The Hard Part

There are so many things I’m learning on this journey. Things I never wanted to have to learn. Today’s lesson: Grief hurts. It physically hurts. I woke up this morning and it felt like my heart had been crushed into a million little pieces… again. I miss Bryan so much that my heart is literally aching for him.

I’ve put on a brave face throughout this journey for the most part, but the last eight or so hours… man, it hurts. I’ve cried longer and harder in the last eight hours than I have the last eight months. Why? I don’t know. There is no answer to all of it, so I don’t even bother asking.

At the end of the day yesterday, I was sitting at the cemetery visiting Bryan with his family. I had been surrounded by close friends and family all day, but at the end of the day the only person I wanted to be with was Bryan. I wanted to hug B. I wanted to crawl into bed and snuggle up on his shoulder. The fact that a hug from his mom was as close as I was going to get to that… heartbreaking.

I sent a text to three of my best friends at the same time last night. When I’m at a loss for words and I can’t really explain how I’m feeling, my go to is this: “Damnit. I miss Bryan.”

Three friends. Three responses back.

“Me too, kid.”

“I do too.”

“I’d bring him back in a second if I could.”

In a weird, selfish, completely twisted way… it makes it hurt a little less to know that I’m not the only one missing him.

It’s now 7:21am and I’m on a plane headed to Pennsylvania. I want to be heading to watch Bryan race. I miss our life. I miss all of it. I’m trying to find peace and comfort and I really am looking forward to see all the PA fans I haven’t had the chance to see yet. For whatever reason, though, this trip without Bryan hurts a little bit more than the rest of them.

Today I’m grieving what should have been. What was supposed to be. Our plan didn’t happen. And honestly, it sucks. That’s the most eloquent way I can put it right now.

I’ve shared so much with all of you on this journey… I can’t share only the good without also giving you the not so good. So, here it is. My heart hurts. I feel lost. I don’t even know where to begin in putting the pieces of my life puzzle back together. I’m not sure if the racetrack is where I want to be or where I’ll find comfort, but here I am… following my heart to PA. All million pieces of it.

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25 comments

  1. Dan Thomson · June 20

    We all miss him kiddo. But not in the same way as you of course. They say “time heals all wounds” or “he”s in a bettet place now” i call BS. Better place would be with you living out your lives. None of what I say or anyone else says can make any of this better. It sucks…it always will suck. But you must keep on doing what you do…i guarantee he is very proud of your perseverance, and carrying the torch that forever will burn brigbt. Much love to you and everyone close. Keep doing what you do, and keep pushing forward
    Dan

    • Ray Baim · June 20

      Young lady. You are allowed to hurt. You are allowed to cry. You are amazing in sharing your journey with the rest of us. Keep your chin up. The hurt never heals but the pain will decrease with time. God speed

  2. Jeanette Ellis · June 20

    Lauren, it is a time thing! I was widowed at 26. It’s not easy and all the feelings you are going through are natural. Better to let things out and also talk than keeping them all inside you. It’s nice to be with people who associated with you and Bryan, but now and again you may feel compelled to go somewhere where you can look back at what you have. You are always welcome in New Zealand. Jeanette Ellis – Ruapuna Speedway, Christchurch, NZ

  3. I too have lost my partner. You have eloquently described days I have had many times. I can tell you it gets better but never goes away. Take things at your own pace and don’t hold back when it happens. I have still have bad days but they ae fewer and farther between. Take care.

  4. Carol Ransbottom · June 20

    Lauren, I can’t even begin to imagine what you are going thru, all I know is how strong you are for keeping it together the way you do. In the short time that I got to know you and Bryan, I will have to say, you and Bryan were the best friends I could ever ask for my son, Tyler. Your friendship with him is the most amazing friendship a mother could ask for her son. You and Bryan took him in and made a hell of a young man out of him. He is so very happy in Noblesville and I am one proud mom for what he has became, and I owe that to you and Bryan and the rest of the Clauson’s, but especially to you and Bryan. I think about you and Bryan every day and honey, my heart aches so much for you. Keep doing exactly what you are and Bryan and the good Lord will take care of you!!! Love from the Ransbottoms

  5. Jackie O'connor · June 20

    All I can do is pray to God to bring you some peace of mind which I will continue doing.🙏😔

  6. Cindy Elliott · June 20

    Lauren, this is all normal. Some days I am good and then boom I cry all day. Some day I feel comfort in being at the track and then other days I feel like a misfit. I know your journey all to well and you are right it just plain sucks. Unless you have been through it there is no way to explain it to other people. You are doing all the right things in my opinion. Chin up girlfriend the sun continues to rise and so will you.

  7. Coach Luther · June 20

    Lauren………I really feel for you. A time to be born, a time to die it says in the Bible. I know Bryan is proud of you and with this life is so short, we must believe for Eternal Life. I have lost young players with car accident, very young campers to leukemia and tragic accidents……it is so tough. My daughter, Robyn a month ago had brain surgery which we were told was cancer, terminal. She is a fighter, like Bryan and an organ donor. Everyone of us who followed BC and all who loves racing will never forget what he did to save so many lives. You will see him again and be with him forever. We will see him again, also. If we could hear from him, I know he would say, “Live every day and soon we will meet again”. Be strong, be tough and may God Bless you every day………………coach

  8. Janet Windom · June 20

    I feel so sad for you, for what your plans were and for having them ripped away from you both in such a tragic way. I know you are a strong woman and do such an amazing job with your smile and your sweet heart and kindness around all your loving friends and family. I also understand how your heart is broken and shattered at the end of the day when everything gets quiet. And honestly it’s just sucks and no sense can be made of it. I hope as each day passes you can find yourself doing something for you that makes you happy ! I feel so bad for you that your life plan have had to change. I think of you and all the family a lot and hope you can find stength everyday to find some kind of positive. There is no time frame on this kind of heartache. BLess your heart Lauren you are a true deep down inspiring young wowman to all around you.
    Janet Windom

  9. Jerry · June 20

    Lauren, like Bryan you are a true champion too. You are an inspiration to all of us. Keep digging…..one day at a time.
    God Bless!

  10. Shirley Koons · June 20

    Dear sweet Lauren, my heart aches for you. I can’t imagine how hard this has been for you and Bryans family. I think of you often and pray for peace and healing. You have been so strong thru all of this but it’s ok to let go and greave. ((Hugs))

  11. Tracy Walther · June 20

    Dear Lauren, I have no answer for you, I wish I did. You know I get to thinking of you often, and I wonder just how you get through each day without B. I think if you can’t find comfort @ the race track, well you just can’t. I know 💚 B is still racing on, but for you it might not be the answer. I cannot even imagine how your heart & soul are feeling broken into a million pieces. I know the families, Clauson & Stewart’s are still feeling lost. My real hope for you is that you can be truly happy everyday in your life. I wish I could reach up in Heaven & pull 💚 B right back here to your side. We do not know what tomorrow brings, but that song about the Angels tells it just the way it is. I will pray & continue to pray for your strength, courage, happiness, comfort & joy. We can be strong, but there are days that we just can’t carry all the stuff! I know it is hard, but cheer up my friend. It has been a while since we have seen you as a matter of fact it was in Perris for the Nationals last year in November. I could tell that you weren’t comfortable there, it seemed as if you were a bit lost, Mike & I love to see you @ the track, but if it is not the place for you to be, we sure do understand. I love all your posts on FB, your blog is most excellent. Smile, you are a beautiful lady with a big broken heart. I am praying that our Lord will heal your heart. Lots of love & many hugs, Mike & Tracy Walther.

  12. Stranger · June 20

    Eventually your heart and mind will lead you to what’s next, whether that is what you are doing now, something else in racing, or something else. Trust yourself because you made some great choices thus far in your life, even if one has led to heartbreak. Bryan would be proud of you for what you’ve done and how you’ve managed to get through this past year.

  13. Carl Vela · June 20

    Prayers and love Lauren for you and Brian’s Family. I enjoyed seeing you and Chevy at Putnamville ! It gives this fan strength on how strong you are in these times if hurt and pain. I hope in time your heart heals as your are a wonderful soul !! Godspeed Carl Vela

  14. Kevin ruggiero · June 20

    You should email me Lauren. I lost my wife 12 years ago. Nobody knows what your going through until you go through it yourself.

  15. Judy Pratt · June 20

    I so know the pain you are feeling. I wish I could say it will go away but it won’t. God gives us the strength to go on each day but it is never the same. Bryan, like my Roger, would want you to find happiness. Look for it in the many people who love you and in your memories. God bless you my sweet friend.

  16. @howiemowie13 · June 20

    This story was very heartfelt Lauren. We will never know the reason people are taken sooner then they should be. There was a plan, we all have a plan. I’m sure BC would want you to keep moving forward at the race track along with all of his fans. We all miss BC but as a fan it’s gratifying knowing his legacy lives on through you, his legacy will always live on. His legacy will also live on through the foundation you have help start and the CLR team.
    @howiemowie13

  17. Donnie · June 20

    Lauren I can’t imagine what you have been through over the last 8 months. We stopped and bought a hat from you at Port Royal Saturday and as we walked away my wife commented that it was nice to see that someone was keeping Bryan’s memory out there with merchandise. When I told her that you were the one selling, she began to cry. She wanted to come give you a hug and tell you how strong she thought you were but she didn’t want to come off as weird seeing as how she never met you or Bryan. Nobody knows more than you how special Bryan was, but hopefully the number of fans who still want to carry on his memory eases your pain a little bit.

  18. Dee Johnston · June 20

    I just lost my husband of 51 years on June 1 – suddenly and without warning. I certainly understand how you must feel. We had such plans. My heart is broken and I feel like 1/2 of me is gone.

  19. Maureen · June 20

    You are n amazing woman. I am so sorry for your pain . Your journey is unlike anyone else’s but God is with you I am sure . HE carries you at your worst you just don’t see it. I pray for you everyday. Be kind to yourself🌹

  20. Debbie · June 20

    I didn’t know either one of you but my heart hurts for you. Your story didn’t get the fairy tale ending and that does suck!

  21. Julie Reinke · June 20

    Sorry for the pain, the hurt, the wondering what if. I have been there my husband and I pitted on a sprint car. One day he went to work never to come home again, I was 26 yrs old, married 10 days short of 8 years, and had 2 kids. We went to the races all over I didnt know if I ever could again, and yes I did and still do and it still hurt sometimes. I continued to go to the races for years after with my Dad, and Sept of 2014 I had to lay him to rest 1 week before we were going to the races and home from Knoxville for 2 weeks. I still have days I cry for them both. I remarried 10 years after and my new husband likes the races but for me Knoxville is so hard, I still cry hard. I miss them both and yes will be there this year but I know I will pull that camper to the camping spot and sit and cry at the picnic table.

  22. James J Pugh Jr · June 20

    Lauren, you and Brian’s family are an inspiration to all! We are learning how to preservier through life’s most hard times by the Clauson’s and your example each and every day! Keep the Faith my friend! Lord will guide us all!

  23. Jan stroud · June 21

    It’s a road none of us want to go down, but we are strong we can do this. I now feel so much more sympathy for a widow and widower and for parents who have lost their child. I am thinking a person who just lost someone shouldn’t make any major decisions for a year or two. There’s also going to that empty part in your heart. I tell myself that I am not the only widow, even though it feels it is, and many more men and women have gone thru this. I figure if they can do it, so can I. Life has different turns that we cannot predict the out come. Your going to feel like a big truck ran you over probably for years and no one can see the track marks, but you feel them inside. You’ll eventually be able to truly realize that Brian loved you so, he wouldn’t want you to cry everyday because of him. 💕

  24. Shari · June 21

    Lauren,
    I am taking a risk here and pouring out my heart to you. I know we have not always seen eye to eye, but I do want you to know that I have always look to you as a strong woman who is able to take on whatever comes your way! I believe in you and the good plan God has put in you. Even in the midst of this devastation in the passing of Bryan, God can and wants to work it all out for good for you.
    Please know that no one here on earth has the answers to your questions or the ability to bring you the peace you desire. Prayers have and will continue to go up to our All-Sufficient God who is able to guide you through ALL of this, you do not have to do it alone.
    God is the only answer for you to bring you peace that passes understanding. Until you surrender to this truth you will be without peace.
    So, may I be so bold to encourage you If you do not have a relationship with Jesus and have not invited Him into your heart… I pray that you will consider this. If you do have Him in your heart and can’t hear Him right now, keep asking and take time to be still. He loves you Lauren, and truly has a good plan for you. Secondly, surround yourself with godly woman who knows the Truth and has a relationship with their Savior -Jesus.
    The world will eat you alive if you let it. You can say no more and rise up above all of this by trusting in the plan that God has for you.
    “For I know the plans I have for you, (Lauren) declares the Lord, Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11
    Feel free if you need someone to talk to I am here. 🙏🏻

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