Saying goodbye to a loved one is never easy, especially when their life was ended far too soon.
So was the case of Brian Mullin’s family when the 39-year-old Garland, Texas tow truck driver passed away earlier this year. A lover of fishing, traveling and the great outdoors, his family wanted to give Brian a fitting send-off. They placed his ashes into a bottle along with a note, casting the container into the ocean, hoping his remains could enjoy the open seas as Brian never did.
Brian’s mother, Darlene writing in the note:
“This bottle contains the cremation ashes of my son, Brian, who suddenly and unexpectedly passed on March 9, 2019. More than anything, he longed to be free, so I’m sending him on one last adventure. This bottle was launched from Destin, Florida. If you find it, please call or text me and let me know. I have left $4 to cover the call. Feel free to add your own note, then kindly set him free once again. My son was 39 years old at the time of his passing and he was deeply loved. Please keep him traveling. Blessings.”
Brian’s 14-year-old daughter, Peyton, also including a message:
“Hi, my name is Peyton. I am Brian’s daughter. When my father passed, I was 14-years-old. It has struck our whole family pretty hard and, so far, it has been a very hard road. But, like my granny said, he loved to be free. So, that’s exactly what we are doing.”
While the family hoped the note would someday be discovered, they never imagined the person who would find it could truly understand their feelings of loss. However, just a short time later, the bottle washed ashore on a Florida Panhandle beach. Authorities were called to investigate and Sergeant Paula Pendleton of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office answered the call. The veteran officer had lost her husband just a year before — the note striking extremely close to home.
“I sat in here, in my patrol car, and cried like a baby,” Pendleton said.
Her husband, Bill, had fallen ill very suddenly and passed away just seven days after being released from the hospital. A boat captain himself, Bill spent many hours on the ocean, leading Sergeant Pendleton to feel as though this was a message she was destined to find.
Instead of casting the bottle back off the beach, Sergeant Pendleton reached out to a local charter captain, coordinating for Brian’s remains to be taken out into the Gulf of Mexico. Pendleton adding her own message to the bottle “Please continue Peyton’s wish. Send Brian out on his journey,” including the date and time in hopes that his trip can continue to be documented.
She reached out to Peyton and her grandmother to let them know that Brian was back on his journey. The DeFuniak Herald Beach Breeze posting a video of the interaction on their Facebook Page:
Brian’s mom, Darlene, sharing her gratitude towards Pendleton, the Sheriff’s Office and everyone who played a part in Brian’s journey. “There are no words to express my deep appreciation to all involved in my son’s journey,” Darlene shared. “God’s hands were all over this.”