Love of a Brother (part 3)

brian and his dog

My brother Brian Clemens Bowers, seen here with his dog Fluster, died peacefully of natural causes last Monday. Here is the obituary I wrote for him, with help from my family:

Brian Bowers, 61, crossed the finish line of his life’s journey peacefully in his home in Phoenix, Arizona on August 6, 2018.

Brian gave of himself generously, with no thought of reward, throughout his life. Street people were his sisters and brothers. And he was a vagabond Santa Claus to his many nieces and nephews, despite being dirt-poor, because he tirelessly searched in thrift stores, swap meets and yard sales for the perfect gift for each individual.

He was also an outstanding caregiver, first for his grandfather “Papa” during the last four months of Papa’s life in 1987, and more recently for his mother Jane Bowers Stoneman, from the time of her husband Marty’s death in 2014 up to the very week that Brian died. He performed numberless household and yard chores, and 24/7 caregiving, for Jane, despite his own medical issues, which included severe back trouble, liver problems, and two major cancer surgeries.

Brian loved music, and in his handwritten Last Will and Testament directed his mother to take her pick of his many CDs and concert DVDs and then offer them to his nieces and nephews. He also expressed hope that none of his other possessions, including the food on his shelves and in his refrigerator, would go to waste.

Brian’s life’s journey led him to a stint at UPS; a glorious championship season as a Little League coach; an all-too-brief yet joyous marriage to Lira, the love of his life, who died tragically young; at least two years of homelessness due to hard drug use; a stay at Joe Arpaio’s Tent City; and then the triumph of becoming clean and sober with the great and gracious help of faith-based Streets of Joy and Victory Outreach. In Brian’s final years he became a committed member of Faith Assembly of God. Christianity became his salvation.

Brian met the enormous challenges of his circumstances with great courage, immense love in his heart, and an unquenchable sense of fun. Those who survive him include his mother, Jane Bowers Stoneman; brothers Harold and Gary; stepbrothers Cary, Dan, Tod, and Glenn Stoneman; his beloved Aunt Diane; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. He leaves these loved ones with a fine set of remembrances of his love.

Here is Brian’s handwritten Last Will and Testament:

brian last will

Here is the transcript, mildly edited by his loving and grieving brother:

Last Will and Testament, November 24, 2012

I, Brian Bowers, being of sound mind, body, and spirit, do hereby appoint my mother Jane Bowers Stoneman to receive everything I own. One 1979 Datsun 260Z; one 1987 Nissan Pulsar NX SE; everything in the back house at [address] as well as everything I may own in the storage sheds and cabinets.

My wish is that she would direct the distribution of my assets; allow each of my nieces and nephew, one at a time, to choose any of my CDs and concert DVDs that they may want (of course, that’s after Mom takes what she wants); then allow blood kin to choose anything as remembrance or enjoyment. My Mother is in charge of any distribution of anything. I would hope that any of my food not go to waste.

My computer and TVs may be given or kept by my mother.

I would hope my brothers would get something as well.


signed Brian C. Bowers
November 24, 2012

Here is an array of medications Brian kept at his bedside:

brian pills

Finally, here is a poem I wrote this morning, meant to go with the above image:

no refills


let’s check you out

your lumbar grinds
you tend to seize
your bp is up there

you had this operation
so you need this this and this
and that procedure
so here is that and that

and now you have side effects
so here’s this for logy
that for grouchy
and the other just because you hurt

take them once and twice and thrice a day
with and without food

diet? exercise?
not our department


let’s check you out

you are calm–good
zero chance of seizure–excellent
no pain whatsoever–truly fine

and non-instruments detect
waves and waves of love
washing over you and through you

your reward awaits

you won’t be needing these any more

  1. Gary, I’m so very sorry for this loss of your valued brother. What a beautiful homage you’ve made. Deeply touching. May the light of the spirit sooth you and yours. Warmly, Jamie

  2. MOMENTS said:

    My deepest condolences, Gary. This post of yours is a lovely tribute to your deceased brother. You could not have done this better. I am also deeply touched. Love your poem.

  3. Marta, thank you so much. I am glad to share life in all its variety with you. I can say with absolute certitude that Brian would have enjoyed seeing you dance, just as I do.

  4. stringtheorystudio said:

    Nice tribute Gary, sorry for your loss. I lost two younger brothers and my mother in 2016. Time heals.

    • Thank you, Doug. It does heal. It also challenges. Getting back on an even keel has been an uphill battle.

      • stringtheorystudio said:

        Just know it gets better. I see a little from each of them in me and feel the need to carry on for them. Staying in touch with aunts, nieces and nephews is important and I need to do more of that. For them and me.

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