Hope Haven / Trena (Mom) Dear Son,
I have struggled over the years as to what to do with all of your video games, close to 300, and gaming systems, around 10 (no wonder you were always broke!). I always dreamed of donating them to a children’s hospital but found out that they can only accept new items due to their delicate immune systems. Well, I related this to a friend in real estate and she mentioned that her office helps out a children’s facility that helps kids with special needs, including ADHD. She contacted them and found out that they adapt games for these kids and they were really excited about this donation. I find it ironic, or maybe my prayers being answered, that this is the same facility that I took you to when you were 5 years old for ADHD. You went to the same doctor for the next five years. I am so thankful that you helped guide me to finally find a perfect place for your games. Tomorrow will be the 13th anniversary of murder. I think about you every day and miss you every day. Please keep answering my prayers.
Love you always,
Game collectors still remember kindness you shared / Adam Harvey (Fellow videogame collector ) Years ago Brandon found a California Raisins game for the NES. This wasn't an ordinary game. This game was canceled and thus never sold in stores. The game was so rare that at that point in time Brandon was the only person on earth able to play it. He had offers in the thousands of dollars to sell it from the biggest collectors. I know as I was one of the people to make such an offer. Instead Brandon released the digital image of the game for everyone to play for free. He gave up thousands of dollars and made many gamers happy in the process. He joked about that decision afterwards but I know that if he had to do it all over again he would have done the same thing.
It has been many years since then but the topic of the California Raisins game still comes up on videogame forums where collectors and gamers gather to talk about these things. I didn't know Brandon very well but I did know that he had a good heart and that he and his family didn't deserve what happened to him. So the first part of my post is to his family. I wanted you to know that years ago Brandon made a selfless decision and in doing so continues brings a little bit of joy to gamers all over the world to this day.
The second part of my post is for Brandon. A few years back I contacted artist Greg Winters who was commissioned to illustrate the box art for California Raisins. After some discussion he sold me the original painting. I thought of you when I bought it but not knowing you well didn't want to post here.
Brandon, this is the painting for the California Raisins game that you found years ago. The image would have been used on the box and cartridge design and I'm sure that you would have wanted to see it.
Twelve Years, Still Hurts / Trena Nesler (Mother) Ask my Mom how she is
My mom, she tells a lot of lies;
Than she never did before;
From now until she dies;
She'll tell a whole lot more;
Ask my Mom how she is;
And because she can't explain;
She will tell you a white lie;
Because she can't describe the pain.;
Ask my Mom how she is,;
She'll say I'm alright.;
If that's the truth then tell me;
Why does she cry each night?;
Ask my Mom how she is;
I'm fine, I'm well, I'm coping.;
For God's sake Mom, just tell the truth;
Just say your heart is broken.;
She'll love me all of her life,;
I loved her all of mine.;
But if you ask her how is she;
She'll lie and say she's fine;
I am here in heaven;
I can't hug from here;
If she lies to you don't listen;
Just hug her and hold her near;
On the day we meet again;
We'll smile and I'll be bold;
I'll say You're lucky to be here, Mom,;
With all the lies you've told.;
My Deepest Sympathies and Thoughts / Jonathan Stettin Trena, I am speechless and heartbroken at your loss. Your son sounds like a fine young man I'd have been proud and fortunate to know. I look at it that this senseless and unnecessary evil is proof of God's existence and not the opposite. I pray He gives you the strength to endure peacefully until you and your son are reunited. I pray your faith stays strong despite this unbearable heartbreak. I doubt you remember me, but I remember you and learned from and respected you. I never imagined looking to see if you were still active in the business would lead to tears. So sorry this happened to Brandon and you. Reach out anytime you need a friend or to vent. In my thoughts and prayers.
Mrs./ Kasey Repass (Friend of mom ) Thinking of you today and always❤️ You know I am always here for you. Xo
Forever Missing You / Tabbs Hempstock (friend) Brandon,
The last quarter of the year is always the hardest part of the year for me because it was our most favorite time of the year. I miss getting excited about it with you and every time I see or have a great idea for us to do, I have to stop and remind myself that I can no longer share it. Every year is an emotional rollercoaster of forgetting and remembering in the same instant that you're gone. This is, of course, something that happens throughout the year - but it's this last part that is so much more poignant.
Today, a friend shared something deeply personal of themselves that was exactly what I needed to hear as we head into this difficult time of the year. I hope those who most need to feel this post resonate with them will find it. I am thankful to Lee for so eloquently putting into words what I have been struggling to:
Happy Birthday / Mom (Mom) Happy Birthday, Sweetheart. You're always on my mind and in my prayers. You are sorely missed.
Love you always,
An unknown friend / Auburn Blumenfeld (Friend of a friend ) Brandon, you and I met only a few times through Tabbs. We barely even knew each other outside of random brief chit-chat at Big City Comics. Yet rarely does a person leave such a mark, such an influence, on others.
That's what you did.
Just knowing you for who you were, your values, your accomplishments (even if some were nerdy...yet the nerdyness is mutual), and just how you treated and valued other as a whole helped shape my life and who I am today; I might even say you're one of the reasons I am who I am. The fact you cared about being wholly genuine, both to yourself and to others, was an amazing and noble thing. You brought out the best in those you met, those you cared for. You showed a genuine care for knowledge, understanding, and the arts. Most of what I know of you has come from others close to you, mostly Tabbs, but from what I know from meeting you and what I've learned through the reminiscence of others, you are a pretty amazing person.
And there not goes one day I miss you and wish I could have gotten to know you more than I did.
you will always be someone we all can always, always look up to. You are greatly, in more ways than you know, loved and missed <3 <3
Another Year / Trena (Mom) Hi Sweetheart, A day doesn't go by that I don't think of you and miss you dearly. I wish the pain would go away but a broken heart does not heal.
Love always, Mom
Thinking of YOU! / Kelly Harrington (Neighbor of your mom ) Unfortunately, I have never met you but I am a mother & know how very much you are loved, which I have learned by the love I have for my own children. I am sorry you were taken in such an unfair way & pray you are in a happier place waiting to be joined by the ones you love & who love you. To your mother, I pray you find peace...I know that must be hard...darn near impossible...but I pray you find it.
Another Anniversary / Trena (Mom) My Beloved Son,
Another year has gone by but the hole in my heart is still there. This year was especially difficult because of the Conn. shootings. It hit way too close to home, I know what those parents went through during the time of not knowing, and hoping it was not their child, to the truth that will change their lives forever and how they will never be able to celebrate
Christmas as before.
I pray that they will find hope and healing In their surviving children, something I did not have. I am truly blessed to have many people who remember this time of year and share their love and support of me and think of you.
I'm now wearing the ring you gave me for Mother's Day on my pinky finger, next to my Mom's ring. I used to wear it on a chain around my neck because I was afraid of losing it but it gives me great comfort seeing it next to Mom' s ring.
Love & Miss you always,
Your mom and I love to swap "Brandon Stories" and sometimes I'm afraid that one day I will find that I have run out of new stories to share with her. Today reminded me that there's just no way that I am going to run out! I will always be surprised by the fantastic stories that come back, stories that I had fear were forgotten.
I was telling your mom today about how a friend and I were talking about you just this week. She's a friend of mine who's never met you Brandon, but like so many others she's getting to know you through the stories I have to share.
Bigger than your stories though are the lessons you have taught me Brandon. Most importantly amongst those is Never Say Never.
I just want to thank you for everything you have and continue to bring into my life through both your stories and your lessons. I miss you terribly and still cannot help but get excited about things that I immediately want to share with you, because who else in the world is going to get as excited about "Publix Cookies" with me than you?! It's the silly things! Thankfully I have a place like this to come and still share with the spirit of you.
Anniversary/ Trena (Mom) My Dearest Son, Today marks the seventh year of your leaving us and going to a much better place. It remains difficult to carry on but the pain does soften a little over time.
It is so nice to read tributes from your friends who have such fond memories of you. It's nice to know you have not been forgotten. Just today a neighbor put a candle and card on my doorstep in remembrance of this day. She wrote that she will have a candle lit all day in your honor. It's so nice to know that people still remember and acknowledge this day. I just wish some of your more closer friends and family, who were around right after this happened, would let us know that they still remember and care.
Love you and miss you always,
So I wanted to say "Hi" / Genny Johnson (Platon) (Fellow fccj student ) Dear Brandon
I had come across your old story you wrote back in college. It is hard to forget. I clearly remember the day we all had to read our stories in class. How each and every single person in that class contributed to my growth as a person. It is why I can't forget. I was terrified of sharing stories much less reading them aloud. Did you even know how much you influenced me and how creative you were. I remember shaking a bit a few times and you were very comforting. A good friend to everyone. A kind heart. I always thought I would be able to tell you someday.
You always made us laugh and were so friendly. And you were one of the few people that knew about Invader Zim among other similar interests. You could talk about some of the darker forms of entertainment but in a split second that sweet and funny nature would come through. It was like talking to the essense of a Tim Burton movie. The odd and strange mixed with a romantic dreamy gaze. Definitely a dreamer. There wasn't any way I would forget you. It seemed like that group of writers would always remain. We would somehow cross paths someday again. That group was special and a memorable time in my life.
I remember also how much you discredited your own talent during the award ceremony. You kept saying I won. I was totally honest when I said you deserved it. You wrote from a deep place and when you read it to us it resonated. Where it would have been percieved as something gruesome we knew what you were trying to say. What it meant. And how easily it could be misunderstood. It was a well deserved honor. I never questioned that.
I once passed you by at a pet store. You smiled at me and I didn't recognize you until later. I told my (now) husband that I knew you and even wanted to turn back around to talk to see how you were. You never knew that. We even talked about you for a little bit about what a cool person you were. How if we met in high school we'd probably hang in the same crowd. Watch the same movies play video games. But our paths crossing was too short.
Just today I wondered about you. I thought that you would probably be somewhere on the internet and I wanted to say hello. I came across this website as I searched. There were no pictures but in the descriptions and tributes it started to become more clear. It sounded familiar. Then my heart dropped. I cannot believe how long it had been. I cannot believe that I did not turn back around to say hello. I cannot believe that I won't be able to speak to you again. It feels selfish on my part.
You know most people find glowing things to say about someone in passing. It is notorious. But I can say with all honesty I have nothing but good things to say about you. I hope your spirit is somewhere peaceful shining as brightly as you did for many of us during your life. My heart pangs a bit as I write this. Freshly receiving this news. Remeber the poetry one of our fellow classmates wrote about her spouse. It had been years since he passed away. She wanted to make sure he became a writer even in posterity? I thought we were all so young and invincible. It seemed so far away to ever experience loss. I thought...somewhere you would still be around. Hopefully somewhere you knew that the group of us we never forgot you and you are something really special.
You are deeply missed.
Rest in Peace Brandon.
Miss You / Trena (Mom) My Dearest Brandon
It has been six years since you were taken from us. I read a poem about the passing of time which said the pain gets softer after five years. I have found that it doesn't.
I think a lot of it has to do with you being taken a week before Christmas, yours and mine favorite holiday. Not anymore. My business makes it impossible to ignore it, in fact I have to start thinking about it and planning for it as early as October. Christmas just brings a lot of painful memories now.
I miss you and love you.
Remembering/ Katy Lay (friend from school ) I was sitting at work and thought of you and all the wonderful times we had together. I still have the gifts you gave me your copy of The Phantom Tollbooth and the Buttercup you left on my door step when you found out she was my favorite. My Granny asked how you were doing a few months ago. I had to tell her what happened. She was so upset you spent nearly an entire summer with us one year. I know that in the end I hadn't seen you in months but you were always in my heart. I can still remember the last time I saw you. We were at BW3s and we were both celebrating our birthdays. Who could have predicted that would be the last time I'd ever see you. I love you and miss you but I know that you are out there making people smile.
Just thinking of you.. / Becky Uibel (co-worker) I was just thinking of you today Brandon. I wondered how your family was doing and thought of the few times we were able to have the highly entertaining conversations that you were known to have. I miss you.
Happy Birthay / Mom March 12, 2010
Happy Birthday Sweetheart!
This birthday seems to be harder than last year. Maybe it's because it falls on a Friday and you were born on a Friday. I remember it very well. You were two weeks early quick to enter the world and only weighed 6 lbs. 9 oz. You made up for the small weight very quickly doubling in size in just two weeks! You started walking at 10 months and never slowed down after that.
I think this is also hard because of the murder of Makia a young girl attending UC murdered by students from UC. I have no doubt that the faculty still at UC that knew you were thinking of you as that tragedy unfolded. I also have no doubt that you were one of the ones who welcomed her to Heaven.
You're so terribly missed. I love you!
I thought of you today, Brandon / Sharon (Friend)
I've never written in your memorial site before, but I remember and think about you often. Sometimes I'll see someone on the street who reminds me of you. Sometimes I'll be watching a movie or reading a book and I'll randomly remember how much you liked it. I'll be watching Star Wars, and I'll remember how a conversation about Star Wars was how I met you in the first place. We shared an interest in anime and video games. You and Keith used to poke fun at me for loving Sailor Moon, but that year you bought me a stuffed Sailor Moon and a video for my birthday anyway. You were always a generous and thoughtful friend. I still have those.
Sometimes I wish we could still occassionally get together and talk about how life was going, like we used to. It was hard to be down on myself when you were enthusiastically rooting for me. I'd also love to challenge you to a rematch in some video games, I'm a lot better now that I used to be!
To Brandon's family, and to Stephanie as well, I think about you guys too, and I pray for you as well. Brandon may be gone, but I wanted you to know that I still remember and love him as one of the best friends I ever had, and I believe that we will see him again, someday.
Birthday/ Trena (Mom)
Yesterday was pretty rough Brandon. You would have been 27 years old, possibly married with a child. You would have made an excellent father, devoted and caring. I received an email from a most unlikely source, a 19 year old shy young man who works for me. It was called the Daffodil principal. He has never sent me anything before so I was expecting it to be one of those emails that has soothing music and then something jumps out to scare you (just like something you would send me). Instead it was a beautiful powerpoint presentaion with a message that I know came from you. Who else would send me this powerful message on your birthday?
I can't download the powerpoint to this website so I had to find a site I could link to for everyone to share your message. Thank you for sending me this message and for being my son. I will always remember the loving person you were.