We are here today to remember and to celebrate the heart and soul of
Penny Brown. As I look around, I see Penny's heart filling this room.
It is present in the family that she loved so much and loved so well.
It is in the people she worked with who respected her and who already miss
her so deeply, and it is in the women and children she cared, brought into
this world, nurtured, and gave so much of herself to. I only had the
pleasure of working with Penny for one brief year, but it has been an
extraordinary year. It could not have been any richer, even if I had
known it was her last. We shared sometimes difficult but wonderful
patients, lost sleep, and consumed a lot of M & M's. Throughout this
time, her dedication and love for her work was always evident. You
could also not work long with Penny without knowing the deep love and
commitment she had for her family. She spoke often and always well of
her husband, Robert: his support and caring. Her two daughters
-- Kaitlyn and Bradleigh -- were always on her mind and sometimes even at
her side when she worked long hours at the Hospital. She always found
it hard to be away from her family, but I know her thoughts never left them.
She had the extraordinary gift of balancing her work and her family and
meeting the needs of both.
She was very proud of
being a midwife and she certainly deserved to be, because she was a truly
extraordinary one. She once told colleague Susan Dougherty that
she chose her calling because she wanted to "make women feel good about
themselves." Penny taught us all lessons in compassion, support, and
taking the time to really listen to people. In a year of seeing
patients, the only criticism I ever heard made of Penny was from one patient
who thought Penny was too cheerful. When I told Penny this, with a
smile her response was, "she didn't think it was something she needed to
work on." Penny filled her life with meaning as she spent time with
family, work, and friends. She blended and balanced them all
seamlessly. It is only her death we do not understand.
The world was made a
much better place by Penny's presence. She has touched us all.
Someone once told me that if you look around the world or read the
newspapers, it might have seemed that God was an underachiever, but that was
because we are the hands of God and it is only through the hands of people
like Penny that the love and the seeds of the Kingdom of God can be sown.
Penny's hands, as well as her heart, comforted women, delivered babies,
taught mothers how to feed and nurture their babies, and held a family
Penny, you heart is still
with us. Your hands can no longer help us, but your soul now awaits us
-Dr. Paul Qualtere - Burcher