My oldest son Brent died in a motorcycle accident in 2002. Today is his 34th birthday snd Sunday is Mother’s Day. I’d like to tell you a little about him and why I still feel so connected to him.
When Brent was born in 1981, at 2 months old, you could already see the mischief in his eyes. By the time he was a teenager, he and his younger brother, Brad, had made many trips to the Emergency Room with broken bones, stitches, and a dislocated jaw — from sports, playing hard with friends and just simply taking chances. Brent was a born athlete and adrenaline junky and I must say we encouraged that, along with his independence.
And Brent surely was independent! He loved to explore on his own when we would be on vacation and he badgered me until I let him take a flight by himself at age eleven, to my cousin in Florida.
Then, at age 15, he decided that he wanted to be a pilot, said he was not good at providing his own structure — so he asked us to allow him to move out and attend a military high school in New York; we lived in Massachusetts. He thrived there and achieved the third highest rank of 3rd Captain, supervising the cadet population and received academic and athletic awards.
He then got a full Army ROTC scholarship to his top choice college, Arizona State University. While there, he met the love of his life, Laura, and was saving for an engagement ring. Brent became an aviation major and passed the Army Aviator written test. He was also prepared for the Army physical test, which was coming during boot camp that summer. He’d been running several miles each morning, as well as backpacking in the desert with full gear one weekend each month, and he had finally achieved his goal of six-pack abs!
Brent was smart, handsome and driven. He was also a risk taker, he just took one too many risks on that motorcycle. But it was how he lived — full out.
I am very proud of all that Brent accomplished in his short life. I love him and miss him dearly, but that does not diminish the gift that he was to me for the twenty-one years that I got to enjoy him!
My journey of grief to a new normal over these several years was long and hard, but I’ve proven to myself that his spirit and all our children’s spirits continue. I know that Brent is all right and that our bond of love continues, as it does with his brother, his father and the rest of our family.
I’ve been blessed to receive signs from Brent directly and through others, and I have developed my intuition enough so that I can often feel him. I can today… Maybe I’ll offer up a toast to him or get him a birthday cake, light a candle or just blow him a kiss… whatever feels right at the time.
Brent knows that I love him, he’ll always be my son.
Happy Birthday, Brent!
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