Doyle Family Support Fund
Any donation small or large will be appreciated. Mary may not be able to work, as she will be busy and exhausted, and to know we can help, will be such a blessing.
from a U of P interview...
"What Brian really wants is for people to keep laughing.
“I’ll hear all laughter,” Doyle said. “Be tender to each other. Be more tender than you were yesterday, that’s what I would like. You want to help me? "Be tender and laugh.”
Love, tenderness and laughter...
It's been just a few days over a month since our friend Brian died. The Doyle family wanted to send this on the 27th of June, but since Independence Day was one of Brian's favorites, they thought it would be an appropriate holiday to honor his conviction that "people can change anything!
In Marys' words:
Lily, Joseph, Liam, Brian and I thank you so much for your constant compassion, kindness and generosity.
I know each of you has a hole to fill.
If you miss Brian, at 7 p.m. tonight please play
his favorite Joe Strummer's song:
"From Willesden to Cricklewood"
and crank it up loud. He'll hear it.
to listen follow this link on You Tube:
(such a beautiful song...)
(or google it and find it live on the radio show Joe Strummer hosted)
Following is one of Brian's most coveted messages, in the words of JOE STRUMMER himself..
"“And so now I'd like to say - people can change anything they want to. And that means everything in the world. People are running about following their little tracks - I am one of them. But we've all got to stop just following our own little mouse trail. People can do anything - this is something that I'm beginning to learn. People are out there doing bad things to each other. That's because they've been dehumanised. It's time to take the humanity back into the center of the ring and follow that for a time. Greed, it ain't going anywhere. They should have that in a big billboard across Times Square. Without people you're nothing. That's my spiel.”
― Joe Strummer
attached is an article written by Brian Doyle, published by the American Scholar.
Thanks as always for your love, comments and financial support on this GoFundMe site, it has meant the world for the Doyle family after the loss of such a fine husband and father.
Be Tender and Laugh always.
Left us: 5/27/17
Three good friends of mine have died in the last couple of weeks, leaving me a little low and questioning my own mortality and wondering so many whys?
As I've seen by the comments left by countless people on this site (from people who have taped his words to their bathroom mirror to parents who named their child after a character in one of his books) how Brian has "struck a chord" that had such meaning for them at that particular moment in their life.
In this, my final update on the Doyle Family GoFundMe site, I am enclosing some words of his that have given me some hope and lightened my spirit as he has headed into the light.
May we all use Brian as an example of how to not fear darkness, to accept hard challenges with grace and to live the life we have remaining here on earth with tenderness and fill it with lots of laughter.
In BDs' words:
"Of course you do your absolute best to find and hone and wield your divine gifts against the dark. You do your best to reach out tenderly to touch and elevate as many people as you can reach. You bring your naked love and defiant courage and salty grace to bear as much as you can, with all the attentiveness and humor you can muster; this is, after all, a miracle in which we live, and we ought to pay ferocious attention every moment, if possible." **
Thank you Brian Doyle for these uplifting words, and thank you to the amazingly "grace" full Doyle family who we should all emulate when our next difficult challenge comes.
** The Final Frontier
by Brian Doyle 12-07-2015
Please share some of the words that have struck a chord WITH YOU on this site, no need to contribute money, but more, your stories.
...“You want your stories to keep traveling long past you. I want them to travel everywhere,” he said "We are only here for a minute, we are here for a little window, and to use that time to catch and share shards of light and laughter and grace seems to me the great story,” he said in the Oregon Art Beat profile. “And I love that work.”
I was so happy to have the opportunity to share in some precious time with the Doyle family about three weeks ago on a very quick visit to Portland.
Brian is increasingly getting weaker, but that day, made the effort to sit at the dining table for a brief visit over lunch. Joey and Liam brought him in on his walker. With his still yet bright mind he managed to make me laugh.
I was in awe and am totally respectful of the love and peacefulness that permeated their home in such a sorrowful time. How can it be that you walk in feeling as if you need to lift their spirits, and in return yours are lifted? It is because of the positive spirit, compassion and the spiritualness that Brian and Mary share together and now have passed on to their three children.
I was able to go into Brian's room after his nap and listen and visit some more. Even though the tumor is infringing, the twinkle in his eye was still there, and he was still telling stories and remembering things I didn't even remember! In the cozy room soft jazz plays in the background, Frankincense is misting and the boys sit at a table playing chess, Lily visits, the smell of Mary cooking meatballs wafts in (because Brian had a hankering for meatballs, even though he may eat 2 little bites).
In that house, life is lived for the moment, time spent in close proximity, Brian's fleeting time spent in peace and attentive love. Thank you Brian for your grace and deep values which you have passed on to your family, for making the sorrow we all feel sweeter.
Mary and Brian and family made the choice to not continue chemotherapy. Hospice has been started, and it has been a tremendous help providing the family with professional physical, emotional and spiritual support.
THANK YOU to all the contributors to this fund, we have surpassed our goal for the 2nd time. The family has expressed to me countless times how appreciative they are for your kindness and for the generosity of those they've never met, but were touched by Brian's writing.
BE TENDER AND LAUGH...Brian says so.
Well dammit Doyle, you've gone and done it this time. This'll teach you to argue with the Dalai Lama. So many years now I've admired your work—except for some of those run-on torrents of adjectives—with that scribbler's gumbo of respect-envy-role modeling-admiration-jealousy-appropriation-mystification-exasperation over personal shortcomings. You were the first university magazine editor I admired, and the list is mighty short. How you wrote so much so well boggles me. When I heard the news of your diagnosis, I thought that of all the people I've known in my 63 years, the one most likely to handle this with the utmost grace would be you. And I know you have. Thank you for so many fine sentences. Thank you for the inspiration. And thank you for being a friend, my friend.
I first encountered Brian's lovely style in the back pages of yankee magazine 26 years ago when I found 'waiting for lily'. I was also 'waiting' for my daughter and was the same age as Brian. I kept that short essay at my work desk for the last 26 years and now it is pinned to my dresser mirror. I still cry when I read it as if it was written for me. God Bless Brian and his family and I'll hold him in my prayers at mass.
Thought you all might be interested in this funeral homily that Brian wrote for Prepare the Word a few years back, which, as we reread now, offers us amazing consolation and hope in Brian's future and ours: Do not be afraid by Brian Doyle Sometimes a ragged hole opens suddenly in the world and those we love vanish and we are left bereft and sobbing. No one knows why this happens, but it happens every hour of every day. It happens so suddenly and shockingly that we grope and grasp for God, we beg God to explain, we rage at God for allowing such horrendous loss, we are hammered and haunted, we lose faith and energy, we cannot imagine ever laughing and hoping again—but then we come to this moment, today, when we are gathered in memory and prayer, the moment when we must decide how we will celebrate N.'s life. This moment, today, is the fork in the road for us all: Will we be born to joy, that our loved one is embraced and enfolded and in peace in the incredible limitless light and love of God? Or will we continue to dwell in despair at his unthinkable vanishing?" For he is not lost. He is not gone. Who he is cannot be quenched or killed. He is himself, holy and unique, the one N. ever made in 10 billion years and never to be made again in the billions of years to come. He is a gift that can never be taken away. His body is gone, those lanky limbs, that quick grin, that quirky humor, that bark of a laugh, that unfailing energy, that unconscious generosity, that astounding gentleness, those battered sneakers—but what he was is not who he is. He is alive in the country of the Lord who made him, who gives life eternal, life that does not end. You will remember that Pope John Paul II had a favorite line from Jesus, a line His Holiness used again and again and again over the years, in every conceivable venue and context: Do not be afraid. And that is what I say to you all this morning. Do not be afraid of what has happened to the boy we love. Love him more than ever. Love him more deeply. Tell his tales. Carry his message. Share his stories. Speak of him at the table. Speak of him to children. Bring his laughter back into the house. Keep his life in your hearts and your mouths, for only by silence and bitterness and forgetfulness will you cease to pray for his soul. Every story you tell of him is a prayer. Every laugh is a prayer. Every tear is a prayer. You will say it is too soon to rise to joy for N. You cannot bear to touch his clothes, to see his room, to see the gaping holes in the hearts of those who loved him. But I say to you that the road ahead of you will diverge, and on the one road there is only the despair of loss and the darkness of sadness, and on the other road there is a growing and mysterious sureness that he is at peace, his soul has found refuge and rest, and he is more alive now than before, more than we can possibly imagine or dream or conceive. That is the message of the Christ, and he is right. Life defeats death, hope defeats despair, light defeats darkness. In my Father's house there are many mansions (John 14:2), said Jesus, and death is only a door to those miraculous mansions, and N. dwells there in the heart of the Coherent Mercy that sparked us into being and holds us in his hands until everything is gathered again to him in the end. Our joy for N. must be, on this day when roads diverge, that he has run on ahead of us into the Light. Our final act of love for him, our final way of loving who he was when he was among us, is to let him go now, let go of our despair at his death, our anger at God, our horror at his disappearance, and be filled with joy that he has come to the country where there is only love. Do not be afraid. We will see him again, we will see him as he truly is, the unquenchable N., and you will know him and he you, and that will be holy beyond our ken. Tell his tales. Share his stories. Carry his message. Pray with joy. Do not be afraid. Brian Doyle Brian Doyle was the editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland and author of many books, including The Wet Engine, about the "muddle & music & miracle of hearts."
Brian: So, I happen to attend a relatively hip Unitarian Universalist church here in Charlotte, North Carolina. Nestled in the woods near Mallard Creek, the church building actually looks more like a nature center than a place of worship. That is probably what attracted me to this particular UU church in the first place. Though I was a practicing Catholic as a young person (alter boy, 12 years of Catholic school -- the final 4 at an all boys high school in the heart of Pittsburgh) I now find myself questioning the divinity of Jesus and seeking comfort in the literature, generosity, and passion of the Unitarians. Last Sunday, I had convinced one of my sons to attend Sunday services with me. This feat typically requires some form of sugar bribery involving either Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. And Ben, who is nine, always insists that I articulate clearly – prior to his committing to the trip by getting into the car -- whether we will be stopping for coffee and his vanilla bean BEFORE church or for a Boston crème-filled donut AFTER services. Satisfied by our negotiations, Ben sat quietly in the back seat most of the short drive. We parked and got into church a few minutes before the 10:30 chimes. Here’s my first confession. I chose this church partly because it looks like a camp site. I continue GOING to the church, in part, because in the waiting area outside the main room, there is a stack of old Orion magazines on a “book exchange” shelf. I snag two issues from the stack and Ben and I find a seat in the back row near the window. The thing about the Unitarians is that you never know if the service is going to strike you. Some weeks, the excerpts from Annie Dillard and Thoreau coupled with the Joni Mitchell hymns are enough to lull me into a peaceful spiritual daydream. Other weeks, though, the urgent calls for sharing positive energy for a sick cat and announcements about the upcoming youth talent pageant are enough to make me wish I was reading the corrections and clarifications section of the Sunday Times. Last Sunday was one of these “cat” Sundays (as I call it to myself, hoping Ben won’t notice my obvious lack of enthusiasm). So, out comes the Orion. Autumn 1999. A beautiful quote about spirit from Scott Russell Sanders on the back cover. Then, as is my customary approach to most magazines, I turn to the last page. Somewhere along the line, I have established a habit of reading magazines and journals from back to front – partly, I think, because the back page is often shorter and more “big picture” than the hyper-informative articles and stories found in the front. So, Autumn, 1999. Back page. Coda. “The Anchoviad” by Brian Doyle. Perfect. Just what I need to drown out the cat Sunday whining and get something worthwhile out of the next 45 minutes or so. (Ben knows he can ask “How much longer?” two or three times before I give him the quit-asking-or-you-put-your-donut-in-jeopardy look.) As parent of three young boys, I am immediately pulled in to your essay by the list of items that each of your children sleep with. Bears and basketballs and tigers. Yes, my wife and I have been there. Searching the back yard with a flashlight to find “Bunny Bramble” or the new waffle ball bat. Kneeling in the dark van to find the blanket or Red Sox cap that will allow bed time to come to a peaceful end. But I have to admit, we have never had canned anchovies in our bedtime ritual. That, I’d venture to say, might be a Doyle-only phenomenon. And yet, I understand the follow-up you describe. Sitting in the dark, wondering about your son and how he came to want to sleep with packaged food. Why do we love the things we love? And how much do we know – will we ever know – about ourselves and/or the ones we love? I sneak a peak over at Ben. He is listening intently as the lines of candles of sharing participants go one-by-one to the microphone to express their heartfelt joys and sorrows. I notice Ben’s profile. Note the location of two prominent freckles on this half of his face. I follow the curve of his ear -- how it resembles his Grandpa's. Notice the color of his eyes from this angle. Ben goes on listening to the stories of sick relatives and the latest graduate degrees attained. And his eyes move from speaker to candle and back each time. I go back to my magazine, learn a few things that I never knew I didn’t know about anchovies, and quietly close it and slide it under my chair. I spend the remainder of the hour stealing glances at my son. I let my mind wander from fond memories of his past bedtime rituals to his current nightly habits and routines. I see him standing next to me and wonder what more I can do to truly know him. I daydream about who he will be in ten years – and remind myself to be sure he has his own flashlight. Eventually the plate is passed, the main candle is extinguished and we are sent off to do another week of good on this earth. Ben and I move quickly toward the parki
Dear Brian, you offered me an honorable mention, with a few lovely notes, in a Ruminate's 2013 nonfiction contest-- and to be honest, I entered the contest just so I could know YOU would be reading my essay. I will pray for you and your family. You matter so very much-- your dear perspective on the world matters so very much, the tone of your voice when you claim to be doing a reading (as you are clearly not reading from a page, but from the words written on your heart by God)-- this matters so very much. I will pray. You, keep being beloved.
I don't feel worthy to write about you. So let me just say I admired you greatly from afar; your words were and are magical; I felt like I knew your soul through your writing, and I am deeply saddened to hear of your passing. God bless your family and may they gain comfort from your many friends and admirers. Peace and joy in your heavenly abode.
Please share with Brian- I wrote this just this morning to post on Instagram at some point, looked for how to email him and share with him how his words have touched and brought comfort to me and I found this. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I have never been a daily devotional person, although short stories and bullet points fit my short attention span. My 93 year old mother has been sending me a subscription for Guideposts for years. Along with the other magazines that come to the house, sometimes I read them- other times they go in the magazine basket where they build up and go promptly to recycling on Friday mornings. Mom, at her ripe old age is still sharp in mind and soul, knows more about current events and pop culture than I do, and one would never know when speaking with her on the phone that she is 93. I was a late in life “surprise package” and “golden girl” as she often prefaces her cards and letters. Mom told me about the book she was going to send me- Daily Guideposts 2017- A Spirit Lifting Devotional. She told me to start with the day I got it, cycle through it through 2018, or read two pages and go back to first of the year and finish the year. One day we had a conversation about her body shutting down- she has a heart valve that’s closing. She wanted me to know that she has had a good run and wanted me to be ok about this, and she would always be with me. As I sniffled, she asked me if I got the book yet and just as she did my husband came in with the mail and the book. The next morning, with coffee in hand, I opened to the days date April 26. The words jumped off the page, “My mom and dad are deep into their nineties” Brian Doyle wrote, and went on to write about his discussion with death with his parents, how he wept after they ambled off for their naps, and realized that soon they would not be in the forms that he had loved for 50 years, but they would always abide in him, all the lessons and tenderness. I wept as well. How ironic and more than a coincidence that the day after our talk and the first day of the devotional I would need this authors words the most. Brian Doyle’s words brought such comfort. The Lord does work in mysterious ways.
I have read your work, Brian, since you started writing for Daily Guideposts and have been continually moved by your words. I will keep you and your family in my prayers and look forward to your complete recovery. Yes, I believe in miracles and am counting on one for you.
Thank you, Catherine, for posting BD’s beautiful thank-you note and his “self-portrait of the artist as a young man.” That picture is the only way I remember Doyle now, a young man at Notre Dame attacking life. And when I reread theses words: “Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.”, I will always think of Doyle moving on from ND, heading west via Chicago, and then to Oregon following Joyce's vision. God bless.
I'm so sad. I didn't know Brian that well, save for a couple emails from me to the master, seeking advice. But one day, he mailed me a handwritten note, acknowledging something I'd done, and I've never forgotten that. I truly regret not getting to know him better--I think putting him on a pedestal (that he never asked to be on) made me shy. I hope that keeping his warm, nimble voice in my heart and making a donation to the inevitable Doyle scholarship at Portland U will suffice as a tribute to him. He's given so much to us. I wish I could do more. Renée Olson Editor TCNJ Magazine
Dear Mary, Lily, Liam and Joey, your tenderness and strength are inspirational. Treasure every single moment together. Along with Brian you are showing us all not only how to live ,but also how to handle suffering. I have no adequate words at this time , just heartfelt love and prayers for you all . We have been consoled by various people , but mostly by Brian's very own words in books and articles. How blessed are we to have been touched by you all. Thanks Catherine for the update.
I am so sorry to hear about hospice, and had to close the door of my office so I could cry in privacy. You are well loved, by those close to you and those of us who only know you through the printed page, often at great distances. I have a little bit of you in the various torn pages containing your poems and prose, and the books, and will smile at them/you when I come across them as I live what I have left of life. God speed! You are His now, as you always were, as we all are. Peace--
Every so often, once or twice a year, I get online to find and read Brian Doyle's most recent Portland Magazine essay. That small jewel of writing at the beginning of each issue always lifts me - as does all his other writing I've read. In particular, The Wet Engine. I go back to that book over and over. I read passages aloud to family members. I give copies to the doctors who care for my young daughters. Today, I searched "Brian Doyle Portland Magazine," and I found The Beacon's initial article about the brain cancer, and then I found this page. We will support as we are able. And we - my husband and I - will carry you and your family in the front of our hearts, Mr. Doyle, in prayer, in joy, in hope, in gratitude. You have given me and so many others so much in your writing. As much as I can give back to you, I will.
I hope you remember meeting my grandson, Paul Steiner, at the library two years ago. He told you about our reading Mink River at the same time and and discussing it via email. That encounter elicited a gracious letter from you to me, which I shall always keep, as well as the continuing joy of reading (sometimes re-reading) your beautiful books. Thank you, Brian, for all of it. Suzanne Palumbo
Thanks to Lily, DJD and others for the assurances, and sorry to be a skeptic. I've made my contribution and am offering up my prayers for the best possible outcomes.
I adore Brian and his writing and I'm horrified by this news. I'm also skeptical of crowd fundraising sites like this. I'm wondering if Catherine Green can identify who she is and say anything to let us know that this money will really get to Brian and his family? Or get the family to officially endorse this site?
Thank you Catherine. Thank you Mary. You, Brian's family remain in my prayers daily. Indeed there is a hole and though I didn't know him I miss Brian so much.