Posts Tagged ‘brenda Lispi’

Heroes Without Headlines: Brenda Lispi

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Remembering Brenda: A Radiant Face of America

Written by Tony Mussari
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Copyright 2013
Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD

Love is stronger than death even though it can’t stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can’t separate people from love. It can’t take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death.Norman Cousins

A wonderful woman with the heart and soul of an angel made her way to heaven last week. She was caring,Brenda 1smcompassionate, competent, and conscientious. Her heart was a giving heart. Her soul radiated love of family, friends, community and God.

Kitch and I met Brenda Lispi in 2007. She, her husband Ray, and her son, Lee, visited our garden to discuss an episode of Windsor Park Stories about Lee and Joe Paterno.   On that day, we became fast friends.

Shortly after the visit we produced an episode entitled “Dreams.” It featured Lee Lispi talking about the many ways Joe Paterno influenced his life. The story resonated with viewers, and it became the launching pad for our friendship with Brenda.

For more than a year, Brenda battled an insidious form of brain cancer. She did it with courage, determination, dignity and class. She did it in a way that endeared her to everyone who knew her.

Those of us who were privileged to know Brenda are saddened and troubled. Again and again we ask the question, “Why do the good die young?”  “Why did this woman who did so much to help others leave us at 58-years young?”

No answer satisfies. No explanation fills the void. At times like this we turn to the words of poets and philosophers for comfort, context and closure.

Combining John Paul Moore’s poem Drinking From The Saucer with Brenda’s words helps us fill the void created by Brenda’s passing. 

I’ve never made a fortune,
And I’ll never make one now
But it really doesn’t matter
‘Cause I’m happy anyhow

Anyone who knew Brenda Lispi felt the embrace of her happiness and contentment. Her beautiful smile was the hallmark of her kind and gentle heart. Her words were always affirming:

Thank you so much Tony and Kitch.  The picture is breathtaking !  Our conversations inspiring – I am content and will get through this with all your help.  Lee says hello and is happy that we are in touch- he wishes you well. Brenda

As I go along my journey
I’m reaping better than I’ve sowed
I’m drinking from the saucer
‘Cause my cup has overflowed

I can’t thank you and Kitch enough for all your support and encouragement… I am belated in sending a birthday and thank you card but it is on my list.  I am 33.3 5 complete in treatments.  That means four more weeks of traveling to Philadelphia 5 days a week, plus my sister was visiting from England last week so I have been busy.  The only side effects I’ve had so far are weight gain from the steroids and walking difficulties-from steroids.  I will soon have a PT and OT eval.

I hope to soon visit your garden again- it is looking fabulous and "peaceful." Brenda

I don’t have a lot of riches,
And sometimes the going’s tough
But with kin and friends to love me
I think I’m rich enough

I have had some setbacks this week but I received more encouragement from people like you and Kitch to get me through.  I lost my hair this week but it will grow back.  My gait is sluggish so I will receive a PT and OT eval-The steroid side effects are hurting me the most with climbing stairs walking and weight gain but I am tolerating the iv and oral chemo as well as the radiation.  Today I am 50% complete for this phase of treatments – only 50% more treatments to go through- busy being away and handling insurances and correspondence-hopefully I will get caught up.  Thanks for keeping me posted. Brenda

I thank God for the blessings
That His mercy has bestowed
I’m drinking from the saucer
‘Cause my cup has overflowed

Brenda was a gratitude person. These are words she shared with Kitch and me in 2012:

Thank you Tony for this wonderful tribute to Joe Paterno. He was a great influence on Lee who has turned out to be an outstanding young man. Of course, as his parents we are biased, but this is what we heard from others as well. Lee, Ray, Tina and I thank you for the opportunity you gave Lee in 2007 to share his story and the influence Joe had on him even when his dreams were changed.  Joe taught Lee that it’s important how you react to changes in your dreams and what you learned and do from there to be a better person. Brenda

He gives me strength and courage
When the way grows steep and rough
I’ll not ask for other blessings for
I’m already blessed enough

Happy New Year Tony and Kitch, I am trying to learn the Kindle Fire and at the same time I trying my daughter’s Tina’s patience as she is teaching me.  For now, I am back at the desk top using my left hand since my right side is still paralyzed but I receive home health therapy 2 x’s week-making progress and using my left side.  I also started new chemo drug last week as a third tumor is growing-it is an aggressive cancer but I am not ready to give up so much to live for -so much to do and see and help- so many people like you both to hear of your accomplishments-like in Gettysburg-let me know… Brenda

May we never be too busy
To help bear another’s load
Then we’ll all be drinking from the saucer
When our cups have overflowed

Brenda was never too busy to help others. In fact, her life and her work was all about helping others.

Those who were blessed to know Brenda Lispi will be nourished in her death by drinking from the saucer of the memories of a life lived for others, a life lived with kindness and generosity, a life that clearly speaks to what America is on its best day.

Thomas Merton was right:

Death is someone you see very clearly with eyes in the center of your heart: eyes that see not by reacting to light, but by reacting to a kind of a chill from within the marrow of your own life.

We will miss you Brenda, but we will never forget you. Kitch and I are better people because we knew you. We will carry your beautiful and inspirational Face of America in our hearts until our journey comes to an end.

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