Janine Brenner's Speaks about our friend...
Janine's speech from 9-21-2012
I never really imagined that I would be standing here, today , at this moment …speaking at one of my best friends memorials. I imagined that this moment would happen much later in our lives, or many years after her retirement, or after traveling to all those places she and Jill talked about visiting , or after spending many long summer days at her Moms beach house in Massachusetts , or after Pat got that chance to finally write that book she had always talked about. But we are here now…today. And we are all struggling to understand why she had to leave us so soon.. And we are missing her so very much. But tonight , in this place, with the beauty of the mountains and the sunset behind us which Pat loved so much …we have this special time to be together, to celebrate and and remember a wonderful friend , an exceptional colleague and a very special and extraordinary teacher. There are so many words to describe Pat, loving (she loved everyone. You could feel that when you talked with her) , Compassionate (She offered help to everyone when it was needed most.) funny (we all loved her laugh and her smile) Pat was Strong … she even gave herself the name of Zena Warrior She was always Positive energetic, (she actually never really needed that coffee she loved so much) She was courageous (she faced challenges head on with determination and a positive outlook) passionate . she was passionate about people and teaching. , and she was quite the talker! And you always knew a visit with Pat would not be a short one…it was almost impossible to stop in for a “minute” to chat…because Pat liked to talk… and talk…. and talk. And we all loved that about Pat. Eva Yslas, Her aide of over 26 years said that she was so surprised that after all those years working together, that they never ran out of things to talk about…imagine that! When she and Eva would drive places together they would often get lost, because Pat would not stop talking long enough for Eva to tell her to turn left or right. I remember when I first met Pat at Kennedy Elementary in 1998 my first year working in the school system. I had walked into the lounge and she came running up to me with this huge smile on her face her eyebrows raised up and said “are you the new speech therapist? Hi!! I’m Pat!!! Im the Resource Specialist!? Of course my first thought was wow, this lady has a lot of energy. My second thought was, I have no idea really what a resource specialist is…but I thought resource...hmmm sounds like maybe she could help me out. And that is exactly what she did. Not only did she help me, but she helped everyone she knew… in so many ways she helped us to see that the little things we do for our students make the biggest differences, she helped us see true compassion in the way she worked her students and their families, she helped us by always being there for us…any time we needed her . she helped us to see things in ourselves that we did not know were there she helped us learn you can never have enough chocolate or coffee, She helped us to see the beauty in the small things in life…a sunset, a flower or a smile. She helped us to believe in ourselves. She helped us all see the beauty of true friendship. She helped us celebrate the wonderful events in our lives and she helped us through some of the most painful times as well. Her friends meant the world to hPat. The last time I got to visit with her , we talked about so many things. But she wanted me to tell you all that she loved each one of you so very much”. _______________________________________________________________________ She not only helped her friends , but Pat truly made a difference in the lives of so many students. She was an amazing and gifted teacher. She was so passionate about teaching her students. ( I found this quote about being passionate..…and just had to share it…. Being passionate is more than just enthusiasm or excitement, passion is ambition that is materialized into action… to put as much heart, mind body and soul into something as is possible. …. that is so Pat. Her face absolutely lit up when she was with her students. Teaching and helping her students was like breathing for her… it was part of her . …her students gave her life and filled her soul with pure happiness. She treated each of her students with such love and compassion, With incredible understanding, With endless patience and and she always greeted them with a hug and a big smile . she provided them with a safe and nurturing environment, and most importantly Pat taught her kids to believe in themselves, and she taught them that they can do anything. Her students would leave her room with a few skittles in their hands, and a big smile. They often would return to their classroom with a spelling test and they would proudly show their teachers “look I got 100%!!!” . Pat would later go see teachers and say “look at what he did today! See, this is his journal, he did this all by himself!!” she celebrated every success with her students, weather it was figuring out fractions, or reading their first chapter book, or finally being able to write their name. When she was home after her surgery, I went to visit her. In her bedroom , she had cards, letters and pictures that were sent to her from her students pinned up all over her walls. She proudly told me about each one. She said “I miss my kids so much”. She made a lasting impact on hundreds of students lives… And each student will always have part of Miss Sands with them forever. Pat’s last week was spent at home, in her room (her sanctuary as he liked to call it) surrounded by those who loved her so much. although her body was so tired and weak, her mind and her will were still strong… during one afternoon she looked up at her Mama J and quietly asked “my work here is done isn’t it?” . Mama J told her “yes it is”. And There was a long pause…. Then Pat said “I think I did a really good job”. Yes Pat you did, you did a very good job.