Monday, March 16, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Brenda and hello to Penny Boy

Today we all felt the warmth of the breezes of Spring as we walked outside to greet the morning. I was gathering green and white surprises to decorate Brenda"s wheelchair and a St. Patty's scarf for Penny Boy in order to put together our painting exercise to "play" and Paint the afternoon away. When I arrived, I had a small circle of curious ladies sitting on the couch waiting much nearer to our work table in the large receiving room at Sharon Brooke. The piano was playing Gershwin as I laid out our watercolors, brushes, pencils and a couple of artist magazines on our side of the table by the window so others could participate vicariously. As I keyed in the security number and entered on my way to Brenda's room, two staff members stopped me and asked if I had received a phone call this morning. "No..." I replied. "Why"? My friend Brenda had died this morning in her sleep. I was shaken to my core because I felt she would last until Fall...I am a queen of denial and she was so full of living in the moment. Even when last week when we just shared stories, recipes and brief histories about love and life ...I felt she...I mean I...had more time. Penny Boy paced back and forth between the two of us the whole afternoon and I felt he was trying to tell me something. I even went and talked with Amy the director and the the Hospice nurse to ask if there could be anything else arranged to keep her comfortable and a possible evening out to get coconut shrimp at Red Lobster. Penny Boy did not want me to leave last Monday and today he tried to follow me out as if he was asking me "What happens to me now?" Yes, I fell apart but if Tony asked me again I would sign up for this outreach with this extraordinary woman again...I know I would be there. It is not what we really do with the fragile and elderly but what we bring to them to share in the present moment. If you think about it we should all live as if we were in Hospice care...full of love without any pain. I will miss you Brenda but you are in my heart's memories forever. Did I tell you Penny Boy would be moving into the Stewart home on Wednesday. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart


  1. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend, and treasure with you your memories you have shared. Penny Boy is lucky, such a caring person had come into thier lives.


  2. So sorry that you had to lose Brenda so soon.

    And, to think that you're adding another critter! You never know what life brings.