Goodbye, My Friend. A Tribute.

I got the kind of phone call in the dark hours of Thursday morning that no one ever wants to get. The phone rang, the ringtone of someone close to me, someone who would never call me that early unless it was an emergency. My heart sank before I even picked up the phone, and I braced myself. I could never have braced myself to hear what I did.

To hear the strongest person you know weep openly, to hear that his best friend was very suddenly gone from this world – my brow still furrows trying to digest it. A brief lapse in judgement, a moment of despair and a life so very precious, so bright and beautiful was over.

And the days that followed were a blur of tears mingled with strained laughter and long embraces. If you don’t think one life matters, the memorial service I attended yesterday afternoon was proof that it does. It does so very much . . . what an incredibly diverse mix of people who came to together to celebrate my friend Brandon’s life – amazing hearts.

After the service was over and his music played as photos from childhood to the present streamed on screens above, we all somehow found smiles. Don’t let the grief of the present loss taint the beauty of memories past.

And I could write you pages and pages about what a beautiful person Brandon was. He had the kindest eyes, a wicked sense of humor, a knack for friendship and a heart to love deeply. Every time he picked up a guitar, it took my breath away. He made that instrument sing. He didn’t just play it, he had a relationship with it. It responded to him like an old friend. His music was his joy. I loved bringing friends to shows and saying, “Just wait and see, you’re in for something amazing.”  I’ll miss that terribly.

But even more than the music, I truly believe that Brandon Raines’ legacy is most evident in the company he kept; he forged many a friendship. He was deeply loved by his family and friends and his Love, Toni.

Despite the sorrow and the heartache of loss, God has not left us without grace. I see His gifts today. I’ve seen His gifts these past few days. Tears intermingled with laughter, new friendships, music, a brilliantly blue sky, a warm bed, a long embrace, a hand to hold, small town church lady cookies (with Crisco of course!), the Texas State line, hope for tomorrow.

Lamentations 3:21- 23 “This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”

Steven, Chris, Brandon, Toni and Kasi
McLean, Texas
McLean, Texas



3 thoughts on “Goodbye, My Friend. A Tribute.

  1. Thank you, Crystal. This is beautifully written. You so perfectly captured the wonderful qualities of Brandon that made us love him so much. It brought (more) tears to my eyes.

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