#PeopleofNEI: Brian, living revitalized

Northeast Indiana is evolving. These are the people shaping its future. #PeopleofNEI

This week's feature:

Brian, 36, is photographed at home with his dog, Luca. He moved to Fort Wayne from Cleveland in 2010 only seven months after his mother unexpectedly passed away. He discusses life in Fort Wayne and what Mother’s Day is like for him now. “Mother’s Day is always easier than the year before but it’s still difficult because I don’t get to celebrate with my mom after all the hard work she put forth as a single mom. When she had a heart attack in her sleep at age 45 and was found unresponsive in the morning, I was in shock. I’ve never felt like the person I was before my mother died. I was heartbroken and then in denial. For a year I reached for my phone to call her when something happened in my life. I had a Cleveland Browns sweatshirt that she folded doing laundry; I didn’t unfold it for two years. I was born when she was 17. We were best friends because I could be honest with her and she always had my back. As a kid I saw how hard she worked as a single mom. I realized I could do things around the house without her asking me. It went from her mothering me to us being a team. Months before she died I went to a shelter and saw this sad black lab mix in a cage. I felt an instant connection. When I adopted him they told me he was three days away from being put down. After my mom’s death, I had suicidal thoughts but I’d look at Luca and knew he needed me. I saved Luca and then he ended up saving me. I moved to Fort Wayne to create a life with my now husband. It was a difficult transition but eight years in, I love it. I go to downtown events, kayak on the rivers, and support developments like Electric Works. My friends here have passion about Fort Wayne’s growth. I love that. It reminds me of what Cleveland did by revitalizing the downtown area. I never struggled with depression before my mom died. I was a very happy person. After her death, I was on anti-depressants for a year. It took six years before the sadness didn’t feel crippling. There were many people in Fort Wayne that picked me up when I was down. People here have those traditional midwestern values and when someone in its community is struggling they offer a helping hand.” #PeopleofNEI

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Read more articles by Stephen J. Bailey.

Stephen J. Bailey is a Fort Wayne native and the owner of PH Digital that was founded in 2006. Based out of the Anthony Wayne Building in downtown Fort Wayne, he specializes in web development, SEO development, social media management, and digital marketing campaigns with numerous companies in northeast Indiana. Stephen loves road trips, sushi, his pups, and spending time on our three rivers.
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