Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Brett Henry

If someone approached me and asked me to provide a single human being to represent our species in a first contact situation with alien beings, I would choose Brett Henry without thinking twice. It's not that Brett was perfect. He had flaws, plenty of them. To say that life had knocked Brett down into the dirt and kicked him in the teeth a few times would be an understatement. He might have even walked into a few of those ass kickings.

Brett was the best man I knew because of those hard times. They were the chisels that sculpted out his character and his moral compass, which was unerringly true. They weren't qualities he bragged about. He never saw himself as better than anyone. But if you were to stand him in with a group of his friends and loved ones and asked them all to simultaneously pick out a leader, there wouldn't be a vote or a debate. Brett would be the only one not pointing at Brett. He was kind without being soft. He was smart without being high-handed. He was funny without being goofy.

He gravitated toward grizzled, underdog heroes because that's what he was. He was the Aragorn in our Fellowship. He was the Hicks of our Colonial Marines. And when those aliens made first contact and asked Brett about humanity, he wouldn't have sugar coated it. He wouldn't have painted a Norman Rockwell portrait of life on Earth. But he wouldn't have shit on humanity either. He could see the best in the worst, whether it was a situation or a person. He could you make you feel like it was okay to look at yourself in the mirror. Without even trying, Brett made it easier to get up the next day and face the world again, even when he was struggling to do the same.

I don't want to rehash a bunch of personal memories of my friend here. Those are mine to keep close. My friend is dead. I loved him. While I want answers about the circumstances around his death, those answers won't change the most important thing: Brett Henry lived. And his life made mine a better one. I plan on spending the rest of my days trying to be half as good a human being as Brett Henry.

1 comment:

Elyse Kimberley said...

Beautifully written, Connor. I didn't know Brett well but liked him immediately when I met him. Your words of tribute make me wish I'd had the chance to know him more. Much love and comfort to you, Kim and the rest of Brett's family.