This is the first ever eulogy I have felt inspired to write and that is just because of the deep sense of loss over knowing that my dear friend of so many years is no longer here. Now I must wait until we meet again in the arms of Jesus. This is not about writing an article, but just my heart spilling over in a few memories and thoughts I feel I can share; the briefest of skipping stone throws across a huge pond of inspiring memories.
If I could say one overarching insight about Brenda’s life, it is that in spite of all the pains she experienced in her life she stayed beautiful inside and out. Having known Brenda for 39 or so years, I went through many of those painful life experiences with her. We shared things together about our lives that no one will ever hear about. It’s important to have someone that is able to hear the real you without judgement or criticisms. And not just that. We knew well that in spite of our many failures we were both accepted by Jesus. We saw each other’s core person inside and not just the mistakes on the outside. We comforted each other through tragedies, divorces, losses, births and deaths.
Brenda cared about others. It was Brenda that was willing to fly to the mainland to help support me when I was caring for my great aunt who was sliding into alzheimer’s. It was Brenda who read the book I wrote during that painful time and gave me encouragement.
We would weep together. A couple of times we spent the whole night together weeping, laughing and praying earnestly for some struggles in Brenda’s life. I’m sure the heavens heard us. Things changed.
We helped each other. At one point in our history we both lived in old coffee shacks. We both had leaks in the roofs too. Our then husbands helped each other fix the big things and we made the places homey. I still remember helping Brenda with the laundry squeezing out the clothes from the antique squeeze roller machine. One had to be careful they didn’t get their fingers caught in the rollers as they only rolled one way.
My then husband couldn’t have children so I loved on her children. We were the first baby sitters for Elias. He was such a big child (and had a cast on his fractured arm) I could only carry him walking, jiggling, singing and laughing for about 20 minutes before my arms gave out. Elias was so put out at not having Mommy there that my husband and I spent the whole time entertaining sweet Elias so that mom and dad could have some time alone.
When the 3 kids were older, Elias, Nate and Zachary used to love to be rolled up in blankets and left to squiggle out. We would spend hours together after potluck dinners in each other’s coffee shacks laughing over many things. Often baked beans would encourage the guys, including Bob Brilhart, to a farting contest. Just imagine that. SMILES!!
Brenda and I loved garage sales. We found the most amazing things. She would actually change the whole style of her house frequently. Selling off some things left us room to find more unique stuff. Often our wardrobes were mostly sale finds. Brenda taught me a lot on that. It was Brenda that suggested I make each room or area have it’s own theme. She was a true artist in making a home inviting and interesting.
No matter what was happening in Brenda’s personal life, her children always remained in the forefront honored, protected and cared for. She never forgot about any of them. Brenda raised four beautiful men. Even when the boys were adults, she would still buy size 14 1/2 shoes for Elias whenever she saw a good deal. My heart breaks at the loss of such a wonderful mother for these young men.
After the boys were grown and mostly on their own God blessed Brenda with a good man, Allen. It was really only then that I saw Brenda finally at peace with life and more constantly experiencing joy. She lived in the kind of house that she loved. Always loving animals she was able to have a few special ones surrounding her. Allen and Brenda were the spice of life for each other. It is a blessing to know that in her last days, this good man devotedly cared for her physical, spiritual and emotional comfort.
The world has lost a jewel. But she did leave behind many people touched positively by her beautiful soul, energized by Christ.