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Dearest Brette

Dearest Brette

Dearest Brette,

This is a thank you letter for Prayer is Good.

This afternoon, I went to my sister’s group home. As you know, my sister has intellectual disabilities and lives in a home with three other elderly residents, all with intellectual disabilities and in various stages of Alzheimers and Dementia. Today one of her roommates died.

How do you help these beautiful souls process such a thing? I had just finished your book, A Path from Grief to Peace, and it felt like the answer. So I went equipped with cards and brand new markers, crayons, and paints.

When I arrived, everyone was in tears. We all cried and hugged each other. Then I suggested we do something to say good-bye to Jimmy. We started by creating an alter on the kitchen table. Everyone put something on the table that made them think of Jimmy. My sister brought the book she had been reading to him, Sarah went and got his favorite stuffed toy, and the staff found the perfect picture of Jimmy when he was vital and happy. I brought an electric candle (no flames allowed) and a pot of Dahlias that could be planted in the garden. Then we all started to color.

The first 15 minutes we colored in silence, then someone started telling stories of Jimmy. We all laughed and cried. At times, people would leave the table and go out into the garden before returning to the table to color again. Sarah recognized the cards as postcards and wrote notes to Jimmy. When our cards were done, we hung them up together.

Next and quite spontaneously the suggestion was made to put on some music. Jimmy’s favorites, Frank Sinatra and Elvis. Soon everyone was dancing; celebrating Jimmy’s big day. This was the day he went to Heaven.

I left some cards and the markers. The grieving is not over, but a huge step was taken. Thank you!

With gratitude,
Donna Mills


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