The words I spoke at Brian's funeral

Jul 02, 2023

Brian truely was a gift from God. Mel and I struggled to get pregnant and with the help of fertility treatments and our prayers being answered Brian was on his way. We knew as early as possible we were having a boy and knew the name Brian was going to be involved. Brian was named after my brother Brian who as well passed young. Too young. I was 7yrs old when he passed but I always knew I wanted to honour him. Imelda never hesitated. Orginally we thought Brian was going to be his middle name but nothing quite fit. We decided Brian it was. Brian William Renaud. William is my middle name and my father's name. It is also the name my stepdad went by as well. It was perfect. 
Brian William Renaud blessed the world with his arrival on May 18, 2006. He was a large baby, a strong baby who the next day was already trying to and succeeding in holding up his own head. Due to complications during delivery, Imelda had to be put under. She remained sleeping 8 hrs after birth. For those first 8 hrs it was just me and him. I held him for hours. I changed him. I fed him. When Imelda awoke Brian met his loving mother. She showered him in love and affection. We were so happy. He was so blessed with love. We were so lucky. Brian knew early he was born into a large extended family that cared alot for him. They all came every day to the hospital then and came everyday most recently. He was so loved.  

As a baby Brian ate alot. He was so strong too. He just didnt like to sleep back then. Imelda and I have so many memories of us (mostly her) struggling to put him to sleep. He would have to bury his face into your neck and move around so much almost ending up like a fireman carry over your shoulder before he fell asleep. She would rock him on an old rocker for hrs. Play his bedtime night song on repeat for hours. When he finally fell asleep he would have to be even at a young age on his stomach. This lasted years! 

As a toddler Brian was so playful, so curious and so smart! He always had a smile on his face and always put a smile on ours! We experienced with him so much. Day trips. Outdoor trips. Sporting events. Family bbqs. Parks. Playgrounds. A trip to Cuba. When Brian was just under two we took him to Cuba. We still laugh the first day at the pool Brian in his blowup floatie car floating around the pool being the centre of attention with all the college kids partying. He loved dipping his soother in the ocean to taste the salt and loved to dig holes in the sand. Always so happy and again so loved wherever he went. 

January 7th 2010, just shy of Brian's 4th birthday Brian's life and ours changed forever. Our family welcomed another son and daughter. Alex and Maya were instantly adored and loved by Brian. We knew that. We saw that. Our family was complete. It was a family 5 and still is a family of 5. 
Brian was included in everything to do with the twins after they arrived. He loved to lay on the floor and play and taunt them. He would give them toys, they would throw them and he would give them again. As Alex and Maya began to walk, Brian and them would do silly dances, and games. He would read to them and play games with them.
When it was time for Brian to attend school, he went with pride. He loved school once he got in the door and had very special teachers that made his time at Lincoln Avenue Public school special. He made lots of friends at Lincoln, friends that remained friends today. He played on many sports team at school and took part in many activities. Soccer, Volleyball, Basketball, Track and Field. We loved attending and cheering him on. Although a shy kid, Brian's enthusiasm for activities and enthusiasm for his school work was always noticed and celebrated. He was always described by his teachers as curious, polite and respectful. Never a negative word about Brian. They loved him and he them. Even to this day he would talk about his elementary teachers in such high regard.  

Covid and the pandemic hit when Brian was graduating grade 8 and entering highschool. Such a tough time for everyone, but specifically our kids. Missing out on milestones, achievements and celebrations were so hard. Being isolated from the most important things in their lives, their friends was so hard. 
Brian started high school online. He didnt like it but he perservered, worked hard and got good grades. We worried when he finally got back to highschool socially for him. He was shy, quiet. Pickering High was a big school. He went back, made a good core group of friends and ended up flourishing in the social dept. as everyone can see by the attendance here today and tributes online and at the school. Brian loved that aspect of highschool. The social part, the sports and the activities. He would sign up and join everything. I would laugh at how many things he was joining and then him and I would joke when he quit them or gave them up. I loved that he was so involved though. He was pushing himself, meeting people, and wanting to try new things. Mel and I were very proud. This last year of grade 11 there was an even bigger noticeable change in him. He was a more confident person, had so many friends. He talked about everyone and would almost say a different name each day. I would always joke with him who is this now!? We've never heard that name. How many friends do you have? The answer was and is alot. He was very well liked. Very loved. 

Brian had a good heart. We new this from an early age. Whenever downtown with Brian he would feel so bad for the homeless or people that were down on their luck and often made me give him some money so he could give to them. I used to have carry extra change because I knew he was going to ask. He once talked about working with the homeless when he was older and I thought maybe that would be him. In the last year or so he had his mind made up he wanted to be a fire fighter. He had so many plans. So many. We supported all of them and encouraged him to experience as much as he can. We never worried about him. We knew he was going to do great things. 

Brian is one of those people who make an impact on you the first time you meet him. So many young men and women have relayed that to us this past 2 weeks. I will never forgot what one friend said to me in the hospital, he said that without hesitation he could say confidently there is not one person in the whole school who would say I dont like that guy. As a parents that makes us feel so good. We raised a young man who didnt talk bad about people, stayed out of drama and was well liked. Mel and I know this but he has been described as a kind hearted, good friend to all. He's been described to us uas simply a light. Wow. Im so glad others saw this too.
Being shy, it used to bother me that people never saw the real Brian. He would talk at home just not to others out. The biggest thing we wanted people to see and know is how funny Brian was. He had a dry humour, throwing out one line zingers. He made us laugh. Im learning finally other people saw that too. Ive been told so many times, Brian was so funny he always made us laugh. I love that B! 

From a young age Brian started playing hockey. He absolutely loved it. He wanted to practice, train, play games, he didnt care. He loved to be on the ice. He started in hockey school, then novice houseleague for 2 yrs and then started playing rep. 91 was his number and that never changed. Some teams he was on over the years struggled but Brian never gave up. Never spoke bad about teammates or coaches. He just went right back out there to give his all. All his coaches and trainers over the years would never have a bad thing to say about him (a common theme), he was a great teammate. His hockey teammates turned into friends. Friends for life. It really is a brotherhood that one would only understand if they played. On ice he always did what was asked, and was so loyal. Always loyal to his team and loyal to his organization. Before this season I had a long conversation with him about hockey. I thought he was going to tell me he wanted to give it up finally. Quite the opposite. He told me that hockey is the only thing that makes him happy. He was telling me that hes sad this was going to be his last season. What will he do? I said there are lots you can still do and still play. There are options. He liked that. He didnt want to give it up. He was so excited for this hockey year and believed in this team so much. We spoke alot about it.
Brian loved being at the rink. He was a timekeeper, he volunteered and then worked at the hockey school, and he helped out if he could with his brother and sister's teams. I like watching other teams when I can. Cheering on friends kids. Brian often knew I was going and asked to come too. He loved the game. I dont know how to coach without him. Our hockey talks at dinner. Our talks in the car. We bonded over hockey so much. We had plans to coach together. We always talked about that. His mom loved watching him play. She didnt care about anyone else but B. Move him B she would often yell. Push him B! Mel learned the game through watching Brian and talking to him. We were so proud of him. Always so proud of him. He worked so hard, he deserved so much more. Man are we proud of him.  

This is so hard. This sucks. Our Brian, our Mr B., our B. What are we going to do without him. How do we move on. I dont know. I know the questions are eating us alive. The guilt and what ifs are tearing us apart. Answers we need will never come and that is so hard. We are going to miss the late night texts, can you pick me up at Phillips or Evans. The knock on the bedroom door when he got home, Hi Mom. The question he asked me as he came down the stairs every night around 11pm, can I have a snack? I used to get annoyed, of course why are you asking! He always did though. Maybe to annoy me. Who knows. We are going to miss the conversations about his friends, school and what happened. His questions about life and how things worked in the real world and the talks that happened often about his hair. We are going to miss his funny one liners. We are going to miss cheering him on in everything he did. We were always his number 1 fan. We are going to miss him so much. We are going to miss his smirk, his giggle, his good heart. His willingness to help. We are going to miss hearing his alarm going off waking everyone in the house up but him. We are going to miss fighting with him to get up in the mornings. We are going to miss hearing the shower a couple times a day. We are going to miss his smell that we now know we cant get enough of. We are going to miss his face. His good looking face and his dark eyes. His mom used to tell him how good looking he was. He shyly dismissed it. He was though. So good looking. We are going to miss everything about him. Everything. We miss him so much. The last two weeks have been a dream. A nightmare. We just want to wake up. Our kids are our world. Brian was our world. We just wanted him to get better. We were supporting him and taking all the right steps for him to get better. Its a long journey, but he was on his way. What hurts so much is that he was so loved. We wouldve done anything for Brian. Absolutely anything. We thought he knew that. We hope and pray he knew how much he was loved. Its so hard to accept but we know his illness took Brian. It wasnt about him not feeling loved or supported. He was. Again, so hard to accept. How could he not know how much love not only we had for him but he had from everyone. The love Mel and I, and Alex and Maya have seen and received over this last little while from family, friends, the community, the hockey community and strangers has been so overwhelming. We are blessed. Brian is blessed. I hope and pray he feels it all and knows it. He left an impact! On social media I spoke a little bit about organ donation. Brian saved 4 lives after his death. He was a hero. Brian had a legacy through hockey and through his school. This will also be his legacy. Again we are so so proud! We knew Brian was going to do great things in life. Whatever he was into and did he did it fully. He was all in so he could be his best. We never worried because of that. We would give absolutely anything to get our baby back, but he is doing great things as we knew in death, he really is a hero. He is certainly our hero.  

Lastly, we just want to thank everyone for their support and generosity for our family. I want to thank Brians friends and teammates for having his back, and being there always for him. Without hesitation many rushed to the hospital to be by his side. Those that couldnt, their wishes and prayers were not unnoticed and all were felt. To all of them who have made it clear to Alex and Maya that they can reach out to them and they have gained many brothers and sisters. Brian adored his friends. He loved them so much. We have formed relationships with many of them this past while and we are going to continue that. He was so blessed and now so are we. 

Mental health awareness, suicide prevention and Brians passion for hockey are going to come together in the future. Our family has a life mission to raise awareness and help. Brian Renaud's story is an important one and one that will not be forgotten. It will help families, save lives and raise awareness. Brian would be all in on this.  

Brian, we love you. We love you. We love you. We always have been and always will be so proud of you. You are our hero. We are incomplete without you son. Always will be. The only thing we know right now is that we cant wait to hold you in our arms again. Mom and Dad love you so much. Watch over us. Sleep well baby.