presence. When I went to the temple for the first time about 10 years ago I felt that same presence and again didn't really under stand it. But when I continued to go I alway's seemed to have very familiar names around me, that of my grandmothers. So it may not be the same feeling you felt, but it may be you turning your head at just the right time to see Bryces favorite car or when Dani smiles at you and you see her Dad's smile or actions. Don't ever discount little familiar things because sometimes you just don't see or smell or overhear something that was ment just for you. Take good care of yourself and Dani and you are still in all of our prayers.

On Monday, November 26, 2007 at 11:06 PM
Jenny said:

Hi Tammy- It was so good to see your cute face on Sunday. Your story is so touching and amazing. I know Bryce is with you always. It is to bad they can't come back just for a few seconds and let us know they are just fine. I think we are lucky to even get those few seconds of what you experienced. I think you have an amazing way of expressing your feelings. I love to read your blog and I think writing is something you could do for a living.
Keep your head up high and kiss those pinchy cheeks of Dani's. We love,love you and think and pray for you. Jenny

On Tuesday, November 27, 2007 at 7:56 PM
Judy C. said:

Your post made me think about when my parents both died (8 months apart) when
I was in my 30's. Their marriage had
never seemed like a great one from what
I could understand. So, when they were
gone, I often wondered if they really loved
each other. (They had been married 60 years.) A couple of years after they died, I had a dream one night. In the dream,
I was walking down the street where I grew up, knowing that when I reached the house my father wouldn't be there because he was dead. I could hear my mother calling me to "Hurry, he's here!" As I reached the back door, he was standing there with his arms out-stretched. As we hugged, I knew it was him. (I think we had identify people by their hugs, don't you?) My
father didn't say a word but walked over to his garden (He was a great gardener.)
He knelt down and showed me what he had planted. It was flowers...for my mother!
He never grew flowers, only vegetables.
The dream suddenly ended. But, I knew that the dream had come into my mind to tell me that "Yes...indeed they loved each other!"
Your comfort will eventually come, Tammy.
I cannot comprehend the depth of what you are feeling now. I believe that Bryce is aware and will want to see you pass through these moments. Peace will return to your life again and you will be the shining star in your daughter's life. Take care and know that love can last forever.
From Judy, your mother's high school friend.

On Tuesday, November 27, 2007 at 10:22 PM
Maegan said:

We love you. You are amazing. Bryce will be with you even if you don't know it. My very verbal daughter at age 2 would on occasion tell me of the dreams she would have- dreams of angels. She would describe in amazing detail what they were wearing, what rooms they walked in the house, and that she saw them go back up into heaven. At first it freaked me out, but now I love thinking about my deceased loved ones looking in on us, and sending their guiding influence to be in my house. Out of the mouths of babes...

On Tuesday, November 27, 2007 at 10:27 PM
Brenda O. said:

Hi Tammy,
I hope you had a good Thanksgiving and were surrounded by your awesome family. You have such a great support group. We have been out of town and got in tonight. After sorting the clothes I ran down to check your blog. We think about you all the time. You have a great talent in writing and I'm always waiting to read more. Thank you for sharing your most sacred moments with us. You are blessed to have felt that so soon after. Sometimes people don't feel anthing for years. I'm so glad you had that witness and can rely on that feeling when you are trying to just get through the day.
I still have a baby gift for Dani! Long time overdue. It better still fit. I need to drop in soon.

On Tuesday, November 27, 2007 at 10:28 PM
Sherri said:

I haven't met you in person but also wish to send my voice as one of encouragement. Thank you for sharing your personal experience. In marriage we become as one, and you and Bryce are now one in a different sense, and he let you know that as he passed. You are so blessed to have such a thoughtful husband. =) You may not see his pinkie promises right now due to the grief and numbness shield, or maybe you are looking too hard, but I can almost promise they are there. Right in Dani's smile, in a song on the radio, in a random person at the grocery store. But hey, listen to all this advice, and those that others have given you; they are all just people who aren't in your shoes, but want you to know we're rooting for team brown.

On Wednesday, November 28, 2007 at 9:14 AM
Jen said:

I hate to say this, but I've been waiting 13 years for my Dad to get back to me about 'the other side.' I haven't heard a word. I used to say the same thing to him from the moment I could first reason. Hey Dad, let me know if you are still around. Send me some kind of sign. Promise me. And he did. I couldn't stand the thought of being without him. Knock over a picture, whatever. He swore he would. If anyone could, he would. We were so close. Sometimes I can hear him or what he would have said about something. Or, I think to myself, what would Dad have done in this case....and then I do it. But that's as close as I've come.

You are young. Other things will come to fill in the void (you have your little girl). You have to stop dwelling for this to happen though. Nothing ever filled my void. And this is bad.

It helps if you have religious convictions. I don't have this so it's bleak.

What you have been through was singularly traumatic. Give it time.

On Wednesday, December 12, 2007 at 6:22 PM
Laurie Burningham said:

Tammy, I've thought about you and Dani often, I hope that ou are doing as well as is possible. We missed you at thanksgiving but totally understand, maybe at christmas. I completely get what your feelings are about wanting to see or feel Bryce. Let me just tell you I had the same experience with my dad as he passed, it is something I too can not deny. I know what I felt was his spirit leaving his body, what a blessing. I too have wanted many times to have another experience, but for some reason have not. I don't believe there is any one reason that I haven't but I must say the experience that I did have is not had by all. I would not trade that experience for anything, it gave me a complete understanding that there is life after death. That testimony will be with me forever, I know my dad will be there waiting for me when I pass away someday, what a comfort and a blessing to know that. I believe Bryce gave you what you needed at the time, and in my mind there can be no greater gift. I firmly believe Bryce IS with you often and that you will have experiences down the road as you need them. Heavenly Father will bless you and knows your needs. I know you miss him so much and have these wants now, but when they do happen you will know why. I can only imagine the loneliness of the holidays, just know your family loves and thinks of you often. You are an amazing women, your love for Bryce has always been so evident, he too misses and longs for you as well I'm sure. Just please remember you are loved and to stay close to your Heavenly Father, I know at times things just simply seem unfair but we all must endure. (And Dani is counting on you to make sure that you both are worthy to be with Bryce again) I too missed seeing Big Bryce at thanksgiving, he was just always there, You always knew that Bryce loved his family and we loved him too. Take care and reach out, I would do anything that you need. With tons of love, Laurie.

Leave a comment