Loving, loyal, funny, adventurous, sensitive
Good-humored and athletic, Brendan was a big-hearted man, with a high degree of emotional intelligence and empathy. He was more sensitive than he appeared. His steadfast friendships were appreciated by many, including two high school friends, both in recovery, who served as groomsmen in Brendan’s wedding.
As a child, Brendan was physically active and liked to be outdoors. His parents and brother spent time at the beach with extended family where Brendan received sailing lessons from Grandpa Vin and enjoyed being towed behind the boat. Brendan was also a naturally good snowboarder and had great downhill adventures with his Uncle Vin in Colorado.
High school was tough for Brendan as this was the time drugs got the best of him. With family support, he persisted in graduating. Naturally good with numbers, Brendan obtained a finance degree and became a senior accountant. Though he could do the work, the career wasn’t a good fit. He favored his first job as a counselor’s aide at an inpatient drug treatment center as it fit his social personality and his desire to help others.
Brendan suffered from SUD for ten years. When he was in active addiction he changed. Generally warm and friendly he became detached, deceitful, and self-destructive. “It felt as if he was in a different world than the rest of his family,” his dad said. “We feared for Brendan’s safety and health. We were exhausted and stressed from the roller coaster of drug use and rehabs.”
His parents, Rosemary and Barry, stuck with Brendan through it all. Brendan always knew he had the love, support and acceptance of his parents, brother, and large extended family. Collectively, they created a compassionate home in which Brendan could feel safe.
Brendan had seven years of hard-earned sobriety through his late 20s and 30s. He was part of a supportive network of peers starting at Maryland Recovery Partners then extending into the Bel Air recovery community. It took all of them to help Brendan get to and maintain sobriety. During those years of sobriety, they saw the real Brendan; it was a gift to the entire family.
Brendan gave an epic “Best Man” speech at his brother Bill’s wedding suitable for a late-night TV monologue. It was full of humorous anecdotes from their past as well as love and good wishes for the newly married couple.
Brendan was with his wife Katy for five years and married for over two. They bought a home, hiked, played golf, and tennis, and loved traveling together. He was an important and integrated member of Katy’s family. He liked pool time, grilling, being silly with his niece and nephew, and playing frisbee golf with his father-in-law. Though Brendan loved his wife, extended family, new home, and great neighbors, he was also stressed about the growing responsibilities of mid-adulthood. He had a relapse and died from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl.
His family misses his belly laugh, good humor, his social wisdom, and family get-togethers. They continue to learn about SUD and support those in recovery whom his parents view as heroes along with those who support them. “We are thankful for Brendan’s life and spirit.” “We want to honor the best times we had as a family, as well as our mutual struggle with SUD. Having SUD is not a personality flaw, it is a biological and social illness. Punishment doesn’t work–what does is a supportive community.”
Brendan’s parents, Rosemary and Barry Cobb, provided the information for this narrative.
May 18, 1984-October 20, 2017 – Age 33
Portrait Artist: Theresa Clower
Narrative Writer: Barbara Francois