My best friend, Jennifer, helped me write Brian’s obituary. I did the words, she did the grammar. We climbed onto my bed, closed the door, and wrote it. While that was an incredibly painful task, the next part proved to be the hardest: finding a picture. In the weeks since Brian has died, I have posted many pictures of him and even more of the two of us together. People comment that it’s so beautiful that I have so many pictures of us together. I have THOUSANDS of pictures of us together and many more thousands of pictures of Brian, but here’s the catch: almost none of them are publishable for an obituary. Why? Because most of them look like the picture over on the left: no shirt, sunglasses, and fishing pole in hand. Others might have him in a shirt, but with a beer in one hand and an absurd wig on his head. Still others would have him with a Winston sticking out of his mouth, or smiling a goofy grin, or flipping someone off (interestingly the photo we ended up using for the obit involved him being shirtless, a beer in one hand, and his middle finger in the air. Thank Elvis for Photoshop,) but the majority of them involve a fishing pole.
Brian was many things, a true Jack of All Trades, but when you peeled it all off and just looked at his core, Brian was an angler. He was born to fish. I cannot tell you the number of days he fished on New Year’s Day. He bragged that he caught fish on the first day of the year 4 years in a row. He would fish early in the morning, late at night, in the heat, in the cold, in the rain, in pain, in joy, in rivers, in creeks, and if he thought maybe, just maybe, there might be something biting, I’m sure he’d have fished in a rain puddle. Angling was not what he did, it is who he was. I’m sure he bled 12 pound test line and his joints were made of spinner reels.
As Brian grew his hair and his beard out in response to the Beards and Bikinis bet, he decided that he was going to finally get his first tattoo. He had thought long and hard – for years – about what to get and finally decided that, as cheesy as it was, he was going to get a fish hook piercing his skin. Honestly, I would have rolled my eyes at anyone else who did that because, seriously, that’s about as close to flash as you can get, but honestly it was so perfect for him. He had decided to get it the 2nd week of December because work would slow down and he’d be able to let it heal properly. Unfortunately, he didn’t live long enough to do that and he died with pristine uninked skin.
I have marked my body to commemorate momentous occasions since I was 16; piercings and tattoos are my autobiography. Most you can see, some you cannot. I knew immediately upon hearing that Brian died that there would be another tattoo in my future. I thought about it and what I wanted it to be and, while I would never have picked it myself if he were still living, I knew EXACTLY what I needed it to be. Different variations of it cruised through my mind for some time, but the basic idea was solid. I would get his fishhook and I would cross that off Brian’s bucket list.
Saturday was our 12th anniversary. I made my appointment with the same artist who did my sanskrit tattoo. That tattoo was my 9th anniversary gift from Brian and the only tattoo he witnessed being given first hand. Fishhook, 10 pound test, and his signature. You have me, Brian, hook, line, and sinker. Forever.