P. O. Box 1115
St. Peters, MO 63376

 

Brian Klocke
April 19, 1980 ~ September 30, 2004

In Memory of Brian Klocke

"I read someone's words that the soul
is not more than the body and that the
body is not more than the soul.
Oh how wrong that is.
You may be physically away from us
but I feel your soul all around."

Happy Birthday Son,
Mom, Dad, Rob, Jessica
and your baby Alyssa

 

 

 

Candlelight 2010 Speech
— Greg Klocke Good afternoon, parents, grandparents,
siblings, family members and friends. I want to welcome back those of you who
have been to our candlelight before. To the new parents, I’m sorry about the
circumstances that have brought you here, but I’m grateful that you
are here to honor the memory of your children. 

The reason I’m standing up here today is because on September 30, 2004, my oldest
son Brian died in a motorcycle accident and I was forced to learn what it means to be a
“bereaved parent.”  I was born the 5th of 6 children in our large family. Growing
up, I was in awe of my father.  He always seemed larger than life to me. He was
in my eyes a hero. However, he passed away suddenly when I was only
7 years old. From that time on, I knew that all I wanted to be when I grew up was a Dad.
My wonderful wife Jan and I married in May of 1977 and on April 19th 1980,
my dream of becoming a dad came true. We were blessed with our son Brian
Gregory Klocke. The experience of being a first time father was without a doubt
a real eye opener for me. It made me realize how hard it probably was for my Dad
with 6 kids.  I was only dealing with one. Some days though with Brian It was
like having more than one child. He was everywhere.  He was a very sensitive boy.
I remember when I sold an old bass boat we had. I was taking it over to the
house of the fellow that bought it. Brian was about three at the time.
As we were rolling it into his garage Brian started to cry because we were
getting rid of his boat. He did however cheer up when I told him
we had a new one to pick up.  Brian was the kind of kid who would have done very
well as an only child but as fate would have it, just over a year later on
May 17th 1981, we welcomed our second son, Rob. Jan really had her hands
full taking care of Rob, so Brian became my responsibility by default.
I spent quite a lot of time with Brian. If I was working on my car there he
was asking what I was doing.  If I was working around the house there he was handing
me a tool whether I needed it or not. He was very into how things worked, taking things apart
and putting them back together, and not always successfully I might add.  I guess
that was where he got the love of working on cars.  If he wasn’t doing something
to make it faster he was doing something to make it look better.

As I reflect back, I have come to realize that Brian left behind the gift of special
memories for each of us.  Being the oldest he was always trying to boss his
younger brother Rob around. As they grew older it was good to see them
develop a friendship that I had always hoped they would have. The last time
they saw each other was family day at Southeast Missouri State where Rob was
going to school. When we were getting ready to leave the boys hugged which
didn’t happen too often. It warmed my heart to see that. Little did we realize what
a gift that hug would become.  Our 3rd child Jessica was born February 28, 1984.
From the beginning he played the role of big brother well. I look back at some of the old
photos and she is usually sitting on his lap. I don’t remember if it was planned that
way or if he insisted on holding her. I enjoyed watching him teach her about cars so no one could take advantage of her. He was very patient with her as he would teach her how to change her oil and other general maintenance on her car.  Brian was always very protective of his younger sister. He had many young men wondering if it was a good idea to try to date her. Brian’s last night on earth was spent with Jessie. They were at a party together to see one of Jessie’s friends off to Iraq. We would come to see that was her gift.  My wife Jan’s gift
came in the form of a surprise visit home for lunch with her, one day, in that last week of his life. Like most young men, his favorite question for his mother was, “What’s here to eat?”

The morning he died, which was a beautiful early fall day with crystal clear blue skies
and just a touch of fall chill in the air, he wanted to borrow some leather motorcycle
gloves I had in my room.  He knocked on our bedroom door, and if I close my eyes,
I can still see him peeking in the bedroom to see if we were awake. Brian’s mom
was in the shower and I was lying in bed watching the news. I told him where the gloves were. Then he walked over to me.   I’m sure everyone here knows what a purple nurple is.
We always acted like we were going to do it to one another just to see the other person
jump back. He walked over and acted like he was going to get me and the best I could
do was jerk the covers up to my neck. Then he leaned over and gave me a big bug’s
bunny kiss on the forehead. I guess that was my gift. That was the last time I saw
him in this world.  He rode off to go to work in Washington, MO. He decided to detour
to go see his daughter, Alyssa, off to school. She lived with her mom, Brian’s ex-girl friend in New Melle, so it wasn’t out of his way.  He kissed his daughter goodbye, and rode
away to his date with eternity.  Brian, like many of our children who died so young always seemed to be on a fast track through life. You know, in a hurry to do everything. His daughter was one of those things that were part of his rush through life. I now see she was also a gift.

I am so thankful I was able to see him grow as a father. He was a good one. She was
everything to her daddy. She was only 5 when he died but she still tells me things she
remembers about her dad.  As a parent I’d like to think I knew my son, but after his funeral many of his friends opened my eyes to show me what a man Brian had become. He was a good friend who would, at the drop of a hat, be right there if you needed help. They were amazed at what a good Dad he was, being one of the first of his friends to have a child. He touched so
many lives in a positive way. I had no idea a person could leave such a legacy in only 24
years.  This brings me to my 6 year journey. I thought I’d never be at the place I am today. My
family, BP USA and all my friends from the St Peters Group are responsible for my being
here today.  In the early days after the numbness went away the pain and the reality that he was gone set in. I didn’t sleep. I didn’t eat. I just didn’t do anything. About 3 months in I knew I
was on the edge of losing it, and it could have meant any number of things. I knew I had
to do something. I was angry because I couldn’t fix it.  Dads are supposed to fix things you know. So I went so see a counselor at St Joseph’s Hospital in St Charles. He recommended I check out a Bereaved Parents group in St Peters. I knew from the first meeting that I was where I needed to be. They all GOT it. As the months grew into years I can’t say when, but at some point I felt that I was no longer going for me but was going to show others that there was some kind of hope. I did think about just walking away and saying hey I’m better now I don’t need to go any longer but the thought of doing that just didn’t sit right. How could I turn my back on a group that saved my life? So I got involved. It seemed the more I worked on helping others the less I thought of my loss. That’s not to say there are no hills or valleys, they aren’t as high or
as deep. I used to think of words from a song by Billy Joel often, “Do what’s good for you
or you’re not good for anybody”. I do believe that. Helping to make someone else’s pain
a little softer, to lend a sympathetic ear and helping my new friends help others. I knew,
that’s what’s good for me.  So many of our children have left such an impression in this world and it has shown me that one person can make a difference in ways I could never imagine.

It was then I decided to do whatever I could do to help other Bereaved Parents. It is the
least I could do to say thank you for saving my life. Mere words are not enough. I want
all of you to look inside of yourselves wherever you are in your journey and see if you can
make a difference. It doesn’t have to be on a grand scale but as our children have shown
us one person can touch so many lives. We should look to their example and see how we
can help parents who will come after us. If you can reach out to one parent it would be a
legacy your child has left behind through you. Think about it…
One person can make a difference.
Maybe it could be you.

 

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