Requiem Journey on the AT

On March 13th 2015 my son went about his day like all the others before it. This particular Friday was my day to pick-up Kyle from his high school track practice, but before I would get there, Kyle would endure a heart attack and be rushed to a local hospital, unresponsive-unconscious. Once stable, he was airlifted to Westchester Medical Center in critical condition and placed into a medically induced coma.  Two nights later Kyle would succumb to a massive heart attack and pass away.  My seemingly perfectly healthy, vibrant and athletic 16-year-old boy was gone. Later, his autopsy would reveal that Kyle had an anomaly of his left coronary artery. A condition undetectable and described as impossible to diagnose until a sudden attack occurs. Essentially, my son was struck by a one in a million bolt of lightning. Needless to say, none of us saw this coming and like Kyle, none of us will recover.

The moment Kyle passed away I died. As I stood at the foot of his hospital bed I could hear nothing, I could say nothing, but I could feel everything, I could feel him in my arms the day he was born, I could feel him hugging me for the last time and I could feel him being torn away from me.  On Marth 15th 2015 my son’s heart attack killed me.

Eight months later, I am adrift, fractured and hollow, yet I exist. My EVERYTHING has moved on and I am still here. I have been possessed by one singular question, how do I go on when my reason for breathing is gone? I am not sure how to live this life without him in it.  I am unable to love my loved ones, unable to be around them, unable to feel anything but this heartache.  This never-ending heartache so unfathomable I can feel it in my bones. Kyle would not want this for me and because there is still one thing left I can do for him, for me – for us, I am putting all that is left of me into doing it. 

I had been hiking with Kyle since he could walk. It was “our thing”. Escaping into the woods, just me and him every chance we could.  Out in the open, but hidden behind the trees it was a space in time only he and I existed.  Upon recalling some of those memories a conversation came back to me, one of the last conversations I would have with him and it is the purpose of these words.

Kyle and I were discussing a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, a journey that is over 2,000 miles and goes through 14 states, which can take up to 6 months to complete.  As the teenage years began, our hikes became few and far between. Perhaps I was looking to regain some time with him, the time I expected to lose once he learned how to drive, lose to girls and to all his friends that were now cooler than me.  Eight months ago I believed I had time, the time to get prepared for this and since it would be a few years before it could be done, more time to convince him to get back on the path. Truth be told it was in the “daydreaming” phase for me.  I am wishing to make this a reality for both me and him. My hope is by getting lost in the woods I will find myself again.  That I will be able to quiet the noise in my head and live in the space and time of being out in the open, but hidden by trees with my son AGAIN. 

I am asking for help, which in itself is excruciating for me.  My intention is to start this hike on March 13, 2016 and end on September 9, 2016. I want to leave the day my son’s eyes closed for the last time and I want to end on the day they first opened, and hopefully this time I will be reborn. I am not in a position to afford some of the gear, equipment and necessities that are needed for such a quest and this is why I will need everyone’s support.  This pilgrimage can cost in upwards of $5000.00 and so I plead, please help me embark on the last walk I will ever take with my boy.

 Thank you for reading,

Alan Brewer
Become the first supporter

Your donation matters

GoFundMe protects your donation

We guarantee you a full refund for up to a year in the rare case that fraud occurs. See our GoFundMe Giving Guarantee.

See all


Alan Brewer
Rosendale, NY

Your easy, powerful, and trusted home for help

  • Easy

    Donate quickly and easily.

  • Powerful

    Send help right to the people and causes you care about.

  • Trusted

    Your donation is protected by the  GoFundMe Giving Guarantee.