20 September 2012

In Memoriam of Brenda Hines Dumont

When I was first diagnosed with Crohn's disease, I went through the universal reaction process. I didn't understand it, I tried to live my daily life as I always had, and I kept quiet about the disease in an attempt to deny it any meaningful sway. Naturally, that didn't last long. I began searching the web for information about the disease, and that led me to We Are Crohn's, a social network website dedicated to patients with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. It was there that I made first contact with many who have formed the nucleus of my support system.

Brenda Hines Dumont did not suffer from either disease, but her daughter does. Brenda was one of the most passionate advocates and supporters I've known in the seven years since I "met" her. It wasn't enough for her to learn about how to care for her daughter. She took many of us under her wing, offering an open ear when we needed to vent and a kind word when we needed that. She saw us as more than our diseases, happy to talk with us about any number of subjects from politics to film. She shared my penchant for frequently changing profile avatars, my love for Lawrence of Arabia and I introduced her to the music of Melody Gardot.

She was an attentive reader of my writings, including the content published on this blog. She was also instrumental in encouraging me to share my experiences with Crohn's disease and depression. Brenda insisted that I had a way with words that could help others, and that encouragement has been a guiding light for me. What Brenda reminded me every time we interacted was the importance of reaching out to others as best we can. She didn't have to connect with any of us. She could have learned what she needed to care for her daughter without cultivating friendships with a single member of We Are Crohn's.

Brenda was no lurker, though. She genuinely cared for people, driven by compassion and a strong belief in fairness. Often, I think we resist getting involved with things because we don't feel we're really a part of the in-group. What I will ultimately remember of my friend is that the only in-group that really matters is humanity itself. Where there is another person, there is something to share and something worth building up.

I close this memorial with one of my favorite clips from Lawrence of Arabia. It underscores the sense of humor and camaraderie that Brenda shared with me, and I am certain that she would appreciate it being brought up now.

2 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry for your loss, Travis. It doesn't matter how you met someone or how often you see them, but how much you care for them. It might not offer you much consolation, but I kind of feel like you're doing what she did-taking people under your wing and helping them. You're making her memory live in your own kindness to others.

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  2. I am having the expected horror which you do expect with the loss of Brenda.
    Years ago in WAC I only wish I had written the many mishaps that Brenda rescued me from. If one could goof something up, that would be me. The bigger the goof, the harder Brenda worked to fix it. She always succeeded. It really brought many
    good memories as it was never serious. (Only embarrassing) It will take a long time to not expect a poke to let you know she was thinking of you as she kept herself so busy.
    I have never known of a more devoted mother. My heart cried for Leija. I will keep her in my prayers and hope that she stays in touch. I realize it could be too painful. I felt as though I knew her personally since Brenda was the proud mother & gave her time that will be sadly missed.
    I know we don't understand why these things happen, and we might never. I truly do hope there is Heaven where we IBDers will all meet-for real. We'd probably be booted out as we'd all be so happy to share what could be a depressing topic which I mean IBD. I can only imagine the humor from the most embarrassing experiences.
    My prayers are for all who loved Brenda, and I truly hope that her family will manage in time.
    It's definitely a sad day, but thankfully we all have one another.
    I thank Travis for his great blog in honor of Brenda.
    Oka Lany Miller (Dear friend of Brenda)

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