Briggs MacRae Dorian-Lawrence died Wednesday, January 5, 2022. He was 19 years old. He came into this world at 11 pounds 8 ounces and left this world standing at 6 feet 5 inches.
Briggs left home in Mount Pleasant at 7:00 a.m. Wednesday morning en route to The Center for Change in Orem. I stood outside in the dark and cold for almost 10 minutes before he left while he got his music ready and himself situated before he ‘toot toot tooted’ his horn in his traditional way of saying “I love you” and I’m off.
I started texting him around 8:00 a.m. wondering if he made it to his appointment, knowing Briggs would never interrupt an appointment or class by texting. I knew I’d have to wait until lunch to hear from him. Before that time, two Utah state troopers showed up at my door.
I learned that at 7:40 a.m. in Spanish Fork Canyon, Briggs drifted over the centerline into oncoming traffic, colliding with a truck. He died instantly.
A year and a half later, we know very little about the accident. All we really know is that he didn’t come home. (Please read that last sentence again. It is a sentence that no parent thinks they will write or know how to survive.)
Briggs was adamant about not being a distracted driver, which is why he took his time before leaving every morning. He didn’t like it when I would answer a call via hands-free in my car or even when I would adjust the temperature in the car.
Briggs was in his second year as a Computer Science major at Rochester Institute of Technology. He felt like he found his people at RIT. He loved being immersed in programming, algorithms, learning new computer languages, and more. He was passionate about both the hardware and software side of his field.
Briggs was also an accomplished musician; he was a classical and digital composer, a digital artist and a violist. I was lucky enough to perform the Messiah with him, just a few weeks before his accident, at Snow College.
There is so much I would love to share about Briggs. He was truly a genius and a deeply curious person. His desire to know how things worked knew no bounds, from how a joke is formed to how vaccines are designed and beyond. Friends and family were deeply important to Briggs. He let the people in his life know how important they were to him and how wonderful he knew them to be.
Mostly, I would like you to know that his friends and even his acquaintances said they never knew someone who supported them more, who helped them feel welcome and to just be themselves. Briggs’ kindness towards others made us feel valued and seen. I would like to share with you how much I miss his perfect hugs and his hearty laughter, well more of a cackle really. I miss how much of an impact he already had on this world and miss the impact that was taken away from him and us.
It is important to learn the rules of the road, to drive safely, and to be aware. Most of us realize that there are no guarantees in this world. However, we shouldn’t have to know that firsthand.