THis is the eulogy I wrote for my dear friend Brent who left this world on May 5th. I will not be able to attend the funeral but Kristie, our mutual friend, has graciously offered to read my thoughts and memories, this is what she will be reading.
When Kristie asked me to write about some of the memories I have of Brent I knew that this would be both an easy and a hard thing to do. It’s easy because there are a bunch to choose from, mostly involving the good times we had at karaoke shows and just hanging out together. Hard because many of these memories are tied into some of the hardest moments of my life, Brent was always there to see me through back to the good times and now that he is gone and we have to say goodbye I don’t know how I won’t lose my way in life.
Brent was many things, he was my best friend, a stand in brother, a marriage counselor, a side kick, a drinking buddy and, strangely enough, a moral compass. A lot of the memories I have aren’t really suitable for a church but then again, as Brent would agree, neither were the best parts of the bible. The scriptures are full of messed up broken people who God uses in crazy ways to get the gospel shared and our lives today are no exception. Brent was straight up, he lived without pretensions, he didn’t compromise about anything, he called it like he saw it and he was not afraid to tell the truth. In that spirit my memories of him are full of the straight up truth.
I met Brent through a fellow karaoke host named Tommy Young, at first we were acquaintances until one day Tommy was sick and I ended up filling in for him at a bar called Joe Palooka’s. I’m, right in the middle of the show when all of a sudden here comes this rebel rousing bald headed dude with a sleeveless shirt on he made himself, tattoos blazin, ballcap on, you guys can see him standing here as I type this can’t you? “Hey! Where’s Tommy??!!??” “Uhhh….. he’s sick dude” I stammer, not wanting to get my butt kicked. “OK!!” he says as he hands me about 8 slips of karaoke requests. He must have liked the way I ran my shows because it wasn’t long that I would see him at almost everyone. Then one day after the show was over and most of the bar had cleared out I asked him if he wanted to go get some breakfast. He said sure and that was the beginning of our friendship. He sat there and told me the story of some guy he knew that he was really good friends with and how he had died in a car wreck not long ago and how he was supposed to be in the car with him. “God wanted me here I guess” he said.
Brent had poor vision because of his progressing diabetes so he didn’t drive, that was no problem because he lived so close to me, Id swing by, pick him up, we’d go to the show together and he would help me set up. We’d hang and drink all night and then we’d tear down and sometimes we’d go get breakfast. One time my folks invited the two of us to go see a Rockies game and he brought along his handicap sticker That was the moment that he became my parents favorite friend of mine, not that I ever had too many of those.
My favorite memory is my 23rd birthday, a bunch of us were there, all of my favorite people. My brother, Brent, I think he had a girl at the time too. He and my brother signed me up to sing Barbie Girl and I was so drunk I didn’t care I did it anyway. When my brother died several months later Brent was one of the first folks I called. He did what he always did, he made sure that I got out to karaoke and we sang the night away. He was also at the funeral even though he barely knew Mark, he knew I needed support so he was there.
My least favorite memory was the night I threw a stool at him, He needed a ride clear across town and I was so drunk, and hurting, doing everything I could to stay numb, to not care. I said things I didn’t actually mean and threw the stool which he caught. He later told me he forgave me as soon as it left my hands, that was Brent too, he always forgave.
We were both avid wrestling fans and while watching Raw or Nitro if something crazy happened we’d call each other. Of course you’d never be able to tell what we were talking about in those conversations because it would sound like this “DUDE DID YOU JUST SEE THAT???” “DUDE YES!!! AWESOME” “DUDE!!!” “DUUUUUDE?” “DUDE!!” We were eloquent what can I say? The peak of our wrestling fandom happened when we went to Raw together, Brent scored floor seats. Shane McMahon ran right past us and for a slit second we were on live TV with our signs. After that we went to Denny’s like always and Brent told me all about American Idol and how awesome it is, I’m still not a fan but I am glad he liked it so much.
When I got married the first time Brent was my best man, when that marriage fell apart Brent was right there, told me to get my ass over to his house and pick him up to go to a karaoke show He always knew what I needed, the best friends are like that. When I moved to Tucson he and Kristie and Michael Pelshaw threw me a huge going away party. Hell even my parents came and they hate karaoke.
The last time I saw him was 9 years ago this month we went to lunch at Old Chicago and he looked me right in the eyes and he said “This one hurts because it’s like I know you’re never coming back” and he was right. I never saw him again, we’d still talk. He kept me up to date on his blindness, his brushes with death and losing his leg. When he got the new kidney and pancreas we rejoiced. We made jokes about used parts(his idea). When I finally became a Christian again 5years ago he told me he was glad to see I was finally on the right road. I honestly think I always was, God put him in my life to watch after me during my darkest days, to make sure I never strayed too far. Some would say that Brent was always looking for the party but I don’t think that is true. I believe that Brent always knew his time was short, he was not afraid of dying because as he said “I know where I’m going” and he just wanted to milk life for all he could for the time he had. He lived fully. I can see him now in heaven, this rebel rousing bald headed dude with a sleeveless shirt on he made himself, tattoos blazin, ballcap on, strolling up to the pearly gates saying “HOOOO WEEE what a freaking ride!! Where’s the karaoke show?