We’ve been remodeling our son’s bedroom for the past couple of months. It’s a big project, made even bigger by Brent’s absence. Brent truly was a master carpenter. A few years back he helped transform our somewhat ramshackle former garage into a beautiful home. No mean feat that, believe me.
The very last conversation Brent and I had was the Saturday night before he passed away. It was a few ticks prior to midnight and we’d just spent the past eight hours playing Dungeons and Dragons. We stood outside the Oddfellows Lodge, first talking about the night’s game and where the story would lead next, but then centering on my plans for Connor’s Room.
Brent was excited to lend a hand and I was thrilled to have him on board. We worked well together and he knew what the hell he was doing. Sure he had a grasp of the mechanics of it, the practical application required to get the job done, but more than that, he had a wealth of creative and artistic energies that really made the work sing.
If you’ve any doubts, you should see the way he transformed our foyer and the entry into our bathroom. That was some tricky business, but Brent was able to make some real magic happen.
I was expecting more of the same brilliance when it came to Conn’s Room, but it, alas, was not meant to be.
That was just one of several construction projects we’d discussed in the weeks and months prior to his departure. We’d brainstormed over a writer’s shed and game room with a Norse Longhouse theme, and a Viking Funeral Boat for myself. That was gong to be a fun one, a small wooden vessel with a dragon figurehead on the prow, in which my crematory ashes would be placed. I told him how I wanted it set adrift on Goose Creek, off the old ritual haunt, and I made him promise to be one of the archers to set it afire, but he joked that he’d be gone long before me.
I hate that he was right.
Every day I am thankful that our very last moments together were spent in a tight hug and me saying, “I love you, brother.” His “I love you too” still echoes in my soul.
Thirteen weeks and I’m still shedding tears.