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If you don't know what happened, you have the right to know.

Today was the day I was looking forward to as I was supposed to be taking pictures with +Trey Ratcliff and hopefully +Tom Anderson, but in one phone call my life changed.


Early this morning I got the phone call that my dear friend of 25 years committed suicide.

I've been getting many messages throughout the day and I apologize for not being able to get to everyone of them.

I want each and everyone of you to know I am good and in the best of hands. I've spent most of my day with either Brian's family or my staff at work.

Many of you have asked how you can help, and for now I have only one request:

Please understand that you are more important than even you may realize. If there are things that get in the way of you loving that reflection in the mirror, then I challenge you to fix that.

In the case of my dear friend Brian, this appeared to be something that could not be fixed.

He was wrong about this, and now many of my friends hold their heads down hurting.

Learn to love yourself, please. I did, and now I can be here for Brian's family and loved ones.

I loved the man more than he did, and that's a crying shame.

Do fix yourself, and learn to love that person you see every damn day. Learn from this. Please.

Mean it, and yes: I am good. If you need me, I am right here with you in this time of pain.

I know many of you want to say "I am sorry" or, "what can I do?"

Do this: go find a mirror and learn to love that person. That's what I need you to do.
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55 comments
 
I am deeply sorry for your loss. I wish I could wrap you in a hug.
 
I'm so sorry for your loss, Barry. My thoughts are with you.
 
Hey +Barry Blanchard wow... real sorry to read this. Your message is spot on. It takes a strong person to take tragedy and turn it into a message of hope. Good for you brother. All our best to you and his family in this trying time.
Swee Oh
 
So sorry to hear about that. Hugs to you Barry.
 
:cry: I know how hard it is to lose a close friend, but there's no need to be sorry for not getting back to everyone. I've run a "Queer" support channel online since 1998, too, and at times it's involved urgent phone calls to help save a life, and at other times someone just never came back. You do all that you can, and if it was not enough, don't let it stop you loving the next person to need love, never stop caring.

Be well. Already you are strong.
 
Barry words can't even express...hugs, big hugs. Thanks for sharing something so personal. they are great words and perhaps you will reach someone today who really needed to hear it.
 
I am proof. You are proof. I am glad you are there. No one better.
 
Oh Barry... strong words and strong man.... proud to be your friend man... very very proud that you call me a brother!
 
Proud to call you a friend +Barry Blanchard. Keep your head up. I hope I still get a chance to see you while in the Bay Area over the next week.
 
MIles apart I understand your position at this moment.Loss of near & dear ones reaaly hurts , time heals ....Hope you have the courage to overcome this day of sorrow...
 
Be strong and do everything you can for your friend's family. Make sure to take care of you, too. I hope you are all able to get through this by the strength of each other.
 
I lost a good friend the same way this past year. I know and share your feelings on this matter. Learning to love yourself is the greatest thing anyone can do for themselves - though, one of the most difficult.
 
I take your message to heart and will help others find it too, as best as I am able.
 
I am so very sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
 
Barry... Brian's family, his friends and you are and will be in my prayers. You will be of great comfort to his family.
 
:::HUG:::
I have been there, lost someone very dear to me that way, and I agree-- there is no right thing to say or do, but just to learn to love yourself... which is something so many people sadly have never done. My heart goes out to you and everyone else in Brian's life.
 
My father took his life, I know the pain of losing someone close to you. I'm sorry to hear about Brian.
 
So sorry to hear that :( My condolences...
 
If I could take what you've said and insert it into the hearts and minds of several people very close to me, I would. I am so sorry for your loss, Barry.
 
To make it clear: I am good. I took care of my friend when he could not.

For this I have my peace with him. Its the many thousands of people who loved him so much that makes my day harder.

He leaves behind two wonderful children.

+Colby Brown save me a seat in the front row. As you know, I can't hear so good.

Life goes on... and we can all learn from this tragedy. To me he's a bit of an angel, and in his worst moment, he managed to teach me something.

Turn to someone near you, or call them and tell them you love them. That's what I need you to do. <3

I've come to love many of you, my new google friends. You know who you are.
 
Sorry to hear about your friend, Brian. I will pray for him and his family.
 
Know how that goes Barry. Don't forget to hug yourself at the end of the night <3
 
Although half a world apart, my heart and my thoughts are with you. I am so sorry for your loss. I know you are strong, still I am sending you positive supportive vibes.
 
Sorry for your loss. Great advice about the mirror, I really appreciate that. Every cloud has a silver lining.
 
I am so sorry for your loss !!
 
So sorry to hear about your dear friend. You and his loved-ones are in my thoughts. I've had my own struggles in the past and your mirror advice are words to live by. <3
 
wow. this is so perfectly written. i can't imagine your shock when you got that call barry. i am so sorry for everyone's loss :(
 
May God hold you and his family in the Palm of His hand and comfort your troubled heart. Thank you for imploring us to learn to love ourselves. I believe I was meant to see this message tonight as I continue on my path to self-love. It will be printed, laminated and taped to my mirror to remind me that others should not love me more than I love myself. Thank you for the gift of that reminder. (((((Barry))))))

I lost a friend to suicide 2 weeks ago which shook my world. I knew my friend was depressed but had no idea the depths of despair.

As you are likely aware, I have been dealing with deep depression in light of medical challenges, a long wait for a diagnosis and past wounds that never fully healed, but rather just scabbed over. I am currently in counseling because the light at the end of the tunnel was getting harder and harder to see. That does not make me better than my friend or Barry's friend; it simply means that while I am struggling, I am willing to learn to love myself. It has been a very long time of not feeling that I am enough, that no matter the achievements or the pain that I won't be validated on either end of the spectrum. It will take time to work through that. I will do gladly what you ask. I have a life to love myself into.
 
Oh Barry... I am so sorry for your friend. And I am so sorry that you've lost him.

So, so sorry. I cry for you, and for him. Wish I could give you a big hug..
 
Although it's difficult today to see beyond the sorrow, May looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow.
 
:-( Hopefully your message will help others.
 
I am so sorry to hear this, Barry. What a terrible shock. Hugs to you, my friend.
And, if anyone who is reading this can't find something to love about themselves, send them over to me ... I'll find something!
 
Thank you all.

+Tom Anderson that is exactly my message. I see you're more than just a pretty face, and I was really hoping to meet you today.

Stuff happens, and then we learn [if we chose to].

Bed time for this kid, and I am going to be fine.
 
Was going to bed and decided to check G+. Now here I lay fighting the tears.

He was an amazing man, sadly, with inner demons that could not be overcome.

I trust with all the public way we're expressing ourselves over Brians passing. This will enable us to always remember to reach for that hand when we're in need.

As well as implement your suggestion to face what we see the mirror and love it unconditionally. You encouraged me to do that when I visited Santa Cruz, I took it to heart and do so daily. My promise to you, and to Brian, is I will carry on that challenge to others.

Love others and more importantly start loving yourself and really living life.

Said it all day and even moments ago, but I want to say it again and again and again. Love you and miss you deeply friend.
 
I'm sorry for your loss, Barry. Your message will help people, and to them it's a good reminder that there are many out there who care about them and their wellbeing.
 
Your post has certainly inspired me.. Thank you! Sorry about what happened to Brian.. 
 
I don't know how I missed this yesterday.

Barry, thank you for being such an awesome person. I have taken your words to heart, as you have asked.
 
Thank you all for your wonderful words. I will be fine... I always get by with a little help from my friends.
 
Wow, what a great inspirational post in a time of such sadness and grief. The world would be a much better place if everyone could love themselves.
 
There really are no words in a time like this, but I am so very sorry.
 
I'm so sorry I missed this too. I'm sorry your friend chose this path, and my heart goes out to his friends and family.

I hope you know how special you are too.
 
Oh Barry I am so sorry for your loss. And yes as you say we must first learn to love ourselves and know that suicide is never the answer. Take care dear.
 
Hi Barry, you are so right. Losing someone like that is really really hard. My best to you -
 
So sad to hear about this. I found out my first ex committed suicide a couple years ago and then another friend killed herself this past Christmas. I know it can be very hard to deal with. If you need anything let me know.
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