8.16.2009

Our Brenda

Brenda was a sweet, dear young lady. She came to us when she was 17 years old, still very innocent and childlike, although she had, had a very difficult child-
hood. Her parents were unable to take care of her or her siblings, so they were sent to live with foster parents, where life was horrible. Some people, no matter how cruel, tho' they can squash a child's self-esteem, break their spirit, but they can never take Hope away from the human heart.
Brenda was like a soft little sparrow, whose 'wings' had been broken when she was a little very little girl. Despite that, she always had Hope and Joy. Brenda was one of very few people who lacked guile. She always had an open smile and a warm hug for everybody. I don't remember ever seeing her truly angry.
We met her Christmas Eve, when my daughter brought her home to spend the holidays with us. I only learned she was coming after the stores were closed, so had nothing of much substance to give her, nontheless I found a few knick-nacks or "something"...anything to wrap and put them under the tree. She had never had a happy Christmas, and as I recall, not many gifts. As I was in the kitchen cooking, somebody had mentioned, much to my embarrassment that there were gifts for all of us under the tree. Brenda's eyes widened and she breathed, "Noooo...even for me???" I admitted that, yes, there were a few things under there, but, I stammered that I was sorry that they weren't all that great. The next thing I knew all the 'kids' were in the living room giggling. When I went to see, there was Brenda down on her hands and knees, under the tree with nothing but her butt sticking out. She was like a little kid excitedly looking through all the BIG, fancy gifts, looking for hers...just so she could look at the wrapping. I wish I could have given her the world.
I don't remember what the gifts were, but the next morning when she opened them, she "Oooooh'd and Ahhhh'd" as tho' they were diamonds, and eyes sparkling and still clutching the presents, came to each of us and gave
us a big, lonnnnnng hug, kissed us and thanked us over and over.
The only dreams she ever had was to have 'babies' and to be happily married. She had all that for a little while; the desire of her heart. We rejoiced with her when she got married, and when she had each of her two boys, Christopher and Tim. We'll never forget how dearly she loved her babies and tenderly cared for them.
Although she was a beautiful girl, her jaw was always off to one side, and she began having headaches. (She was taking classes to be a CNA, where she could care for others as well.) Such a warm, nurturing spirit she had.
Her doctor discovered that, apparently her jaw had been broken when she was a child, but had never been tended to, so it had healed off-center, but now that she was grown, the nerves were being pinched, giving her "TMJ". Surgery was scheduled, whereby her jaw would be rebroken, and wired shut for about a month to heal.
Being well-organized, she had gotten a lot of powdered shakes, etc. to make things easier, to get her life back on track, taking care of her babies and husband. Her new and wonderful life.
But the Brenda we knew, who went into surgery that day never came back to us. During the surgery, when the surgeons rebroke her jaw, she awoke, remembering how it had originally gotten broken. The person responsible should be sitting in jail for a very, very long time, but time had let Brenda 'forget'...to 'hide' it from her, so that she could get on with life, so the truth was never brought out and thus, the criminal who hurt her walks free.
Immediately after surgery, her mouth wired shut, she was in high panick mode, with no way to let anyone know what was going on inside her. She had dyslexia, so she couldn't write it to explain. All the doctors knew to do was to keep her sedated. And that has been the way it's been since. Whenever Brenda tried
getting off the strong medication, the memories became real and raw again, and for whatever reasons, she never got real help; I guess it was easier to keep her sedated full time, rather than what would have allowed her to regain her real life. She went through terrible times, and although she couldn't help it, they all suffered. When they took her babies away, it totally broke her heart. I tried comforting her by telling her that, not to worry; when they got grown up, they'd come back home to be with her. Of course that didn't help her empty arms and aching heart.
Despite the pain Brenda carried, she never forgot to love. She never ceased to smile and hug. Although she had very little money, she scrimped and saved
every penny to be able to buy her 'babies' gifts. Although she had nothing left to buy gifts for others, and not that we wanted her to, she insisted. No matter
if she had tried to make us something, or if it was a knick-nack purchased at a dollar store, as she proudly handed it to me, her eyes would be beaming with pride as though it were worth a million dollars.
And they were. I still have them, and they are among the most precious things I own.
Not long after meeting Brenda, I was privileged to pray with her and lead her to The Lord. Then I took her shopping to get her a new birthstone necklace. An aquamarine stone. I told her she needed it because she had a new birthday, since she was 'born again' in March. Since her mother had passed away, I told her that I was her spiritual "Mom". In the store she kept saying it over and over, "Mom...mom...mom"
From that day she has called me "Mom". If I could be there today, I would. My love, my thoughts, my heart and my prayers are there.
Brenda's wings may have been broken when she was a child, but now she's being healed and sheltered under the Wings of her most beloved Savior. She is happy and free of the things that hindered and hurt her in this life.
And can't you just see her face as she sees the things that
the Lord has there for her??

Obituary. Brenda Lee Nielsen passed away suddenly Tuesday morning (Aug. 11, 2009) at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.Brenda was born on May 31, 1969, in Rochester, to the late Russell and Margaret Trumble. She is survived by her two sons, Christopher, and Timothy; fianc Kirk Hopkins; brothers, Russell (Jennifer) Miles and Chris Nielsen; and several nieces and nephews.There will be no calling hours. Family and friends are invited to a Celebration of Life at 2 p.m. Monday at the Church of the Living Waters, 30 Main St., Le Roy. Interment will be made privately at Stafford Rural Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the church. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.leroyfuneralhome.com. Arrangements were completed by Cameron Brady & Steuber Funeral Home.
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