Live long enough and you just might just see it all. The good, the bad, the ugly… the heartbreaking.
It’s been several days now since Brian Feit died on a road just outside Towson, Maryland. His car crossed the center line, his life had barely crossed the half-century mark. Too young. Too soon. Too crazy to comprehend.
Yet, it’s reality. For his wife Holly, his daughter Zoe, his son Trevor, it’s too much to bear. For a community in shock, for literally hundreds of friends and family who knew Brian, it’s nearly impossible to imagine. And it’s a sad sequel to a time most of us wish never happened.
Back in 2010 one of Brian’s best friends, Larry Bensky, was killed while riding his bike along the back roads in Baltimore County. At the time it was tough for Brian to understand how God could allow his best friend’s life to be cut short. Larry was only 44 when he died. Now the two are together. There, up in heaven, maybe they both have come to understand what it’s hard to believe here on earth – once in a while God takes a really good one. But much too soon.
I knew both Brian and Larry and all I can figure is it must be a tough job being the Almighty, and I suppose you need some real angels to help get it right, to help make sure souls here on earth are taken care of, are shown the right way, are taught that love conquers all – that’s why He needed two blood brothers to join Him. To teach us all how to become more.
It’s the only reason that makes any sense. Since high school, Brian came in-and-out of my life and at different times I got to spend time with both he and his wife Holly. But in what now seems an incredible twist of fate, Brian passed right through my life again, less than a week before he passed away.
When the garbage disposal broke under the kitchen sink the week of August 14th, there was only one call I needed to make – to Brian. Brian was a master plumber, and a friend. Who else would I want? When asked, “how much does he charge?”, it didn’t really matter, my response was, “I trust he will get it right and he’ll be fair.” The best thing I’ve known about Brian is, he was always fair. Before he left the house on August 18th he wrote up a receipt and for some reason I saved it, I have no idea why. The day I got the text Brian was gone, I just started at that receipt, wondering aloud why I hadn’t tossed it aside.
Was there some inner sense I felt something was coming… no way. Maybe just because when it came to Brian, there was something worth savoring.
I don’t know Brian as well as his close friends from school and no one will ever know him as well as his beautiful wife and two incredible children. But to hear the stories and see the overwhelming love over the past few days – you know there’s one man who got life right. The love you get is only equal to the love you give.
“I is what I is”, he would say.
Standing at outdoor services to honor Brian’s memory the past few evenings, under the dimming light, in the waning days of the summer season, with a cool breeze gently blowing through the backyard, you could almost feel as if Brian was there watching. As if perhaps God tried to give his family a gift – crafting two of the most perfect weather days of the year. If God wanted Brian, maybe He was trying to leave a little perfection behind for his family. One more warm memory. And why not, Brian was a soulful spirit, who never left anyone feeling cold.
Cold wasn’t in Brian’s vocabulary – certainly not in the life he brought to this earth. Honest to a fault, devoted to his family, adored by his friends, Brian was almost an anomaly in a world where everyone tries to be like everyone else. But Brian refused to follow the herd. Not only was he a master plumber, he was a master griller, he never met a piece of good Baltimore beef he didn’t like, or couldn’t cook. He loved to tell stories, to tell it like it is, to hold nothing back. I was not among his circle of closest friends, but to hear the stories his friends and family told at his funeral – of a man with great character, integrity, great fun and great caring – you got the sense that while Brian didn’t try to be everything to everyone, there was no one he met who wasn’t left with an impression of meeting someone special.
“I is what I is”, he would say.
What he was will long be remembered. You don’t create a life so many celebrate without leaving an indelible mark. The goal of this life is to make sure people know you came this way. There was much more “way” in front of Brian, but behind him now are memories, that will take a lifetime to recall. That’s the good stuff – be who you are – manage to pull that off and no one will ever forget you, and so many will love you, for just being you.
It was a life well-lived, albeit much too short. Brian was Brian. “I is what I is”, he would say.
Rest in peace Brian Feit. Thanks for being who you were meant to be.
Until next time thanks for taking the time,