Thursday, July 24, 2014

Brian Jennings

This post is dedicated to my friend Brian Jennings! This past month he was diagnosed with cancer and underwent several immense obstacles!  Brian also started a wonderful blog that has inspired me with my own journey, pouring out his magnificent courage and strength. To our surprise Brian passed away, what seemed out of nowhere, about two weeks ago.  And as sad as his passing may feel, it is a reminder, as Brian would have liked, for us to embrace life and rejoice his time here on earth and know that he is on to the next marvelous part of his journey.

I met Brian about eight years ago when I started working as a ski & snowboard instructor at Massanutten Resort in Virginia.  I haven't really stayed in constant contact with him, but he has always been an inspiration to me throughout his life journey.  One beauty of working on that mountain is that even if I go years without talking to the folks I worked with there, our bond will always remain, and when we do talk its like we have never parted.  Its amazing the strength that nature has on us.Brian also worked as a guide on the river.  I know Brian touched so many lives with this concept, positive attitude and brilliance, on the mountain as well as paddling on the river, where he helped others understand the strength and marvelous beauty that nature has on our souls.  One of his friends posted a quote he wrote about the river which was, "Once you learn how to read the water, you'll never look at it the same again."

Just a few days before his passing, I sent him a message that went a little somethin' like this:


Seriously... I know we weren't close close at THE NUT (aka Massanutten Resort) when we worked there, but I feel what you are going through, I really do!  I wrote on your facebook wall but I wanted to send you this message.  I HAVE CANCER ALSO!!  However, cancer needs a new name.  I believe the word cancer is vague and over-rated!  Who knows how long the thing them doctors call a "tumor" has been in my brain, but it has been a journey.  I have known it has been there for almost nine months now.  Eight months ago I had a biopsy to evaluate what type it was.  People look at cancer as a terrible thing, and yes there have been challenges, but its like you mentioned earlier, those challenges are like the river, when they arise they only make you stronger and appreciate life more.  I have felt like I have been on a roller-coaster ride of challenging beauty!! I admire your courage, you are a strong man! The universe has chosen this for you because you can handle this and it will create a large influence on yourself as well as others and uplift your life to an even higher level!! I don't feel sorry for you! HAHAHAHA I admire you.  Welcome to the journey of getting to appreciate and see a new meaning of life at such a young age. You are lucky!  How beautiful that you have this thing they call CANCER!  Not everyone gets to have this gift.  I am here for you! If you want to talk do not hesitate to reach out. 

 Much love , Gabby

P.S. Brian your blog is outstanding, I have enjoyed reading your words.  They bring to me inspiration and strength throughout my own journey!

Brian has been and still is, an amazing influence in my life with his strength, passion and outlook on life and the universe. Thank you Brian for making the world a better place and for bonding together our Massanutten, "The Nut" crew!  Much love to Brian's family and friends in his time of passing into the next realm out there! Death is a miracle as well :)

"In paddling terms, it seems like it's kind of the unportageable and unscoutable.  Guess you can only run it blind once...time to charge!" ~Brian Jennings

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