Who are the Bryant Brothers?
We continue the “Who are the Bryant Brothers” series with Dan. In Mason, we explored the childhood influence of my brother, Eddie, and in Jack, the adult.
Dan might seem the most obvious as he’s the oldest, like my brother. But he mirrors Eddie in other ways, such as his willingness to help, even when lost.
“For how can Dan help Clara when he’s wrecked himself?”
~ The Cake Maker’s Dog summary.
Dan put his own issues aside for the sake of a stranger, and Eddie never hesitated to do the same.
Dan and Eddie are also similar in their need to flee when things get impossibly hard.
Our childhood was atypical, with illness and death being the norm. The significant loss was an annual event, and stability was hard to attain.
My brother’s first best friend was our mother’s brother, Uncle Ed. They shared a sophomoric sense of humor and had spent many weekends fishing, exploring nature, and always laughing. They understood each other, and in Uncle Ed, my brother found an anchor in a maelstrom.
Uncle Ed died at thirty-two years old after punching the time clock at work one autumn morning. The phone call shifted our family’s reality into something unrecognizable.
His tragic passing made life intolerable - for Eddie in particular. As with Dan, who took off after everything transpired with Mason, my brother ran. First, to a house filled with six males his age and their single mom. No matter the turmoil Eddie faced, he found welcome through their open door and open heart home. Eddie’s loyalty to the family never waned, and their love and support lasted his whole life.
Within this brotherhood, Eddie found the fraternal bond he’d longed for.
Within this brotherhood, Eddie found the fraternal bond he’d longed for. And as a witness to the experience, I’m sure it planted seeds for the storylines found in the Bryant Brothers series.
Where Dan found solace in establishing a business serving animals, Eddie discovered his next bastion of safety in the United States military, beginning with the National Guard. The structure and stability gave him a foundation on which to stand and skills that could be used anywhere. It was such a great fit that he enlisted in the Army and, eventually, defended our country in Desert Storm. A brass marker lies at the foot of his grave to honor his service.
A brass marker lies at the foot of my brother's grave to honor his service in Desert Storm.
Once Eddie returned to civilian life, he worked in accounting, married, and started a family. He and his wife had two boys, and in this way, my brother’s life came full circle.
As I mentioned in the “Meet Mason” installment, Eddie was my childhood hero. That never changed; it only grew stronger after he died. If I told him he had the biggest heart, he’d say, “I don’t care.” He’d call me a loser if I told him he was a great man. (He wouldn’t mean it, but getting a laugh trumped everything.) If I shared how his life and death taught me to accept loss as part of experiencing form and being adrift in uncertainty, he’d respond, “Impossible. I was lost all the time.”