‘My grief didn’t kill me’: Mother of murdered Calgary man shares story of navigating heartbreak

It’s been almost seven years since Brenda Wiese lost her 20-year-old son, Brett, who was stabbed by uninvited guests at a house party in January 2013.

Brenda wanted to take to the stage to share the darkest, most painful part of her life in hopes of inspiring others to heal from their own losses.

“Telling my story and talking about what’s happened is fragile territory for me, but I know it’s the right thing to do,” Brenda said.

READ MORE: No chance of parole for 12 years for Calgary man convicted in fatal house party stabbing

“It took me months to say the word ‘murder.’ I couldn’t pair that word with my son’s name.

“It took a lot of time to get to that truth of saying my son Brett was murdered, because that doesn’t happen to people like us.”

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Brenda stepped in front of a small crowd to give voice to her painful story and talked about the day she found out her son was never coming home.

20-year-old Brett Wiese died after being stabbed at a Brentwood house party in the early morning hours of Saturday, January 12th, 2013.
19-year-old Brett Wiese died after being stabbed at a Brentwood house party in the early morning hours of Saturday, January 12th, 2013. Family supplied

“Through the bannister I see the stripe of an RCMP officer’s pant and I froze,” she said. “In my mother’s heart, I knew it was my son. I knew he was dead.”

She talked about her grief at an intimate public speaking event organized by Marlo Ellis, the visionary behind a movement called “The Uncommon Woman.”

READ MORE: Victim’s family, friends share pain, grief at Calgary sentencing hearing for convicted murderer

“I realized other women could use that kind of space. Women can come in and use words like murder, suicide, grief and anguish, and people don’t run away people stay,” Ellis said.

“They’re not there to fix, just hold space and in that holding space, there’s healing.”

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Watching Brenda recount those crippling moments of sorrow was Colton Lewis. He was with his best friend Brett that night and also attacked, but he survived.

Family, friends share impact statements on death of Calgarian Brett Wiese

Family, friends share impact statements on death of Calgarian Brett Wiese

Brenda and Colton have a profound connection.

“Colton exists in sacred place in my heart and my family’s heart because of what Brett and Colton endured at the same time together,” Brenda said. “I think what happened to Colton is a divine strength and he has the clarity to move forward with purpose and passion and that’s coming from the deepest part of his soul.”

“I get emotional when I think about it. It’s a relationship I can’t explain and inherited through the incident,” Lewis said.

“It’s a relationship I didn’t realize I needed, until I knew that I had it.”

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Lewis and other friends created the Balance Foundation as a legacy to Brett in support of at-risk youth. The Wiese family has also created a scholarship to keep his memory alive.

“I would like people to know no matter what they’re facing, their grief won’t kill them. My grief didn’t kill me and I thought it would,” Brenda said.

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“I think my son would be very proud to know I’m living and making a difference in somebody else’s life.”

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