Thursday, May 27, 2010

Where Our Love Rests

From May 2010 in Washington DC...a Poem...titled "Where Our Love Rests” from the upcoming Mill City Press Release by Brian Hayes

27 May 2010 – it’s my brother Kevin's birthday today...this will be the last posting this week as I will be traveling with the boys over the next couple of days to visit Jake’s college – it’s a hot and humid day in DC and it is starting to look like summer. I have several medical appointments next week that will preclude me from posting regularly so please be patient. The manuscript for the book is complete and submitted so other then cover art and some internal document changes I hope to have the initial draft back to me within two weeks for final inputs.

Enjoy the weekend


Where Our Love Rests

I long to feel your warm embrace
You’ve come to me with love
And asked to make us one in life
I’ll hold you there….above

No matter for what I do
I keep you held on high
Soon you will be one with me
Like the stars…held in the sky

I look to the heavens and search for help
In keeping you…close to me
And ask that all our dreams come true
For this…I will decree

That I will be forever
The man you…need of me
I will love you for a lifetime
And for all…eternity

For we have been together
And life…has just stood still
Our journey has been a treasure
A lifetime of love…to fill

Deep within our hearts
This love will always be
Together…within each of us
For as long as we can see

For every waking hour
And every passing day
You bought me to a new place
In all…you do and say

Yes..we shall be together
As it has always been
Our lives…are full of love
And our life…lies just within

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Happiness is only real...when shared

Its 26 May 2010...I just finished watching the movie “Into the Wild” ... many words can describe this dark drama as it plays out across the US and comes to its conclusion in the wilds of Alaska…however perplexing and disturbing are two terms that readily come to mind for me!

From a Readers Digest point of view the movie follows a young man who rejects the society that gave him so much; constant internal and external battles with his parents and ultimately a two year hike across the US before deciding to venture to Alaska where he ultimately starves to death. The End!

But there is so much more to this story then what I have just illuminated.

Into the Wild chronicles Christopher McCandless, the doomed Emory University graduate who tossed everything away to live the life of a hopeful vagabond crossing America in the early 1990’s. He scribbled the memorable quote...”happiness is only real...when shared” …while close to death from starvation in rural Alaska where he had been living for months.


The colorful, yet way too short life of McCandless is chronicled in Jon Krakauer's book (same name as the movie) and can be literally interpreted as a spoiled kid posturing through a pretentious rebellion against his troubled, yet privileged, youth. I take the opposite view however…as I see McCandless executing his own rebellion in an attempt to exorcise his past by experiencing life on his own romantic Thoreau-inspired terms...and I also credit him with having the wherewithal to do so.

McCandless is presented in both the book and the movie as somewhat of a tragic figure: a bountiful life full of individualistic adventures and internal searching; a life where his passion for living touched all he encountered…yet ended with his solitary death in a mammoth wilderness so far from those he cared about.

This, however, doesn't make his journey seem like a waste. To the contrary, until his lonely passing, the paths McCandless chose crammed a lifetime of passion into his short time among us. Hollywood has a way of romanticizing heroes, but with Krakauer's investigative techniques (he also authored The Dead Zone) there was no question that those with whom McCandless shared his nomadic quest were touched by the young man's enthusiastic zeal. The hippie couple who saw him as a younger vessel of themselves; the wild farmer (played by Vince Vaughn) whose wild ways were somewhat tempered by the naivety of McCandless, and the elderly religious widower (played by Hal Holbrook) whose lonely life was turned right-side-up by McCandless as the embodiment of a son whose life was lost decades earlier to a drunk driver.

In viewing the movie one sees that McCandless paints a strong and often spiritual significance where the book makes little or no mention of this apostolic aspect. Christ-like imagery of McCandles floating naked down a river in a crucifix pose; the hippies asking if he could walk on water; and an emotional scene on a mountain where the widower and McCandless touch on “the nature of God” …all of these moments (not to mention the last few minutes depicted of McCandless' life) point to a deeply felt appreciation of a divine touch in our own lives as well as the life of McCandless.

It's also telling that in the book the widower vehemently renounced God when he learned of the young man's lonely passing. Having left that piece out of the movie shows that, despite one sad man's disillusionment, the life of Christopher McCandless was somewhat of a spiritual touchstone for those that new him and should not have been overlooked.

In the End...

Having read the book as part of a psychology class I was taking several years ago and now having time to look at the movie one can easily see that McCandless embodied true individualism…and ran to Alaska in an effort to escape both a materialistic lifestyle as well as social entrapment…all the while seeking a peaceful and individual existence.

Look around us today…everyone is pursuing a college degree, a decent internship, a good post graduate school, a good salary, a good car, a good house, a better salary, a better car and a bigger house, and on and on...but McCandless’ core question still remains…”what is the meaning of life?”

I watched this movie and found some very poignant moments as well as some very candid questions that we as individuals and as a society need to ask ourselves…and truthfully answer.

I thought about myself and my kids as this movie played out on the screen…and how would I answer the question “what is the meaning of life?”

I don’t know the answer but with what I saw on the screen today as well as read in the book…and obviously for McCandless…simply making a difference in the lives of the individuals you come in touch with becomes the meaning of “happiness is only real…when shared”

As my time plays out…I can only hope that this is true…


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

With You in My Life

It is a grey Tuesday in DC and I am sitting and waiting on a weekly blood draw to ascertain how the new medication is working on my system. Many of you know that I am not a big fan of needles…I hate them...but it is a necessity and one that I can’t be lax upon. If you have been following the BLOG I have digressed for several weeks and concentrated on sports; the boys; poetry and other family matters. I received an email last night simply asking…”how are you?”

I have deflected this question for several weeks as I did not want to answer it. The fact of the matter is I have not gotten any worse however the converse is also true; I have not gotten any better. I received a new dosing and new medications (ACE Inhibitor/Blood Thinner) last week which is supposed to “stall” the heart muscle deterioration. Complications associated with this center on my liver and kidney function…henceforth the blood tests.

So with all of this I am still writing and finishing the manuscript based on publisher inputs for my first book. When that is done and submitted I am considering another book based on the operations we conducted in Central Asia; especially the Voz Island operation I wrote about previously.

One of my favorite poems is attached…it is titled “With You in My Life” and it was crafted back in 2005...and subsequently update last week. Back when it was originally crafted, it reflected the sentiment of many of my guys who were always complaining about not being home with their significant other...some very poigant moments spent disussing and listening about relationships and how important it is to have somebody at home while you are fighting abroad.

It’s amazing what a man will think about when he is under stress…and under fire while away from his significant other; the arguments; the good times; the not so good times and the longing for that single person who makes you complete. I think the salient point in this poem is the second to last stanza…for in it one realizes that it is not about geographical proximity to the one you care about…but simply having the thought of that person in your “mind and in your heart” that will keep you close no matter how long or how far you are away from each other.

I hope you enjoy the piece and as always…thanks for reading!


With You in My Life

When you stand beside me
Surely I can see
This life is full of promise
So this…I do decree

That as the hour passes
Each and every day
My love for you grows stronger
In all I do and say

As daylight fades to darkness
And nighttime…fills the sky
I’ll honor you with courage
For in can rely

Upon my love and gentle touch
To keep you close to me
My heart is placed within your hands
For all the world to see

That we are one together
And none…could take away
This love that we possess
For this…I’ll always pray

That God will keep you close
And love…will keep us strong
For in our mind…and our hearts
The life that we belong

No other can replace
Just what I found with you
Our life will always be
For this…we always knew

Monday, May 24, 2010

From 2004...and modified May 2010 in Washington DC...a Poem...titled "Thoughts for Today" ... from the upcoming book by Brian Hayes

A Thought for Today was a poem written in 2004 when I started to seriously consider poetry as a means of expressing what was going on in my life and what I was seeing around me. As I look back from where I sit today I see the elements that caused these lines to be placed onto paper back then reverberate today. It is as relevant for me now as it was then.

I have completed over 25 poems for inclusion in the book which is tentatively titled “Reflections of a Soldier’s Story...Through the Eyes of Poetry. I hope you enjoy it!

Thank You

Thoughts for Today

She made me laugh
I made her cry
What for am I to do
I loved her so…each and everyday
That our hearts beat true and true

And on that day… so long ago
We promised…never be alone
She stole my heart and kept it close
From that...I’ve truly grown

Her love was unconditional
For me…like none before
She knew of what I could provide her
Forever…more and more

From that moment...I loved her so
And always…I would say
You meant the absolute world to me
For this…I stop and pray…

That as time goes by…it heals most things
So I ask you for this thought
Keep me ever close in your mind
And forever…within your heart

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ride the Wind...

It was a great riding day...right before the rain began! As many of you know I have been a motorcycle enthusiast for years. I have owned probably twenty motorcycles over the past 10-15 years…suffice to say I am fan.

My current ride was actually a stunt bike from Hollywood. It is ugly, loud and very much a Harley Fat Boy…I have never ridden another bike as powerful or as inviting as this ride and my intention was never to be without this steed by my side.

In discussions with a friend a couple of days ago it became apparent that I will have to quit riding at some point in the near future based on my physical condition. The new medication that I take lowers my blood pressure and blackouts are a common occurrence until the body adjusts. I will miss many things in this life as you know but the solace that comes from riding has been therapeutic over the years…and I will miss it greatly.

I penned “Ride the Wind” today…the piece captures what I consider to be the essence of why I and others ride…simply stated…its escapism…at least if only for the duration of the ride.

It is often said that the only other people who really know what a motorcyclist feels when they come riding down the road are not people at all…it is the dog…yes the dog…with his head hanging out of the window while the car barrels down the highway at 70 miles per hour…I think they are right!

I hope you enjoy this piece…and for those of you that ride…ride on!


Ride the Wind…

When time and place
Take their toll
I climb on my bike
For that is the goal

I travel so close
And I ride…so far
I’ll ride in the sun
Then follow the star

That sets the course
On the highway I ride
With the wind in my hair
Memories by my side

As I quickly take off
And look to the rear
I accelerate past
Everything that I fear

I match the wind
Both in time and pace
With my bike I am one
As I quicken the chase

The ride it must soon
Come to and end
For my life has been lived
Like the road that does bend

With the wind in my hair
I remember the ride
The thrill of the speed
And the tears…I do hide

My bike…it now sits
For a chance…one time more
For the wind calls out
Like never before

When the light shines not
And the days…they are done
I will think of this ride
And the sights…and the fun

That I had on my bike
With the wind in my face
As I start to drift off
In time…and in space

Friday, May 21, 2010

What She Meant to Me

From 2008...and modified May 2010 in Washington DC...a Poem...titled "What She Meant to Me" ... from the upcoming book of poetry by Brian Hayes

What She Meant To Me was a poem that was written back in 2008 with the title change "means" versus "meant" based on things that were happening in my life at the time. It meant as much then as it does now and I hope you enjoy it


What She Meant to Me

She is the light
That guides me true
A place in time
That we both knew

Would be the life
As such we are
No matter where
How long…or far

She means more
Then time can tell
She is the one
My heart does swell

My pace quickens
My heart does rise
I see her stand…
Tears from my eyes

My life is void
Without her near
I need her strength
And love…sincere

She is the one
That dreams are made
For all my life
For this I’ve prayed

To be this one
That we should be
Forever in love
The world will see

I need her so
I can not say
Without her near
There is no way

That life will be
Worth living for
She took my breath
Like none before

Forever and ever
Our hearts should be
In love and life
I do decree

My life is lost
My time draws near
I sit and wait…
And live in fear

Her never knowing
What I back then
Held close in love
Yet never…again

A Place in History

"Great moments are born with great opportunity, that’s what we have here…that’s what we’ve earned game…if we played them 10 times they might win 9 but not this game…not tonight, tonight we run with them…tonight we stay with them and we shut them down…because we can!"

Coach Herb Brooks/1980 US Olympic Hockey Team

My son posted this quote a couple of weeks ago just prior to one of his final games at Colonial Forge High was meant as a motivational piece back in 1980 and was used as such for his game...I saw it work...the past coming back to motivate the present...great quotes have the ability to motivate...and this is one that does that!

I received an email yesterday from a good friend in New York…Rosemary Reeves. She sent a link to a New York Times article about West Point and its lacrosse team and how they shut down a national powerhouse to advance within the NCAA Lacrosse Tournament. The link is posted below for those that want to read it.

What you will take from the article is not how one team beat another…that happens everyday…what you will gain is insight into what it takes to win at life…perseverance, dedication and determination…for those attributes will help overcome adversity…whether it be on the lacrosse field or the battlefield…or anywhere in between. It’s a poignant article and one that calls for reflection and pause given everything that is going on in the world today.

Now for those of you who have not followed lacrosse closely let me set the stage for you…a major milestone happened last weekend at the NCAA Playoff’s…West Point beat the defending National Champions Syracuse. To put this in layman’s perspective…since the NCAA tournament began in 1971, Syracuse has been the champion 10 times, more than any other school and West Point has never reached the finals. Add to the aforementioned that Syracuse has won 14 of the teams’ last 15 meetings and you can see why West Point’s victory has been lauded by many as the biggest upset in college lacrosse history.

This Saturday on the hallowed ground that is West Point seven seniors out of a graduating class of over 1000 will soon take another step in there life and ascend to the rank of Second Lieutenant…those same fine men will later “suit up” to play the next game in the tournament…but win loose or draw they have already achieved what many thought could not be done…a place in history.

I have written before that Hollywood is often times considered a microcosm of what is actually happening in life around us. This victory last week draws many similarities from some of the great sports movies presented in the past…but three for me stand out:

1. On Any Given Sunday where Al Pacino, as an aging coach, delivers what many consider to be the most iconic and motivational speech ever in a locker-room environment just prior to taking on the division champions;
2. Miracle where coach herb Brooks takes the 1980 US Olympic Ice Hockey past the USSR…considered to be the worlds best at the time…all the way to the gold medal
3. The Replacements with Gene Hackman and a fictitious Washington DC football team who during a strike period use a comical amalgamation of players to capture the division title against what could only be characterized as insurmountable odds

Now the core difference in what happened last weekend at West Point versus the Hollywood scenarios presented above…many of these cadets who play lacrosse…and the faithful legions of others that watch…will not go on to make movies or simply wait for the next opportunity…they will find themselves fighting in far off lands so that future generations can enjoy the same freedoms and dreams that took place last weekend on a lacrosse field as part of a national tournament…and to me…that means a whole lot more then the Hollywood version.

I spoke briefly about perseverance, dedication and determination earlier in this posting…for those that have never experienced the “cadet life” …it can be a tough road …yet a very rewarding one... and while college contemporaries are attending parties and sleeping in, the men and women of West Point are learning one more valuable quality that separates them from all the others…discipline.

What the West Point team did last week was not only show courage…but they also showed discipline. As a sports official I have seen underdogs come back and win; conversely I have seen powerhouse teams loose it in the last period of a championship game. In either case it comes down to discipline…and that is something that is taught at West Point. For all the hours of walking the “Quad” … for all the hours learning the “Code” … for all the hours learning your role and responsibility as a citizen, as a cadet and as an Officer in the United States Army…it takes discipline…and that is what those fine men showed last weekend in knocking of the perennial favorite and national powerhouse Syracuse…they showed discipline.

Space would limit the accolades one could bestow upon these players…but they would never want it…for those that choose the life of the military don’t do it because they want or need notoriety…they do it for other reasons; love of country; service to a nation; a calling. The win last week will forever be etched into their minds and will become the catalyst for how these fine men will lead future engagements overseas…with a drive and vision towards perseverance, dedication and determination and yes …discipline.

Well done gentlemen…well done!

Brian Hayes

Look Into My Eyes

From May 2010 in Washington DC...a Poem...titled "Look Into My Eyes" from the upcoming Mill City Press Release by Brian Hayes

Look into my eyes
And you will surely see
The kind of love needed
From the man I am to be

I’ve thought long and hard
Of this time we’ve been apart
Without you in my life
I am…a broken heart

The time I spend alone
Without you close to me
My life taken apart
In constant misery

With each passing hour
Our troubles start to weigh
Times of darkness and of peril
I don’t know what to say

No matter what my fate
I’ll forever love you true
Life has taught me a lesson
And I will see it through

I love you with my heart
My mind body and soul
But to be apart from you
Has begun to take its toll

I can’t help but imagine
The life that could have been
I look at your picture
And I cry from deep within

The man I am today
Is not the one you knew
He died late one night
At a time you couldn’t view

You can see it in my eyes
And feel it in my heart
To be away from you
Simply tears my world apart

I wish that you could see
That I’ll love you till my end
I’ll walk the earth alone
Till death I do ascend

The love of my life has left
As I now prepare to die
My love she never knew
Unless she looked into my eyes

Brian Hayes

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Rain.....

From 2002 and revised May 2010 in Washington DC...a Poem...titled "The Rain" from the upcoming Mill City Press Release by Brian Hayes

“Whoever said that sunshine brings happiness...has never danced in the rain”


It’s a rainy day in Virginia…the kind of day for reflection.

Late last evening I stumbled across some writings I had accumulated back in early 2002-2004…one piece of material stood out today above all others. As I looked at my notes I was able to see that several key events shaped the language and subsequently the poem that follows…but primarily it was a Clint Black song titled “Like the Rain” The song stirs many emotions when you listen to its words…and in my case…it left an indelible impression on what I was writing at the time.

It is my belief that many people would feel the same after listening to the song and reading the prose below…that when the rain falls it is always better to be with someone…then it is to be alone.

It is often said that life is a series of paradoxes…and one might to is this poem.

As I travel throughout the area on a sunny day I get to see couples walking the streets and the trails…hand in hand without a care in the world...yet on a rainy day you don’t see that…you really don’t see much of anything…other then the rain…and therein lies the paradox…the need for companionship, compassion and empathy on a day when the light does not shine bright and the road ahead does not offer much of the aforementioned.

It is my hope that you will read this…and maybe…listen to the Clint Black song…and take not from it the paradox…but the need for a special someone.


The Rain

I always listen to the rain
For it brings me close to you
No matter time or place in life
My soul begins…anew

I listen as it falls
Upon the earth so bright
I wait to hear its calming sound
And fall asleep at night

In constant thought and waking dream
In love…for could it be
I hear the rain both day and night
And long for you with me

To hold and shelter as it drives
Across this place so dry
Our love is like the clouds above
Perched throughout the sky

We hold our lives together
Like the many drops of rain
And carry deep within our hearts
The love that shall remain

A constant thought of life as one
Forever…it shall be
I hear the rain upon us now
And this promise…I make to thee

For like the rains that soak the earth
I stand right by your side
To love, honor and cherish you
My life…I shall provide

Brian Hayes

Monday, May 17, 2010


From May 2010 in Washington DC...a Poem...titled "The Temptation" from the upcoming Mill City Press Release by Brian Hayes

The Temptation

I see the door before me
It beckons just once more
I'm walking down a path
The way I had before

The path it does not lead
To a place I want to be
For in your loving arms
My heart and soul…you'll see

For I have walked down
This road without a name
A mistake in time was made
And for that…I live in shame

I have taken what was precious
And cast it just aside
Time…it now stands still
And my life is on this ride

The mistakes that I have made
Have hurt ...yes…its true
But in my mind the path I walk
Leads me…straight back to you

To the one that I am destined
To spend forever with you see
Our love will be rekindled
And my life…I pledge to thee

It’s the man who knows what’s right
And where he went…awry
And the pain he caused her deeply
When late at night she cried

Knowing that she loves him
Is all…he really needs
To guide and make him stronger
In action…love…and deeds

They lived amongst so much
And been through so much pain
But a life without each other
Is a life…lived just in vain

Temptation… it’s around us
But with love…we make it through
That bridge is never crossed
As long as I’m with you

My Inner Strength...

From May 2010 in Washington DC...a Poem...titled "Another Chance" from the upcoming Mill City Press Release by Brian Hayes

Another Chance

As the flight takes hold
I am lifted…on high
I gaze at the heavens
And ask the Lord why

I’ve been given this chance
In my mind…I do see
That the one that I need
Stands right beside me

Her love is of the essence
And my being…forever true
I look to her heart
For the reasons…I knew

I sit and ask
Do you feel this for me
We talk about life…
And the loss…that will be

The light shines bright
And heaven fills the sky
I look to her strength
And softly…I cry

I know I am close
The time…I can see
What lies just ahead
She will…always be

The one I adore
And hold in my dream
Of heaven on earth…
Or so… it would seem

Brian Hayes

Take a Step Back...


It was a fantastic weekend in Virginia…no matter the score of the game, the weather or a bad dinner on Sunday evening! We had an opportunity to hang out, catch up and just relax. Seems these moments are becoming fewer and fewer as we get older.

The great college basketball coach Dean Smith once wrote

“If you treat every situation as a life or death matter, you’re going to die a lot of times”

Now for me the past couple of months have foreshadowed something inevitable and I continue to not only wrestle with that but also try to understand it in the grand scheme of things. In the context of Coach Smith’s comment I could just stay locked up in the house 24/7 watching Oprah (I don’t) and re-runs of Sponge Bob (sometimes...)just waiting for my time…but I don’t...not because I can't but because I choose not to!

This weekend was an absolute blessing…and as you may be aware school is winding down and the boys are anxious to get out and start summer activities. In the interim we have to finish Lacrosse season as well. Friday was the start of playoffs for Jake’s Varsity Team at Colonial Forge. Now suffice to say they played a good game that was unfortunately ended early by weather…the scoreboard read 5-2 in favor of the opposition…and that score remained as they called the game 45 minutes later due to lightening. Sitting in the audience, I watched as Jake scored the first goal of the game for his team…but was even more thrilling was hearing Ian’s say…”watch this Dad…he’s going to score”…and he did. Ian’s narration was spot on…probably because of the amount of time they spend together playing this sport…and the fact that as brothers they are very close.

Jake also assisted (a great pass) on the second and final goal of the Colonial Forge HS season

You could see the disappointment in Jake’s eyes as they were getting ready to board the bus…but again…as Coach Smith stated and I have always imparted upon the boys…this is not a life or death situation…sometimes the better team wins and this was one of those times.

Within 30 minutes of getting back to school Jake was informed that he had been selected as a Conference All Star…the only one from his school to attain that honor. I wanted to tell Jake that it’s a good thing we did not treat the game loss as a life or death matter or quite frankly…he would not be around to reap the rewards of being selected as an All Star…but…I bit my tongue…I figured he would get that!

I too had a “life or death” situation on Friday…I loaned Jake the use of my convertible for a couple of hours while I took Ian over to the DMV to register his car and make it officially Ian’s…..he was not really “stoked” sitting at DMV for over an hour (neither was I!) but it was an eye opener for him on what is required to have a vehicle on the road. As soon as we were walking out we got a call from Jake…the clutch in my car has gone out while he was driving it…and they were pushing it to a parking space!

Now some may consider this to be life or death…at previous stages in my life…maybe I would have…but in reality it was not…the bill to fix it almost killed me but it was not life or death! With Ian’s help I was able to get the car situated and we were able to find a mechanic (from Iraq)…after talking about his hometown (Al Hilla) and the fact that I had been there I was able to get a “good” price to repair Ian’s car. Again...nowhere near a life or death situation.

Now we had a great weekend…and again…some “bad” things happened but nothing that can’t be rectified with a deep breath and a step back. And therein lies the lesson for Jake and Ian…as well as everyone else…Coach Smith’s comments could be taken literally or revamped to say something like… if it does not involve your health or the health and welfare of a loved one then in reality its not a life or death situation! Whether it’s the car; the loss of a game; a bad meal or just DC traffic…we all know what it is…and more importantly…what it is not…and we all know to take a step back and look at it in the greater scheme of things.

Oh...I forgot…Jake was also in the hospital on Saturday for a large portion of the day…he is fine and I will fill you in on Tuesday…along with an update on a new medicine that they want to put me on.



Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Path Less Traveled

From May 2010 in Washington DC...a Poem...titled "The Path Less Traveled" from the upcoming book of poetry by Brian Hayes

The Path Less Traveled

I take the path less traveled
And wonder every day
Did she ever really love me
At times I often say…

She was my dose of sunshine
My eternal being…true
When she walks the path in front of me
My heart…beats ever true

My life has been defined
By the things I do and say
She complimented this life
Every second…of every day

In the morning sun
When light shines at its most
She warms my inner being
And I ache to hold her close

And when I hold her near
I’ll never let her go
She is the perfect woman
I will always…love her so

I take the path less traveled
In all I do and say
My life is soon complete
In each...and every way

Friday, May 14, 2010

What We Did for Our Country...Part II

This is a continuation of what the posting on May 7, 2010; many of the same people participated in these missions over many months and the end we did was to make sure that biological materials (Anthrax) as well as the equipment needed to make it would never wind up in the hands of terrorists.

The US had never undertaken a mission of this scope and magnitude previously yet the impact of the operation in terms of removing the means to make biological weapons was huge.

I hope that this posting causes some folks to pause as these are the types of missions that saved lives across the globe...and not just for the United States…for biological weapons do not abide by borders or kill based solely on ethnicity, skin color or political views...they are the most dangerous and lethal of all the weapons of mass destruction...and this facility needed to be destroyed.


The Stepnogorsk Bioweapons facility in Northern Kazakhstan was once the world's largest biological warfare development and production facility, with a nominal annual production capacity of 300 tons of agent per year. Stepnogorsk was established in the 1964, though it is not marked on Soviet maps and it has been variously designated Makinut-2, Tselinograd-25, and Aksu. The center for the manufacture of bacteriological weapons was built ten kilometers away from the settlement of Stepnogorsk, a town whose population had grown to over 60,000 by 1989. As late as 1990, Biopreparat researchers tested Marburg virus on monkeys and other small animals in special explosion-test chambers at the Stepnogorsk plant in an effort to understand the lathality of these agents.

From the Press:

“The massive, highly covert Soviet offensive BW program left a legacy of vulnerable technology, pathogens, and expertise. The dismantlement of the Stepnogorsk anthrax production and weaponization facility in Kazakhstan eliminated the capability to produce and weaponize over 300 tons of biological agents during a wartime mobilization period… today, its dismantlement is complete”

Center for Nonproliferation Studies
Monterey, CA


Mr. Brian Hayes along with a hand picked and highly specialized team of biological experts, facilitated the complete and total of destruction of the Stepnogorsk Scientific Experimental and Production Base (SNOPB) Biological Facility, in Stepnogorsk, Kazakhstan. During this multi-year mission his team facilitated operations as both a United States Army Officer and a Department of Defense Official (Civilian) to destroy the complete biological production infrastructure at this site while suffering zero loss of personnel or equipment.

Facility Background:

The main purpose of the Stepnogorsk Biological Facility was to test and certify pilot-scale and large-scale methods of producing Biological Weapons (BW) agents developed by the former Soviet Union.

Stepnogorsk was the largest of six existing plants in the Soviet system designed for the large-scale production and weaponization of biological agents such as Anthrax, Plague, Marburg, and Tularemia. The Stepnogorsk facility specialized in a unique form of anthrax that was resistant to vaccines available at that time. Western and Russian weapons experts have continually referred to Stepnogorsk as the Soviet Union’s main facility for the manufacture of biological weapons and one the largest installations ever created to do so. Stepnogorsk was built in 1982 and became operational soon after.

Mr. Hayes, on his own accord obtained construction documents of the facility from a construction center in Moscow, Russia which showed that the Stepnogorsk Facility design incorporated the most advanced developments in industrial biotechnology at the time, including the use of special materials such as reinforced concrete, German production equipment and a vast array of bio-security measures designed to elude potential detection by adversaries.

In 1998 at the direction of various governmental agencies, Mr. Hayes personally debriefed the former Director General of Stepnogorsk, COL. Gennadiy Lepyoshkin, on biological weapons production and facility contamination specifics prior to negotiating a joint US-KZ dismantlement contract. COL Lepyoshkin made several key points of Stepnogorsk known to Mr. Hayes:

1. Stepnogorsk continued research and development work on anthrax that previously had been conducted at the MOD institute in Sverdlovsk. That work had been curtailed in 1979 after an accidental release of anthrax spores from the facility killed some 70 people and stockpiles of anthrax were sent to the Aral Sea Test Facility for burial.

2. From 1984 to 1987, core specialists and equipment from Sverdlovsk were transferred to SNOPB.

3. In addition to anthrax, the Stepnogorsk facility produced staphylococcus toxin, as well as plague and tularemia and worked on a myriad of other agents

The Elimination Mission:

While attending graduate school (1997) in Monterey, CA then Major Brian Hayes wrote a classified thesis on the burgeoning problem with underground facilities and biological production sites. This thesis was a direct reflection of previous work conducted for the Intelligence Community that delved into weapons of mass destruction and materials proliferation across the globe.

Prior to his graduate studies, Mr. Hayes conducted a myriad of research and theoretical discussions while assigned as an operations officer for the US Army. In this capacity he was a lead planner on a specialized project focused on designing advanced defeat technologies aimed at eliminating the underground facilities in threat countries. His work also looked at other countries that had started to show interest in biological weapons in an effort to devise a clear and concise methodology to defeat facilities where they were produced. At this time the proscribed method was to utilize large blasts to destroy the facilities and incinerate the agent. Mr. Hayes quickly surmised that an alternative solution, focused on technical rather then tactical solutions had to be developed in order to ensure that biological material would not be inadvertently released into the environment during an offensive operation.

Commencing in late 1998, Major Hayes led numerous missions to various FSU biological facilities in identification and destruction of biological production materials at these sites. These missions afforded his firsthand knowledge of the methods and operational context of these facilities and how to defeat them.

Throughout 1999, Mr. Hayes and his team, in conjunction with the Government of Kazakhstan and the United States Ambassador to Kazakhstan negotiated for the total elimination of the Stepnogorsk Biological Facility. Mr. Hayes was able to fully destroy all production and weaponization aspects of this facility including milling, drying, fermentation and other vital components. This was extremely important as the United States came to grips with countries such as Iraq, Iran and Syria as well as terrorist organizations seeking biological weapons.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Note...for All

Good Morning...It is a great day here in DC…rain has stopped falling and I have much to do today.

I wanted to drop a note to all regarding the last couple of days and the postings that have appeared on this Blog. Please take note that these poems are from an upcoming book that I working with Mill City Press to have published. Many of these poems began as "thoughts" while overseas and provided me intellectual pursuits while the action continued around us.

In other instances, and based on my doctoral work, I watched and viewed the interaction of couples as part of ongoing coursework and wrote about those interactions as well as the trials and tribulations of marriage.

The crux of posting these poems in this venue was quite simply to share with those interested my writings over the my eldest son commented..."I never knew you wrote poetry"

Now...all that said...if what I have written strikes a chord or ushers the reader to another place in time...then as a budding author…I have done my duty!

I hope that you will view these poems as I have written and have intended; as purely literary works...and not as a microcosm or snapshot of my own life…unless otherwise noted.

Looking forward to receiving more feedback…and hopefully this clears up any misperceptions about these poems. As a friend last week commented..."Green Berets don't write poetry"...this is where he was wrong!



For When This Night is Over

From May 2010 in Washington DC...a Poem...titled "For When This Night is Over" from the upcoming book of poetry by Brian Hayes

For When This Night is Over...

I am tired…weak and lonely
This path that I must walk
In order to go home one day
My love…for just to talk

She brings the light through the darkness
And makes each day shine
Her love is unconditional
My life…would be…just fine

If I awaken from the darkness
And a light…I can not see
Keep me close and in your heart
For the man…I know I’ll be

For you…my heart grows stronger
With… each passing day
For I know a love is waiting
If only…I could say…

Night has come and the daylight gone
My mission… I must go
You are forever…in my heart
I’ll always know

I’ll love you always…till my end…
In oh so many ways
Let our lives be lived as only one
Forever…through these days

Brian Hayes

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

When Darkness Falls...

From 2007 and modified May 2010 in Washington DC...a Poem...titled "When Darkness Falls" ... from the upcoming book of poetry by Brian Hayes

When Darkness Falls

When darkness falls upon my night
And heaven shines so true
I think about the one I loved
And the things…I thought we’d do

We’d sail the oceans everyday
And hold each other tight
To make the trip so wonderful
Into…the morning light

We’d climb the hills so tall and true
Your hand in mine I’d be
To look into your eyes so clear
And in my mind…I’d see

A walk…across the beach
A couple…hand in hand
Lives held together in deep embrace
Their feet…warmed by the sand

And when the darkness falls
Upon this glorious night
I’d lift my head toward the heavens
And see the stars…so bright

Lest…I never will forget
Your love…so pure and true
It’s taken me to many places
But this…you always knew

Forever in your debt
Until my time…you shall see
I need to keep your voice so close
And feel you…next to me

My eyes…they grow tired
And my life…drifts far away
But forever…within your heart
Is where…I’ll always stay

Brian Hayes

To Make Her Mine...

From 2008 and modified May 2010 in Washington DC...a Poem...titled "To Make Her Mine" ... from the upcoming book of poetry by Brian Hayes

To Make Her Mine…

As each day passes
Often slow
I miss my Love…
But does she know

That the time
We were away
I missed her with
Each passing day

We...were one
In heart and soul
Together always
Our lives…were whole

To walk a path
That bought us near
To the things we loved
And held so dear

Why we were
Just meant to be
In love for life
Just you and me

She was my life
To this…it’s true
I loved this woman
I wish she knew

We were a couple
In time she’d see
To love her so
Down on my knee

I’d make her mine
In all I do
Our love was one
But this…she knew

Brian Hayes

Monday, May 10, 2010

When Life Comes Full Circle...

“My life was make believe…but in it…you were real”
From the movie Big Fish

I just finished watching Big Fish. It was a fantastic movie and given my current health situation it offered some insights into answering the inevitable questions about my past and the things I have done…especially from my children.

In general terms, the movie follows a young man through his life as he tries to reconcile his memories of his father (who is on his deathbed) in an effort to find out who he really is…he always saw his father as an irresponsible liar and storyteller and now he comes to understand the root of his dad's exaggerations and the depths of the reality of said stories.

The book is written as a chronological series of tall tales. Despite the novel's first-person narration, there is virtually no present tense within the movie other then the angst of a son trying to find out who his father really is. The various stories are a retelling of tales of the father’s life and range in scope from finding his wife at the circus, a near death experience battling a wolf and helping a gentle giant understand his role in life.

Somebody once said that Hollywood is a microcosm of our lives and that no matter the movie we can always find some element of truth as it pertains to life we led…for 125 minutes today I watched a portion some of my life unfold on the screen in front of me…and found new meaning in making sure my sons are not left with questions…and that they know my life had meaning and purpose.

The most poignant aspect of Big Fish was the funeral and the cast of characters in attendance.

The son was still skeptical of his Dad right up to the point when the fathers friends started arriving to pay their final respects...including the gentle giant; the man who turned into the wolf and the friend who robbed banks…it was a turning point for the son …and his family…all the stories came full circle…and the remaining questions were ultimately answered at this gathering.

For me this movie afforded the opportunity to not only look back on my own life and how it will be perceived but also how to assist in addressing Jake and Ian’s questions on what has happened.

If you have a moment...this movie is well worth your time to rent and view…I hope to sit and watch it with the boys…or at least talk about it with them after they watch it…either way…it provided several lighthearted moments as well as some serious moments of intense introspection today...all at a time when I needed it most.


The River...

From 2006 and modified May 2010 in Washington DC...a Poem...titled "The River" ... from the upcoming book of poetry by Brian Hayes

The River

Our love is like a river
Flowing…as we go
Along the banks of life
To a place…we both know

We are for each other
Or so it’s often said
We walk the river banks
To a life…that lies ahead

The water is inviting
It calls us…deep and blue
Our love survives its depth
Forever…it is true

We watch the water flow
As life…goes marching on
We hold each other close
For it’s the edge…that we are drawn

Another could never take
The dreams…that we have made
As the water gently flows
I’ve often sat…and then I prayed

That no matter…you will keep me
Deep within your heart
As the waters flow by
Lest we never…be apart

We walk the river banks
Always…hand in hand
You look into my eyes
For it’s the life that we had planned

The path is right in front of us
Let’s walk it….while we can
With love…trust…and honor
Forever…I’ll be your man

To keep you close and in my heart
Like the river…deep and blue
Never wander from your life
For this…I say and do

Friday, May 7, 2010

What we did...for our Nation (Part1)

Its 7 May 2010 - I had a great visit from my friend Ben several days may remember he was one of the individuals who I wrote of previously and was with us in 2002 in Uzbekistan. We had a great dinner and even better conversation about the work we did in removing a massive stockpile of anthrax from a former Soviet Biological Test Facility in the Aral Sea.

Yes…I did say anthrax!

Now this was not your average mission…nor was it one that was considered conventional by any means...the US Government had never undertaken a mission of this scope or magnitude before. It was an amalgamation of people, skills and some luck bought together and placed in one of the most remote corners of the world in order to prevent a large stockpile of biological material from falling into the hands of terrorists…and I was fortunate enough to lead it…along with some other very honorable folks!

There were many personalities who had a hand in the success of that operation…and yet what we did...the mission…albeit unclassified…never saw the light of day. It was a testament to how we as Nation conduct those secretive and necessary activities which are of great importance…with little or no fanfare...or any accolades to those involved. It is the nature of the business we lived and worked in.

Our timeline mirrored ongoing missions in Afghanistan including Operation Anaconda…and so while the US Army, Marines and the Air Force were rooting out terrorists in the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan our small cadre of subject matter experts was silently removing the largest known…and unguarded…repository of biological material the world had ever seen.

To place this into context…the amount of biological materials at this site was enough to kill all of the people in the world…several times over! Something needed to be done.

From a Monterey Institute publication regarding what this team did:

"The primary purpose of the expedition was to prevent potential adversaries from acquiring biochemical materials that could pose a significant risk and danger to Uzbekistan and the United States,"

Ben and I had chatted about the dynamics of that operation…the people…the developing personalities…and how what was planned in Washington, DC was not was executed on the ground once we arrived in country. We talked about the helicopters; the broken equipment; the lack of water and the threat we all faced when we undertook this operation. We talked about the meaning of having good people no matter where you are or what you are doing…for that was the measure of success for this mission.

I have captured many photos and memories of this significant mission…talking with Scott Harvey always brings up other memories that I totally forgot…I go into information overload! Ben was also a repository of some great stories as well.

What follows is a synopsis to help readers understand the scope of what we were up against as well as its significance…when people hear about it they are astonished…it makes for a great story…but when they understand the scope of the operation and its significance and meaning to our Nation…they are thankful…thankful for the people who risked their lives and the sacrifices order to preserve our freedom.

What you will read below is written materials put together in an effort to capture the history of the biological program in the former Soviet Union as well as the critical aspects of our operation. It is presented as part of a book that I would have continued authoring in conjunction with another member of our mission...but my time left currently stands in the way of that effort.

I hope you enjoy…and more importantly understand...what we did!



Biological Facility Background:
In the spring of 1988, Russian Biological Scientists located 850 miles east of Moscow were ordered by the Kremlin to undertake their most critical mission to date. Working with unparalleled speed and absolute secrecy, the scientists in the city of Sverdlovsk transferred hundreds of tons of weapons grade anthrax bacteria -- enough to destroy the world many times over -- into giant stainless-steel transport canisters. They haphazardly poured a makeshift bleach compound into the containers in a futile effort to decontaminate the deadly pink powder. They packed the canisters onto a military transport train two dozen cars long and sent the illicit cargo almost a thousand miles across Russia and Kazakhstan and then by air to a remote island in the heart of the inland Aral Sea. Here, Russian soldiers dug cavernous pits and poured the toxic sludge into the ground, attempting to bury the germs and eliminate illicit evidence of any violation of the Biological Weapons Convention.

Vozrozhdeniya Island was a natural choice for this deception based on its remoteness from the rest of the world. Renaissance Island, as it translates from the Russian, had been the Soviet Union's major open-air biological weapons testing facility.
In the period up through 2002, Renaissance Island, which the former Soviet republics of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan share, was the world's largest anthrax burial ground.

Located in the central Aral Sea, Vozrozhdeniya Island was one of the main laboratories for the Soviet Union’s Microbiological Warfare Group. In 1948, a top-secret Soviet bioweapons laboratory was established there to further advance the Soviets domination in biological warfare. Word of the island's danger was further spread by Soviet defectors, including Ken Alibek, the former head of the Soviet Union's bioweapons program. It was here, according to Alibek (and based on Mr. Hayes’ work) that anthrax, plague and other biological warfare agents were weaponized and stored.

The main town on the island was Kantubek, which lies in ruins today, but once held approximately 1,500 inhabitants including weapons scientists, family members, military personnel and support staff.

The laboratory staff members abandoned the island in late 1991. Many of the 66 gallon containers containing the anthrax spores sent here in 1988 were not properly stored or destroyed and posed a potential proliferation risk if continued to be left unguarded. Word of this secret storage facility began to leak out and action was needed to ensure its identification and physical security.

The Removal of the Biological Threat

In the spring of 1999 Mr. Brian Hayes and a hand picked team were tasked by the Department of Defense to deploy to the former Soviet Union Biological Weapons Testing Facility on Voz Island to confirm a myriad of speculative questioning and to conduct specialized tasks associated with the islands past history including:
1. Identification of key production, research and development facilities on the island and any contamination issues;

2. Isolation and testing of residual contamination within the test area, administrative area and within the test grid to identify feasibility for follow-on decontamination operations in support of the government of Uzbekistan, and

3. Identification, marking and testing of reported burial pits purported to contain live weaponized anthrax from Russia sent to this site in 1988 (Author note: The anthrax was hastily transported and subsequently buried on the island in 1988 after Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev decided that the discovery of a stockpile of anthrax in eastern Siberia would be an embarrassment if Western countries ever found it. The West had suspected the Soviet Union was in violation of a 1972 treaty banning biological weapons ever since a 1979 accident at Sverdlovsk, 850 miles east of Moscow, released anthrax spores that reportedly killed some 70 people)

After making an initial technical assessment while on the site the team lead by Mr. Hayes reported back to US officials that the anthrax had been found. Mr. Hayes’s team readied materials for transport back to the US for further diagnosis. After an interagency effort determined that the anthrax lying in the pits was viable and the subsequent risk to the US and its allies was great a mission to eliminate the materials had to be developed and executed. In October, 2001 the Department of Defense made the decision that based on various movements by Al-Queda and other terrorist organizations who were actively seeking biological materials for a “global jihad” against the West planning should commence to eliminate the largest unsecured stockpile of anthrax.

The Mission(s):

In late 2001 Mr. Hayes was selected by the Department of Defense to lead another specialized team back to the island to ascertain exactly how much anthrax existed at the site, its total lethality and how best to accomplish any future large scale elimination effort. Having assembled a unique team of linguists, military personnel and analysts the team further isolated the site containing the live anthrax as well as took additional samples from several of the major structures at the complex to ensure that no residual contamination remained within. Where contamination was present in these structures, Mr. Hayes destroyed it in an effort to remove any future impediments to launching a large scale pathogen destruction mission.

In January 2002, with little fanfare or public knowledge the Department of Defense authorized the Voz Island Pathogenic Destruction Operation (VIPDO) with Mr. Hayes as the Mission Director. Mr. Hayes selected a second team of specialists including contractors, scientists and linguists to work in conjunction with scientific counterparts from Uzbekistan to eliminate the buried materials.

Initial deployments began in March 2002 to establish a footprint in the former sea-town of Nukus, Uzbekistan in an effort to secure the necessary equipment to execute the perilous task.

The team fully deployed to Voz Island in Aprl 2002 and immediately commenced destruction operations. The accelerated timeline as well as other environmental factors, labor and equipment issues resulted in a myriad of complex destruction methods being scrapped for simpler more cost effective methods designed by Mr. Hayes’ team.

In June, 2002 the VIPDO was completed 2 weeks ahead of schedule. Mr. Hayes reported back to the Government of Uzbekistan and the US Ambassador to the region that the unsecured anthrax had been totally eliminated from this former testing site.

The operation was successful on many fronts…but I think these are the most important:

1. Complete destruction of almost 300 metric tons of live anthrax spores left over from the USSR with zero contamination to the work force or the surrounding environment

2. Removed the largest unsecured proliferation threat in the world whereby ensuring that the material could not be used in a nefarious manner against the US, the Government of Uzbekistan or any of their allies.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

From April 2010 in Washington DC...a Poem...titled "I Watched Them Grow" ... from the upcoming book of poetry by Brian Hayes

I Watched Them Grow..

I carried them in my arms
And held them…
Oh so tight

I watched them grow
And become young men
In the early morning light

They are my salvation
My being…
And all…that’s true

But with the passing
Of my time
Their life begins…anew

I look at them...
And to the future
Held right before their eyes

As they follow on
The path placed out
Full of wonder…and surprise

Mistakes were made
And lessons…learned
But in…the very end

To watch them grow
Beside me now
My life…they comprehend

They understand its meaning
And the things
I said...and do

As I slowly start
To slip away…
My love...they always knew

Brian Hayes

We Cant Change the Cards..Only the Way We Play Them

Tuesday, 4 May 2010 was an interesting day…I was fortunate to have a great friend from North Carolina over and we spent many hours discussing my diagnosis, what is going on in my life and what is happening with mutual friends…I had another friend call and I had to deliver the news of my condition…and then I received an email about somebody named Dr. Randy Pausch.

I had heard the name but needed a refresher...who was this guy?

Dr. Pausch was featured throughout the internet and on CBS news back in 2007…he was the Carnegie Mellon University Professor who authored the book “The Last Lecture” – it was a monumental best seller and for those of you who are readers it is well worth reading! For those of you who are a bit more technically savvy (my Dad is not) there is a great video of his lecture on You Tube (

When you watch this video you are immediately drawn to how well this man who has less then 6 months to live actually looks. He is in great shape…and he is very cognizant of all that is going on around him. He is stellar speaker…and yes…he is dying.

One of his prime comments from his speech captured my attention:

"Almost all of us have childhood dreams; for example, being an astronaut, or making movies or video games for a living. Sadly, most people don’t achieve theirs, and I think that’s a shame. I had several specific childhood dreams, and I’ve actually achieved most of them.”

After several moments of reflection…I looked back on these words and found comfort…comfort in the fact that I too had reached my childhood dreams and accomplished what I had set out to do…all of them.

The video was also a great overview of how people handle personal adversity; two groups of thought on this one…some people choose to ignore it while others address it head on. What can be taken from the video is the fact that adversity should not stand in the way of achieving your dreams...a great lesson for all.

I will soon head over to the High School for Senior it’s not an AARP event for retirees...Jake (and Ian) both have lacrosse games this evening and this will be Jakes final home game capping off a great season. His successes have motivated him for greater things in life – Ian has also seen this and no doubt will follow in his brother’s footsteps in lacrosse, Boy Scouts and then…off to college.

I have had the great pleasure of watching them grow as brothers as well as individuals over the past years and I could not be more pleased. As I discussed in previous postings they continue to make their parents proud.
Looking forward to a great afternoon!



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Light

From March, 2010 in Washington DC...a Poem...titled "The Light" ... from the upcoming book of poetry by Brian Hayes

The Light

I’ve walked a thousand miles
From coast…to another coast
I’ve searched my whole life over
For the one I thought…I’d love the most

Her eyes were just like diamonds
In a way…like none before
Her looks were of perfection
So hard…to just ignore

She captivated my essence
Always taking my breath away
Of all that is good in man
I wanted her…to stay

I needed her as a partner
A lover…and yes…a friend
But when the darkness fell
It came to be…our end

When the light no longer shines
And my time…has been erased
Just look into her eyes
And see my life…replaced

But I carry thoughts of her in my heart
With me…every day
They provide me strength and inner peace
And for this…I need to say

She will always be a part of me
Today…and forever more…
Our lives were full of emotion
The kind…you can’t ignore

Brian Hayes
March 2010

The Days Ahead

Its 4 May 2010 and I just finished discussions with several friends who are currently serving in Iraq...great guys who will return home to their families soon...they have paid their debt in both time and service...more unsung hero’s in what will be a long war for our country.

My mind is on both Jake and Ian and the days ahead...Jake played great last night but the team did not "synch" and they lost their lacrosse game ...Ian did not play based on being home sick. At the varsity level you can clearly see the disparity of expertise on the field as they attempt to move the ball and score…to be successful in lacrosse…like in life…you need experience…Jake’s team has some players who are very good and some who need more experience…its very frustrating…but at the end of the day it’s the reality of it all.

In contrast…Ian’s team is a bit more balanced…more junior players all developing at the same time…they currently have a better “synch” then Jake’s varsity team and will be quite formidable in the coming years.

Colonial Forge HS Senior's night is this Wednesday…I plan on being there to walk across the field with Jake and his Mom. His last home game…I really am looking forward to that.

I will spend time today finalizing 25 pieces of poetry that I have crafted over the years and then prepare the accompanying text and pictures in preparation for publishing the book. It is exciting for me to see that Jake understands how important this project is for me and what each piece means personally...he and Ian will soon see some of the works that I penned for each of them while overseas...another gift…if you will…to be passed on...from father to son.



Monday, May 3, 2010

Through the Glass

from January, 2010 in Washington DC...a poem...titled "Through the Glass" ... from the upcoming series of poems from Brian Hayes

Through the Glass

You walked in
And through the glass
A woman…
I did see

You smiled a smile
A thousand times
And your eyes…
Called out to me

You stood right by
Stared and watched
As time…
Began to play

And when I looked
Into those eyes
My thoughts…
And I did pray

To never loose
What we had
And capture
Till our end

All that life
Has given us
The time…
That we must spend

Held close
In love
And forever forward
From…this single day

And through that glass
I have found
For you…these words
I say

Keep me safe
An in your heart
And hold me...
Till my end

For in my life
And with your love
A vision
God…did send

Brian Hayes

Discussions between Father and Sons

The world's favorite season is the spring...all things seem possible in May.
- Edwin Way Teale

All things seem possible in May…and yet here I was getting ready to speak to my children about death...and loosing a father. Somehow…at this very moment...nothing seems possible anymore.

The time to speak with Jake and Ian regarding my illness came this past weekend. As I have previously written it was not something I had been looking forward to nor anything I would wish upon a parent. It was however something that the boys needed to know in moving forward…and it was something I needed to do. I have spent weeks preparing for this moment and yet…I was so ill prepared emotionally when it came.

As I walked into the bedroom I was immediately overtaken with what I was about to tell them. Both boys “knew” something was up…they have keen intuition bought on by many worldly experiences...and yet they too were not prepared.

When I explained what had happened to my health; the complications and what the outcome would be they immediately broke down…and so did I. We have been very close as all father/son relationships should be and any news (good/bad) has been taken as the sum of all of its parts…today was no different.

It was very difficult…to both deliver as well as hear. We sat for what seemed like an eternity…and then we talked.

I told them how proud I was of each of them and the difference that they have made in my life; how being a father to Jake and Ian was the most rewarding accomplishment I have ever had and that all the memories we shared will live on in their hearts. I relayed to them a story from 2008…someone asked me in an interview what was my single greatest accomplishment…I did not have to think nor did I hesitate in was my children…Jake and Ian Hayes

I told them that when they get home later in the day that they needed to hold their Mom close for she will forever be their protector as well as mentor and friend…and she has done so much…for all of us

I told them to take to care of each other for as long as they live…for the things that I missed most in my life were the comfort; the compassion and the camaraderie that comes from the relationship forged with your brother

I then sat and listened to each of them…

They asked very poignant questions requiring very forthright answers…and so we talked about how it happened; its prognosis; what happens next and what we are going to do in the interim.

I told the boys that the most important thing for me right now and into the future was that they understand just how much I love them and what will happen when I am gone. No real specifics…just the knowledge in knowing that the time left will be…time well spent.

We talked about Nan; about my writings; about the past; about regrets and about mistakes. I told them that certain friends would soon talk to them about events and times in my life that they should know about…and then the three of us just held each other…and cried

A close family friend commented last evening to the boys that:

“Love is stronger than death even though it can't stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can't separate people from love. It can't take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death.”

What Jake and Ian have always had is love…unconditional well as some very fond memories of times spent with their Mom and I…together as well as separately…and they will always have that…to keep close in their hearts. At this time I take solace in knowing that Sheila will be there…as she has always been for them...long after I am gone

It is a rainy day here in Washington, DC…a day made not only for reflection but also for cleansing. As I look to the future I know that my children have begun a new journey…one that all of us eventually take…for with the changing of the seasons we begin anew…and for my boys…a time of enlightenment…and of endless possibilities.

I love you Jake and Ian


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Gifts...from Fathers to Sons

Its Sunday, 2 May 2010 and I just finished watching "My Classic Car" this morning on cable TV - its almost habitual and something I have been doing for...well lets say I have been watching this and other like shows for years.

I have always been an automobile enthusiast...its something I got from my Dad and something that has stayed with me since I learned to drive the old Jeep we had in Nan's backyard...back when I was just 7 years old. I remember vividly watching my Dad spend time getting the Jeep to the point where it could be driven...and then he would have to go off to work...I would "attempt" to drive it around the back yard...with varying degrees of success...right up until my Grandmother would catch me and say "put it back before your father gets home"

Those memories carried me through a multitude of vehicle purchases and sales...I have owned a plethora of classic cars; Jeeps; various convertibles; motorcycles; trucks...and even a delivery vehicle (think Ice Cream Truck from the movie "Borat")- in all of those rides I looked back at where it all was a "gift" from my was not wrapped in a ribbon nor was it something placed under the Christmas was passed to me through his actions and his interests. It was a gift I treasured then and now.

I remember fondly the Alfa Romeo; the 61 Chevy Impala SS...the 51 Ford...Kevin's first car (an old taxi cab without a back seat)...and probably another 20-30 cars and trucks...and how all of matter the condition...had the ability to capture and hold my attention as a child...these vehicles all had a profound impact on me...and now...upon my children.

The last several days have been long for Task Force Hayes...I was finally able to sit and talk about what is happening in my life and the impact it will have on them...I plan on writing about that later...but as the sun came out again late in the afternoon on Saturday Jake asked to take out the convertible...I said "no-problem"

I think the boys needed some time to decompress...driving with the top down provided that for them...and I hope they understand that this is the power of vehicles...the some level...of freedom

Jake and Ian have been raised around many vehicles...both have always loved the joy and the openness of driving with the top down. When we lived in Monterey I had an old Chrysler convertible...both boys...albeit young...looked forward to driving down the coastal highway each Friday not as a chore but as a sense of freedom...what little kid does not want the wind whipping through his hair as he is strapped into his car seat?

They are on their way home to meet with their will be a poignant conversation...we sat for over 2 full hours discussing what is happening to me and what the future holds...words can not express what it is like to see your children having to deal with this...but as I watch them drive off I know that that our time together is a gift...and like what my father gave me...I too am grateful for these boys and the time that we have left.