Every Tuesday, for ten weeks straight now, I have tried to keep the memory of my best friend alive by injecting him into this blog, a modest tribute to a man I loved like a brother. See, eleven weeks ago today he left his body behind, sailing off into the great unknown, Not an hour has passed that I have not thought of him, of our friendship and what he meant to me, of his family that is gutted by his absence…
The thing I have tried most to do is cling to that spark of him that remains, to keep him with us and a part of us. I, like so many others that loved him, will not let all of him go.
When we love someone, we give them a part of ourselves. If you’re lucky, in the end, there’s not a whole lot of you left.
That’s immortality, especially if those you gave yourself to pass you along.
That’s what these Tuesday blogs are all about. Me passing Brent along.
In the summer of 1987, Brent and I shared a little apartment in Muncie. It was the third and last place we’d hung our hats together, though he continued to be a fixture in every college town hovel I called home after.
That summer holds a special place in my heart. We were both pulling in good grades and going to class regularly (the last time that would happen for me) and we managed to avoid the craziness that had come before and would come after. We kicked back, drank a few beers, and spent untold hours dissecting the very fabric of time and space.
I slept on the couch in the front room, having converted my bedroom into a meditation room. We were getting somewhere, you know. We both felt like we were on the cusp of something truly remarkable, something life-changing and evolutionary.
I don’t know, maybe it was the trips we were taking down to Indy, hanging out at Marilene Isaacs’ and logging hours in her isolation tank, but man, it really felt like we were onto something.
Of course, it didn’t last. I had a series of mini-breakdowns followed by micro-highs. I was on a roller-coaster, terrified of growing up, and in a lot of ways, so was Brent. The inevitable crash that came in the early 90s began in the winter of ’87.
We stumbled and fell, but we picked ourselves up, often leaning on each other. In the years just prior to his death, Brent had grown immeasurably. He was the Brent of old, full of fire and passion. We had reassembled the old gang, slinging dice together but not as some kind of nostalgia… No, we reconnected and built something new. We had, each of us, been through fire, and we came out the other side of it renewed.
This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through.
Brent was such a huge part of my life. I would not be the man I am today without his friendship. I am thankful for every moment we had together, and I’m thankful that so many of us carry a piece of him inside us.
That’s just one more reason that makes our game nights so special. When we’re all together, there’s more than just a piece of him there…