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Let Brandon Break Your Heart Open

11 Nov Posted by in • Guest Writers | 7 comments
Let Brandon Break Your Heart Open

My wife comes out of the shower with tears in her eyes.  “He’ll never know what it feels like to love, he never got the chance”

I open my arms so she can curl into me and I hold her.

This morning, over coffee, we read about Brandon Bitner’s funeral. The 14-year-old high school freshman from rural Middleburg, Pennsylvania committed suicide by running into the path of a tractor trailer. He left a note that he wanted to draw attention to bullying.

He was buried while we cuddled in bed with our little dog Monroe.  Our family, our morning ritual of coffee and cuddles, our love, always precious, is so simple, yet, indeed so far out of reach for a young boy, even, perhaps out of the reach of his imagination.  How can this be?

We can take to blaming the culture of homophobia supported by many of our leaders who are responsible for propagating hatred and non acceptance.  We can blame the schools and the school children for their words, their teaching, their taunts.  We can blame the parents, even, for failing to protect Brandon and when we are done, we can choose to rest in despair.  Hating America, hating our politics, hating the haters themselves. But we cannot rest there, even for a moment.  We have to move beyond reacting to tragedy, in gratitude for the mornings we share, with the love we build together, and act, in ways large and small, to make things different.

This week, People magazine published a story about Cheryl Kilodavis who wrote a book called, My Princess Boy, about Loving her son Dyson who likes to wear dresses.  There was a fabulous blog post by another mom ( who wrote about her Love for her son who wanted to dress up as Daphne from Scooby Doo for Halloween.   Ricky Martin appeared last night on Larry King Live, talking about his new book, Me, coming out, his twin sons, his family and his Love.

The pendulum swings. And the question remains, how can we bear these unbearable losses?

Brandon’s decision to throw himself in front of a tractor trailer seems beyond suicidal. In his despair and learned self hatred, he choose to be obliterated.  A boy who played the violin.  A 14 year old boy who was tired of being called “faggot” and “sissy”.  We must not let him be obliterated.

Let Brandon do more than call attention to bullying, let him break your heart open. Do something in honor of Brandon today.  Come out.  Sign a petition.  Make a phone call.  Write a story or a check. Tell someone you love them even if you don’t understand their choices.  Love More, Love Harder. And Love those who hate –  it might just give someone else a chance to know what it feels like.

Alicia Leeds is Founder/ Director of Full Life whose mission is to provide services and products that help people improve the quality of their lives through better health.  Full Life’s services include Personal Coaching for better weight and health management and the HMR at Home Diet Program.  Alicia blogs about food, weight and health at

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  • Robin Lowey says:

    Alicia, I am so touched by this story. My son is now 14 and I have been asked to speak in his social issues class as a member of our local LGBT Center’s speaker’s bureau. I asked him if he was OK with it and he said “Mommy I would love that, the kids need to hear you”. Thank you for the call to action! It is so important for all of us to do whatever we can to help stop these senseless tragedies from continuing. Thanks so much for this!

  • stephsalive says:

    Hi I appreciate you sharing your feeling more than you know. A few weeks ago I had a similar experience when another young man died in NYC. It was little publicized and that is sad in and of itself.
    I am so committed to making a difference in this arena for those who are struggling with the idea of suicide or are surviving an attempt.
    I know first hand how it feels to be in that position and how different and wonderful my life is 25 yrs later!
    I will not let the light go out for these kids no matter what. I have been shouting it and posting it everywhere I can … and hope to do more…. I wish we could have a hands across america day to bring awareness to how vast a problem this is…The way we did for AIDS in the 80’s…
    I wrote a blog myself on this and am happy to share my own thoughts with you…Ty for your commitment to this and glad to see how much people do care!
    no one should feel less than because of another…ever!

  • Alicia says:

    thank you for your support and your commitment – we can fight words with words and hatred with Love…

  • Gina says:

    Precious Beautiful boy,
    I am so sorry you had that Pain.
    I Hold you in my Heart Brandon.
    Every one of us deserves Love and acceptance.
    Keep your Hearts Open and we can help teach others.

  • You’ll want to add a facebook button to your blog. I just bookmarked this article, although I had to complete it manually. Simply my $.02 🙂

    – Robson

  • epochalipsnow says:

    Thanks Robson…I’m working on it! – Robin