This guy, the handsome guy who proclaims Joss Whedon to be his master, my husband, Brady, shot and killed himself almost a month ago.

I can think back to the weeks leading up to his death and hear the hollow tone in his voice. I remember how distant he seemed, not fully his normally playful self. He slept a lot – something I chalked up to the hours commuting since we moved to Arlington and the work he was doing. And then there was the visit to the ER I made him take only two weeks before he died. He complained of chest pain and I was afraid it was a heart attack. It wasn’t and now I’m fairly sure it was an anxiety attack.

All these things make me 99% certain he was depressed and fighting demons on his own. They fed him lies about who loved him (or didn’t) and demeaned his worth. It doesn’t matter how many times I told him I loved him or the ways I showed him – the depression twisted everything and he finally decided he wanted out.

I get it.

Which is why I’m not mad at him. But I am sad – for him and for me. I’m sad because the depression likely told him we were better off without him, that we didn’t love him. I’m sad because he thought that was the best/only way out.

And I’m sad because I have to go to bed alone at night and I can’t ask him how his day went. I’m sad because our youngest beagle keeps curling up on his dirty clothes, breathing in his scent and hoping he’ll come home. I’m sad because the guy I proclaimed “had my back” in a sermon a couple months ago doesn’t anymore.

Yet, in the midst of the sadness, I occasionally find myself traveling through it, recognizing it as the scar of the love I have for Brady. It is the mark left of having said yes to his love for me.

Because Brady is who taught me how to allow myself to be loved.

When we first met, I’d been in relationships, but I’d also been burned, rejected. Deep in my core, I had trouble believing Brady really meant what he said, that he loved me. But the longer he stuck around, the more he showed me he loved me, the more I believed him. The more I believed I was worthy of love.

There is a certain irony to me that the guy who taught me how to believe I was worthy of love died by the very opposite.

I wish he knew before he died how much he was loved. How much the people around him cared about, valued, and respected him. I know because they’ve told me and I am one. Brady had so many people who loved him.

I’m grateful I have people who love me, too. I’ve been humbled and surprised by the sheer number of those who do. People who haven’t let me be alone in my grief. People who have surrounded me with care and yet allowed me space when I need it.


It both rips us wide open and heals us.

I’m intimately familiar with both right now and for that, I’m thankful.

Comments (29)

  • I don’t know you Kate (though after reading your shared message, I feel I do) but I wanted to tell you the rippling effect of the healing aspect of your words will help heal more people than you can ever know. I heard once that”with every gain, there is a loss and with every loss, there is a gain”. The longer I live, the more that makes sense to me. Your words shared are a part of the gain the rest of us inherit at your tremendous loss. What an act of love!

  • I worked with Brady years ago, but was still on his alias for weekly mass emails. Many of us have lost loved ones because of this horrific illness. Brady was a standup guy and nothing can fill the void of his loss. Strength to you and his family.

  • Kate – wow – with tears in my eyes and admiration for your vulnerability and courage, I just humbly say, “thank you” for sharing yourself in this paradoxical journey of the joy and sorrow of love and for the reminder that the little things, those we take for granted with those we love matter!
    Peace be with you…

  • ► “When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”

    My heart goes to you Kate. The answers will never come with certainty

  • Love you dear Kate! I am so sorry you had to experience this. Your perspective is so clearly driven by your knowledge that ultimately you are a child of God. Depression is so devistating and I hope that as you continue to share Brady’s story and yours that it reaches at least just one person and can help them realize there is light and life in the midst of the darkness.

  • Isn’t it amazing one emotion can cut deeply both ways?
    I hope you recognize you are worthy of love. You are loved by many and cherished by us all.

  • Kate, I’m so sorry. Sweet friends in our small group prayed for you the night I got your dad’s email. Sending you love and blessings from Oklahoma.

  • I can’t even begin to understand the torment that Brady was in. I can only recognize and have grace for the fact that ONLY sheer desperation and torment would take him from you and others he loved. To me, he ended the agony of the relentless torment the only sure way he knew. I’m sad that some of us feel so tortured. It IS heart-breaking. I’m also so proud of your strength and bravery in being so open about his and your journeys. Both of you are loved, deeply. And both of you will continue to be loved and lifted up into eternity. I’m planning a DCA layover soon so I can take you to dinner. Until then, know you have my continual love and admiration.

  • My dear Katie, they were panic attacks. And without knowing him, I am 100% sure he was depressed…..or possibly manic/depressive. AND, yes….those internal voices are lies; all of them. Good for you to recognize that!
    You’ve suffered/ are suffering/ will suffer repeatedly (as grieving continues) the unfathomable loss of a beloved husband, And yes; I do believe you ‘get it’. So do I.
    Brady showed you love in the way God shows us love, because God IS love.
    So, while you miss him and wish you could ask him how he slept or how is day went or feel alone, know that you are not alone my sister. Many of us are with you.
    Some understand in part; actually most say they understand but who can?
    I do. I miss my 20 yo daughter who daughter who’s now been dead longer than she was alive.
    Others understand. Believe me. You, dear one, are not alone. Never. God has wrapped you in God’s arms, holding you lovingly as Mary held her loving Jesus after the crucifixion (depicted in the Pieta by Michelangelo).
    Blessings upon blessings to you as you continue on the way. You are and will always be a beloved child of God, and the Brady who taught you to love is the same Dawn who taught me to love and continues to teach me to love. And I am forever grateful for her teachings.
    It’s been a long time for me, but not for you. Happy to ‘listen’ if you’d like.
    The Rev. Jeanne Befano

  • Well, Kate, I have been thinking about you, and Brady, and the loss of Brady a lot. I have wondered how you are doing because you present yourself well on Facebook. Sometimes it is hard to read the grief, but I know it is there. I have also wondered about Brady. I only knew him thru you, and only on Facebook. I had bits and pieces of his life. My sense was that he was a West Virginia University grad? Maybe native West Virginian, and I was impressed that he had done some intelligence work in the Army, again bits and pieces of information about him. I probably should have friended him, and I’m sorry I didn’t. Also, he was a photographer. Here is this person with a pretty significant background, smart and discerning, observant and experienced and something fell through for him. I just wonder about it a lot. I continue to wonder, and worry about you. I hope you will move ahead, as they say, and eventually come to terms with this loss in some fashion that allows you to live fully, again. Grief and loss takes a long time to process. Anytime you would like to talk, I am available. Send me an email [email protected]. I would be glad to set up a time to just talk without any particular agenda, other than to give you another outlet, a place to express your concerns. All the Best. Skip

  • He know, Kate, he knows! I am so sad that he was in a state of not understanding. Keep sharing your feelings, both for yourself and for all of us. God Bless

  • “Because My child loves Me,
    I will never let her go.
    I shall feel the pain of her wounds
    and bear her hurt
    and shall transform that which is ugly
    into that which enriches and blesses.
    And when she cries out in agony
    I will hear her and answer her.
    I will be close to her and deliver her,
    and I will grant her eternal life.”

    Psalms Now 91

  • Dearest Kate:

    My heart breaks for you and your furry children as you travel this journey of grief. I am one who has suffered many clinical depressions and only with the last bout did suicide enter my mind. I would see Satan sitting in a chair across the room daring me to do it. I saw it as a battle in my mind between the God who loves me and the Evil One who would sell my soul for pennies. I drove myself to a mental treatment center and checked myself in. When I got there, the doctor told me that I had built up a tolerance for the antidepressant I was on and it had quit working for me. I am so blessed and grateful that through the years I have educated myself about depression and I also have support groups that I attend regularly. I have built myself a network of supporters because that helps me to know when the symtoms are rearing it’s ugly head. After I got out of the hospital I was able to return to my nomal busy life and routine. I feel compelled to help those who are depressed by being a support to them. I am so sorry for this great loss in your life and in Maggie’s life. I am Sam’s sister in Atlanta.

  • Kate: your words cause tears of pain, loss, hope and healing. This was hard but beautiful to read. As I am sure you will, keep him in your heart as a reminder of your love for him and his message to you if the lovable and worthy person you are.
    Cindy of Wendy’s congregation and Nats games

  • Kate, you do not know me but you know my sister, Stacy. Years ago my sister showed me a FB post that you had responded to. She had posted a request for prayers for me after a brain surgery. You responded to the post by offering to come to the hospital to pray with me. I was moved by the kindness of a complete stranger, your kindness, and have never forgotten it. Now I will return this favor and pray for you, sweet pea.

  • Kate – you and Brady are in my heart and prayers. Getting semi-colon project tats in a couple of weeks in honor of my nephew and his son who decided to end their stories on 9/11/2001 and 4/28/2017. Brady will be a part of my decision as well.

    ALWAYS – remember you are loved. You are an amazing woman and fabulous Pastor/Mentor.

    Love – Stephen

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