After Austen died, I discovered on his computer a collection of assorted writings from the last few years. His deep intelligence, mindfulness, and spirituality come through the words and sentences in those writings with beautiful clarity and vision. He was expressing his thoughts and feelings at a moment in time, urging himself on. I’d like to think he would not mind me sharing some of his words with you. The excerpt below is taken from a journal he kept during his last nine months, which he titled, “Journey Through Sobriety”:
“It’s so crazy how you walk through life bored and unimpressed, and then all of a sudden one day you see things for what they are and you can’t believe how beautiful everything is. You appreciate the sun and the clouds, the trees and the air they allow us to breathe. You realize that everything is actually connected in a real sense. I’d like to think you can never go back after coming to this conclusion, but that’s not true. That’s why you have to be in tune with who you are and the reality of existence. The universe has billions of galaxies. Here I am in just one of them, in just one solar system, on just one planet, revolving around just one star. Why waste time?”
Austen Berj Brooks, July 1, 2014
“Nice Day,” photo taken by Austen from the Lincoln Park Boardwalk in Chicago and posted on Instagram, Sunday, September 28, 2014.
Austen loved sports, he loved playing sports and he was a gifted athlete. Growing up he played on soccer, baseball and hockey teams in youth and city leagues and for Grosse Pointe High School.
Last night his friend Drew sent me the photos below with this note:
“I wanted to share a picture with you that we took last week. This summer a group of us Grosse Pointe boys have been playing in the Neighborhood Club softball league. We are sponsored by the Atwater Brewery in GPP so when Chris Thomas and I went to make our team jerseys we knew we had to add a nice little touch to them. Each of our jerseys has an ‘AB’ patch on our chest. Austen has been with us all season (and we could really use him!). We want you to know that he is always with us because he is one of us!”
Top Row (Left to Right): Matt Reck, Dave Clem, Reid Fragel, Chris Shirar, Kelly O’Donnell Daudlin, Kevin MacConnachie, Alex Parker. Bottow Row: Alex Piku, Chris Thomas, Jimmy Bretz, Pat Pawlowski, Drew Condino.
AB for Austen Brooks. Thank you Team Atwater! Austen is definitely smiling about this. Very touching tribute. Keeping him close. Play ball!
The world may change in every way,
But not the puddles on a rainy day.
The moist smell of grass and beading droplets on leaves
And the collective sigh of the starving trees.
Not the feelings one gets in the pouring rain
Something so real, so pleasant, yet so mundane.
The way each drop could form an ocean
And mix the pieces into a whole.
Through blue beady eyes a life will pass
I push the sun away to let this rain last.
Austen Berj Brooks, 2011
“I like the rain.”
Photo taken by Austen with his iPhone, posted on Instagram on
August 11, 2013.