LARAMIE, Wyo. — There's an epitaph etched on a grave marker in row Q on the north side of Green Hill Cemetery in Laramie, a work containing 19 lines and 106 words by Brian Towler's favorite poet.
He considers it a great piece of undiscovered literature, by an artist reminiscent of none other than T.S. Eliot.
The poem is named after its author, Brian's son, Adam Towler, who handed it and other assorted works over to his mother in 2006, just weeks before he was killed in one of Laramie's most brutal crimes, a murder-suicide on Custer Street.
The crime claimed the lives of Adam, 20, Amber Carlson, 19, and their killer, Justin Geiger, 20, by a self-inflicted wound. It robbed Brian of his only son, he said, and deprived the world of an emerging writer capable of creating beauty with his words.
"I consider that the best epitaph poem I've ever seen, ever read," Brian, a Laramie resident and 24-year professor in the chemical/petroleum engineering department at the University of Wyoming, said. "It hasn't been discovered yet, but one day it will be."
It's a cold, wet early Thursday morning and under the steel skies of Laramie, Brian is criss-crossing through town, clicking at a runner's pace, exceeding six miles per hour.
He's wearing a ball cap, purple shorts and a grey T-shirt with words written on it, words that state his sole reason for this run and many others over the years.
"For Adam," it's written on the shirt. "May you run with the angels."
There's not an exact stopping point on this particular 8½- to 9-mile training run.
At least not in this town.
Brian's real finish line won't be reached for another three-plus weeks, when he crosses the tape Nov. 4 during the New York City Marathon.
Towler, 61, originally from Brisbane, Australia, was selected for the marathon this year after three previous attempts were unsuccessful. It will be his fourth career marathon — he ran the California International in 2009 and 2010 and the Las Vegas Rock and Roll Marathon last year — and all of them have been in memory of his late son.
Adam, who grew up in Laramie, was a student at Emory University in Atlanta. Had Adam lived, his father believes he would have had a career in foreign service, possibly as a diplomat.
"He was an extraordinary kid," Brian said. "Extremely smart, but also an extremely empathetic person. . He sort of had this . insight into people. He had an understanding of things."
Brian said he can't help but think about what might have been if Geiger had opened up to Adam that tragic night rather than resort to such drastic and final acts of violence.
"I'm sure if he'd have started talking to Adam, Adam would have have helped him with his problems," he said. "That's just who he was."
Brian thinks about his son constantly on runs like today's, the miles piling up as fast as the memories.
His heart, he said, isn't bitter toward Geiger, but one trying to mend over his lost boy.
"My job is to make sure Adam's legacy is not forgotten," Brian said. "I don't think about the killer at all. I miss (Adam) every day and I think about him every day. You don't get over something like that and you don't expect to get over that.
"You never get closure, but you have to live the rest of your life and that's what I'm doing. I think I'm dealing with the loss."
Brian last saw his son July 15, 2006. Adam was back in Laramie from Emory for the summer, enjoying time with his family and reconnecting with old friends.
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