Kevin Bromund was a badass. I’m sorry, but I don’t know of a better way to describe him. And, if you knew him, you would say the same thing. Ever since I met Kevin he possessed this quality. He was 16 years old when we first crossed paths–I was dating his older sister. He looked like a young Tom Cruise. He had a VW beetle and was getting into this new sport called snowboarding. Long before there were runs on ski hills for snowboarding Kevin and his friends would make them up on the backside of ski resorts in MN. They would also bring their boards to a local sand mine and board down them like hills. Like I said, badass.
As he got older, his confidence grew. He wanted to be a pilot. He longed to fly at fast speeds across the sky with 2 miles of nothing between him and the ground. He lived a lively, raucous life and no one could stop him.
It was during a physical for this pursuit that he found out about his heart defect. His heart was flip flopped. It’s called a transverse heart. It is a rare condition and one that would change Kevin’s life forever. Because of his heart’s design it would have to work harder, which caused it to enlarge. The enlargement caused his valves to leak, which caused Kevin to receive his first open heart surgery when he was 25 years old. More sobering than the surgery is that Kevin was given a timeline on his life. He was told that he would probably not live beyond his forties.
Did he crawl up into a ball and cry? Did he sit home and watch TV for the rest of his life? No. He traveled, He built homes. Drove motorcycles. Caught lunkers, Drank. Smoked. Got married. Had kids and settled down. Kevin was not the type of person to be told what to do, even by doctors. He gulped life as he desired and made the most of every opportunity to try every flavor, aroma, experience and sight.
Kevin died yesterday. He valiantly fought for 34 days at the University of Minnesota’s hospital to continue to live the life that he wanted to live, and not the life that people told him to live. His family is going to miss him, so will his friends. Not just because he carved his way into their hearts, but I think they will miss him because deep down they liked knowing that there was someone who did as he pleased and made the most of every opportunity of the life he had on this earth. Most of us don’t know when we will pass on. Perhaps we shouldn’t see this as such a gift. Our ignorance of our own death makes us passive in life. There is always a tomorrow. There is always another day to procrastinate our humdrum nature toward. Kevin was given a gift. He was told that he had to make the most of his years on this planet–and he did. For that, I will miss him.