Brian Ellis: A Son Remembered

A beautiful person was born, November 1, 1978, in the City of Downey. He was born severe hydrocephalus (a condition called water on the brain) and at the age of 2-weeks a shunt was placed in his brain, allowing the fluid blocked in his head to move down to his stomach. By doing this he was given a chance to live. He was never expected to achieve much in life, I was told he may never roll over, sit up, walk or even talk. When he was brought home from the hospital he had not developed a sucking motion and had to be fed by a tube. His neurosurgeon told me not to expect much …but "sometimes miracles happen."Brian was a miracle. He did learn. He learned to sit up, walk, even ride a bike, and everyone who knew him will attest to his talking ability. Brian had disabilities, he never grew mentally past the age of a child, but he grew up healthy and happy. He attended Speech and Language School in Buena Park and after graduation was a participant in the Easter Seal Program in Downey. He enjoyed being with people and was very social. My nephew nicknamed him the "Mayor of Downey" because he would greet everyone he saw with a smile, a handshake and a friendly compliment…"nice to meet you" or to the ladies "you look nice." Brian never judged a person on what they could offer him, but freely offered all that he had to them. And to all he gave a smile. His smile came from a place deep within his soul and brightened any room he entered. Those who met Brian, remembered him. "He touched their hearts." I would hear that comment from doctors and nurse's who treated him, teachers and care-givers who worked with him, and even from people who only knew of him, from others. When you met Brian, you felt lucky to have known him; even if your time with him was brief and only once. His uncle Joe said "Brian is who we should be… we are who we are"… those words captured truly this special person in our lives The shunt he received at 2 weeks of age lasted 31 years, never needing to be replaced, until November 2009. The surgery was deemed a success. A week later, when recovery was taken for granted, an infection developed and a second surgery was undertaken. That night Brian stopped breathing. He was placed on a respirator and declared brain dead 48 hours later. They say a mother knows these things before they happen, I never saw it coming. To honor his life, and the beautiful spirit he possessed, we chose to donate his organs through One Legacy a Donate Life organization. Brian gave the gift of life to 6 people. His heart never stopped beating; and within 6 hours after recovery from his chest, it belonged to a 12 year old girl at another hospital. Christian Ellis is an e-campaign that I have created with One Legacy to tell his story. It is a beautiful way to honor a life by offering hope to others. So far 11 people have signed up as donors in his name. Most people are unaware that over 21,000 Californians are waiting for an organ transplant. "Tragically, one third of them will die - waiting." Brian is gone, but he is still here; he is nowhere, yet he is everywhere. That is the juxtaposition of who he is now. His heart beats life into a child, his lungs give breath to 2 women; his liver filters the poisons of a 44 year old man; his kidney's purify the bodies of a young mother and a teenage boy. Although he lives no longer on earth as the young man we remember, he lives on in others, scattered across the states, a remembrance of his life in the hearts and minds of strangers who will never know him. In his death he has become all of us. He is a child again, housed in all the innocence and laughter he possessed before he died. He is a young mother, who now has more time to spend with her family. He is a teenager playing videos, hanging with friends, planning for college and adulthood. He is a middle aged man, knowing he now has more time to get those things done, that had been put on hold. He is breath for 2 women, (one 62, the other 65) extending the purpose of their lives. This is my Brian today; this is what he is doing today; this is his life continued; and he is a hero, a shining star and our special angel. Brian you are missed. Your family loves you; and will seek your smile upon their death. You gave us laughter, love and joy while you lived. You are giving us direction, purpose and destiny in your death. You have been transformed, and in spirit you are everyone and you are everywhere. But I would give all that I have of myself just to have you back one more day. Watch for the 31 white balloons on Saturday, Nov. 20, it is your family and friends letting you know, you are remembered and will never be forgotten. All my love, Mother Written by Diane Linares

********** Published: November 18, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 31