Preston Brennan 1961-2008

By John Brennan ,

[1] Brennan B. Light Emerging – The Journey of Personal Healing New York: Bantam Books 1993


I have never understood the sport of rock climbing. I see a steep climbing route, and I think in terms of extension ladders, not ropes and hardware. When I would visit my brother Preston I was always drawn to his formidable collection of climbing magazines, with their stories of outdoor adventure and great photography. I felt this to be a great way to enjoy the sport – from the couch. Although, if they made a ‘climbing lounge’ (like the ab lounge) I would try that.

I got the call late Sunday night that Preston had fallen while climbing Werk Supp at his beloved Eldorado Canyon (near Boulder) with his girlfriend Alison, and was at St. Anthony Central Hospital in a coma. I do not know the details, except that he fell 50 feet, and hit his face where his helmet did not protect him. He was quickly stabilized on life support, and we were told that the next three days would be critical to his recovery. At the meeting Thursday morning with Dr Levy and his excellent staff, it was explained that the damage to Preston’s brain was just too extensive, and although he would be stable for a long time on life support, and some long term recovery might be possible, the man we knew and loved would not be returning to us. It was also agreed that the terms of his living will had been satisfied and we needed to move to honor his wishes.

When a person on life support (coma) is an organ donor, the doctors disconnect the life support and wait for the brain function to stop on its own. We were told that in a few minutes without life support he would be legally dead, but most of his organs would be unusable, except for liver and kidneys. This process sounds simple, but it did not sit well with us.

As an Energy Healer I am used to helping people gain better health, but in this case I was called to help him move on. I called upon fellow friend and healer Tim to help me Friday noon, and we performed a Core Star Expansion[1]. This involves making contact with his core star (the distilled beauty and essence of Preston) and inviting him to join us as we expand our core stars out into the universe. After initial hesitation on his part, we expanded as far out and away from ‘Earth consciousness’ as we could, and there I asked him to remain, while Tim and I returned. At one point I saw Preston move out ahead of us as we expanded, as if to remind me that he could still give me a run for my money.

Friday evening his nurse called me to say that Preston’s brain had begun swelling again, and they could not stabilize his blood pressure and heartbeat, and it didn’t look good for him. The next morning Dr Levy called and said he had passed away during the night, but was still on life support. That afternoon his closest friends gathered in his room to reminisce, and then we all said goodbye to him. The following morning the organ donation process was begun, with all of his organs being used.

Preston never explained to me his lifelong passion for climbing, but I believe it has to do with being in the moment while climbing. While in the flow of climbing a steep rock face I don’t think there is time to dwell on regrets and glories of the past, or to become too occupied with the details and fears of the future. For me the past can be a breeding ground for regret, resentment, recycled anger, etc. And there is no guarantee that I will be around to experience the future that I so carefully ‘planned’. I think Preston found peace in this realm of being in the present moment.

I celebrate Preston’s life, his go big or go home attitude, his willingness to keep moving forward despite difficult times, and the love he had for his family and friends. He died doing what he loved most with the woman he loved, and I feel good about that. He was an absolute music nut, and I played the next song on his I pod this morning (“Out and In” Moody Blues – Children’s Children album) and the tears flowed. My brother, you will be missed.

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