I first met Brandon at a football game.  Maddie introduced him to me as her boyfriend, little did I know it would become much more and the impact he would have on our lives.

Let me go back about a year Maddie and my relationship wasn’t the best to the point we didn’t even talk.  Now jump ahead to the football game that would be the first night that I not only met Brandon, but my daughter and I would become close again.  I always said Brandon brought my little girl back to me.  I wasn’t the fact that she came back, but our relationship become stronger and not with just her but with Brandon, so you can say I got my daughter back and gained a son.

Brandon wasn’t this quiet guy for long, he was this young man full of life, and he loved the outdoors and fishing.  I can remember many times he wanted to fish and he would say “com on mom, let’s go!”  I would often say no at first to go without me, but he wouldn’t have it, so he would or make a deal until I would just give in and go and I am so glad I did.  I know he would talk to nearly everyone he was around to go with him fishing.  A lot of times he would have Grandma Barb go with him as well.  He was so happy and excited to have his family with him to show off his fishing skills and was so proud of the fish he caught.

When I say his family I mean all of Maddie’s family, as many of you know, Brandon didn’t have a good childhood growing up, so Maddie’s family was the only family he had.  He loved all of us, he loved spending time with grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles and helping out where and whenever he could.  He was a hard worker and loved being able to help out with anything.  Brandon could also make anybody laugh and honestly I don’t think most of the time it was intentional as Brandon was extremely gullible and innocent with stories.  For example the time Brian told him that his mom grew up Amish, that was before he met grandma, or the time the time he came to me frantic about Maddie freaking out about her hair, I couldn’t help but laugh so hard at his plea for help.

Regardless, the life that Brandon was dealt, he made the most out of it with us.  I know that he felt loved and wanted by the family.  Brandon, you will be missed more than you will ever know, but this is temporary, we will see you again.

I can’t help but think you are fishing right now alongside Jesus and grandma Ester.  So until we meet again, you catch those fish you couldn’t get here and don’t let go of the bass for goodness sake!  I love you son, and I will see you soon!


I love you,



Brandon Lee Calvert was more extraordinary than any other 21 year old.  He was born and raised in Ottumwa Iowa and like most of us in Ottumwa he grew up in a low income home.  Because Brandon never had much and was physically and emotionally abused, he lived in constant survival mode, which in return got him into a lot of trouble as well.

When Brandon came into my life, he was 17 and came with a lot of baggage, but he didn’t show it well.  Anyone who came into contact with him was immediately affected by his humor, laughter, and unconditional love.  What made him so different was despite the fact that going through what he did as a child, it didn’t turn his heart cold.  It actually made him more compassionate and understanding to anyone who entered his life.  I’ve never met a child he didn’t instantly love or a person whose sorrow he didn’t try to help them overcome.

Brandon never saw a body of water he didn’t try to fish.  He loved the outdoors and was always busy doing something.  During the four years Brandon allowed me to love him, I can’t honestly say he didn’t struggle within, but it never stopped him from fighting or loving others unconditionally.

Brandon gave us all beautiful memories and unbelievable stories. The day that Brandon decided to take his life, I don’t believe was him at all, but in that moment he was that little boy that was far too scared and exhausted to keep going.  I truly believe that Brandon Lee knew in his heart that he had finally found the family he’d been longing, in all of us, and the love he’d been searching for in me.  I’m not scared anymore because I know Brandon is going to experience a much more powerful kind of love by a God who didn’t see his mistakes, but the impact he made in so many people lives.

I love you Brandon!



Mrs. Brandon Lee Calvert