When I was fifteen I had a nightmare that I still clearly remember. I walked out my parents sliding glass door blinded by the sun. The sound of wood being chopped rang in my ears. When my eyes adjusted I saw my older Brent holding an axe and wiping the sweat from his eyes. He was chopping down our apricot tree. When he was done he tied the trunk of the tree and branches together with some rope. The stack of wood was huge, like a lumberjack's pile after clearing a few acres. He climbed up to the top and was walking across when one of the ropes gave way and the rounded pieces slid from under his feet and Brent fell to his death. My insides froze and my stomach dropped. "Brent!" a voice screamed from behind me. I spun and saw my father watching the horrific scene, a look so haunted it shredded my heart and woke me from my dream. I was sweating and shaking, the memory of the dream refusing to go away. Never in my life had I had such a dream. I was terrified by the vividness. I crept down the hallway and stuck my head into my brother's room just so I could make sure he was alive. The next day I was helping my mom fold laundry and I told her about my dream. She gave me a grin and said, "It's okay; it was only a dream."
The next day we packed up to go visit my sister on vacation. Brent stayed behind because he was working, saving up money for his third year of college. After returning from a day of fun we listened to the messages and one was from my brother Steve telling us we needed to call him. I was suddenly on edge. No one else seemed upset but I knew, knew something was wrong. I watched nervously as my Dad returned the call and I'll never forget the anguish in his voice as he almost screamed, "Brent what?" He turned toward us and the look in his eyes was exactly as it had been in my dream. He didn't have to tell me what happened; I knew my brother had died. Brent had been working in my father's shop in our backyard when he died. He was only twenty two and I'm now far older than he ever lived to be, but in my mind he'll always be my older brother.
I've been thinking a lot about Brent recently. Not only is his birthday coming up but he and the men in my family were huge Celtics fans back from the Larry Bird days.Brent wore his Celtics hat all the time. I can't help but think how much he would have loved the championship these past weeks, although he would have been upset with the Celtics' loss.