Bryan and Jess showing their mad skills at my house after his first deployment
After his second deployment he was a changed man. It seemed like he cut his oldest friends and family (Jessica and Braydon) out of his life. It seemed like he started a new life as a different person. After reading all the posts and memories from his Army friends I have realized that his personality didn't change... he had been changed. His Army family knew the same silly, fun Bryan that we knew he just couldn't be that person with us anymore. The difference was that after being deployed Bryan knew things about life that the rest of us, safe and unaware in Hays, KS didn't know. He looked at us through different eyes. He had seen the world and it's harsh reality. And we didn't make sense to him anymore. He had an unbreakable bond with other Army soldiers who had witnessed what he had witnessed.
After my first husband was taken from me by a traumatic brain injury I looked at my friends and wondered how they could be so clueless. Thinking their problems were so important I couldn't relate to them. I had seen a much bigger and painful picture of the world. I could see things that only experience can show a person.
Bryan had experienced something that we could never imagine. And after that he found a comfort in his Army family that he could never find in the people he grew up with. Once he was able to surround himself with people who were like him he was able to form a bond with Braydon and they were closer than ever before.
I am finding comfort in hearing what a great friend and brother Bryan was. I am sorry that I never took the time to think about what life might have been like for him after being deployed and I am sorry I misjudged him for the past few years. I am sorry but I don't feel guilty because there was no way I could have known this until reading all the posts and stories that are being posted about him by the people he spent the last few years with. He was the same fun, caring, person, just with a different group of people. People that had an understanding of him that I couldn't possibly have had.