In Remembrance: Brooke Overstreet Hack

The nice thing about being independently published and my own boss is that I can write about damn near anything I want.  Today, I want to write about my friend Brooke.

I met Brooke in Junior High, in Band if I recall correctly, and we were close friends throughout most of Junior High and High School.  She was one of my all-time best friends, in fact.  She bought me Def Leppard's Pyromania for my birthday one year, knowing how much I liked their Hysteria album.  We exchanged homemade Christmas cards most every year.  We spent many hours talking on the phone* and hanging out.  I could almost always make her laugh.  Her smile could light up the room.  Our trip with the band to state wouldn't have been the same without her.

There was a time there near the end of High School when we didn't see eye-to-eye and drifted apart (I think it was a disparity in maturity), but we managed to reconcile before parting ways (I moved out of state after graduation).  And through the years since High School we've kept in touch, mostly through email with a couple of calls along the way (she called me when she lost her first child, and I called her when I found out about her diagnosis).  I had just been thinking about her this week, that I needed to call or email her to let her know I'd reconnected with our JH/HS friend Mike Skinner (the engineer, not the race car driver).  Then, this morning, my wife told me that one of Brooke's sisters posted to Facebook yesterday that Brooke had passed away.

All morning, I've felt like I've been kicked in the gut.  My wife told me Brooke had dropped off Facebook about a year ago; I spend so little time on Facebook that I hadn't noticed.  Although it had been awhile since we'd spoken, I like to think that if we had things left unsaid, that they were few.  We were forthcoming about how much we respected and admired each other.  I loved Brooke, not in a romantic sense, but as I love family and my dearest friends.  I think she knew that.  She was always compassionate, encouraging, and generally sunny and upbeat, even when her worsening condition confined her to a wheelchair.  She made you feel better about yourself and about life.

Brooke was a fine artist in her own right.  She played guitar and flute.  She was a good writer and had a fine, informative website, which sadly appears to no longer be accessible, although her blog is still up.  I think she would have made a grand author.  She was certainly smart enough to have.  I don't know if she drew or painted, but I wouldn't be surprised if she did and was skilled at that, also.  She seemed to excel at everything she tried her hand at.

I'm not sure how she died, and I'm not sure that I want to know.  I like to think that she died peacefully, with few regrets and nothing left unsaid, surrounded by her loved ones, that she got to hold their hands and say goodbye.  I also like to think that she's in Heaven now being reunited with loved ones who went on before, some missed and some she'd never met but who had gotten to watch her grow up from afar and are finally getting to embrace her in their arms.  I hope that she's holding the child she lost and that she says hello to my grandparents and my and Miranda's unborn daughter, who I never got to meet or hold (but I hope to some day).

At only 39, she was taken much too early, leaving behind her parents, her 2 sisters, her brother, her husband, and her 2 boys.  Yet, she accomplished a lot in her life.  She was a daughter, a sister, a friend, an artist, a wife, a mother, and a home-schooler.  I hope the warm memories her family has of her will help to ease some of their grief.  I also hope they might enjoy these old pictures that I dug out of a photo album.  They were taken of Brooke in 1988 from our time in the Video Club.  She made the friendship bracelet for me (they were big in the late 80's) around 1989 or 1990, as best as I can remember.

I shall miss my friend.

*One funny memory there:  the phone would routinely disconnect us, usually within a minute or so of the connection being made.  It only happened to us when we were talking to each other, all other calls to and from our respective households would not have that problem.  One time her dad got on the phone after I called back, irate and wanting to know why I'd hung up or why I kept hanging up, something like that, and I had to explain what frequently happened.  I'm not sure if he believed me.

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  1. I feel kicked in the gut as well. Thank you for writing this post in remembrance of such a wonderful person. She will be missed.

  2. It's beautiful, Brian. Thank you for sharing your time with her and how you remember her - Krysten

  3. You are welcome, Anonymous. She will indeed.

  4. Brian,
    That was beautiful and touching. I've been Brooke's neighbor for almost 12 years. We all loved her and we shared wonderful times with Brooke and her family. I want you to know, she was a wonderful wife and wonderful mother to her boys. The short time she was with them, she gave them more than anyone could ever ask for. Yes, they always held her hand and reminded her how much they loved her, and yes it was peaceful.

  5. Hello Anonymous,

    Thank you. I'm glad you got the opportunity to know her and her family. Thank you for sharing those details with me.