Saturday, November 7, 2009


"A kind loving character is the best tombstone. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble." Charles Spurgeon

Saturday was cousin Kent's memorial service. I was asked to talk a little about him. As I thought about what to say I kept thinking of the days up at the cabin with Tim, Kent and Jeff with Grandma and Grandpa Bruette. Those long summer days where filled with adventure, fun, freedom, love, work and play. My cousins where like older brothers to me and we have shared a bond that goes beyond time, distance or anything measurable. We like to measure things. We get caught up in numbers. We need results in order to calculate success. Kent's life defied those definitions. He was not comparable to other people, he was... well, just Kent.

I don't look back on anything Kent accomplished in the physical world as his legacy. His legacy is in this room and in Cordova Alaska. It is in loving relationships with people. I guess the closest person that I have known like Kent was Grandpa Bruette, a friend to everyone, kind to everyone, willing to help or love anyone. A walking, living, breathing sermon on love and kindness.

As I sifted through memories of Kent, each memory brought me to a place where I laughed or scratched my head. Most memories of Kent I have are like that that though. He often left you scratching your head but he also always left you laughing with a smile on your face.Three random remembrances I had this week are these. Kent laying in the loft in the log cabin and it being 100 degrees and I was laying on top of my covers in my underwear sweating and Kent was in his jeans and sweatshirt underneath one of grandmas wool blankets snoring a way in rhythm with Grandpa who was down below. I remember crawling around the back yard of the cabin picking night crawlers after a two day rain. It was pitch black and quiet except for the occasional yell and curse as Kent had torn every night crawler in half he tried to pick. I remember being about 10 years old, canoeing down the Wolf creek and Kent getting out at a beaver dam and sinking in the muck up to his armpits. As he finally pulled himself back into the canoe he looked at me a said oofda, that was close, if I drowned there you would have had to row all the way back yourself.I have also thought of many, many stories that involved Tim, Kent, Jeff and I that cannot share here as they would be inappropriate!

My last memory I want to share is from the time Kent spent as a missionary in the disabled community in Minneapolis, with Special Force Family Ministry. I believe this time was pivotal for Kent as he came into a loving relationship with Jesus there, and that was a spring board to his time in Alaska. remember going up to visit and Kent was taking care of Al. Al was a wonderful man in his 70's who had CP and used a wheelchair. Al could do nothing physically for him self. He lived in homes his whole life as he needed full care. Al was brilliantly smart and a preacher at heart but was very hard to understand. Al loved God with all he had and was not shy to tell others, Al's main message in life was to have Joy no matter the circumstance, even in the hardest darkest and most painful times that life could bring. In fact the last conversation I had with kent on the phone we talked about Al. Kent expressed to me that Al had allots to do with Kent's acceptance of Jesus into his life. That day, Kent's care for Al was lacking in my mind, Al looked disheveled and messy, a little like Kent himself. I got mad and went in Al's room to tell him not to put up with it. Al got quiet and tearful, and I knew I was in for a scolding. He began to tell me not to be so judgmental, while Kent's care for him was not up to my standard; it was actually above Kent's standard. Al said that Kent took care of him even better than he took care of himself, and that Kent was the most loving a caregiver he ever had.

That was Kent to me, loving, caring, willing to be down in a hole, washing the feet of an old man in a wheelchair. Kent was a man who's standards for love and kindness where more in line with heavens than mine will ever be. Kent, we will miss you. The world is a little less loving with out you here.


1 comment:

  1. Brother, sorry to hear about your cousin. Tough, ain't it. Sobering, ain't it. I love you, man. Holler at me... I'm here. -Aubrey