Updated: May 25, 2021
Almost a hundred people came to the beach at sunset to remember his life. Hendrix was definitely unique. He was born with a rare genetic abnormality that created problems in almost every body system, and he required twelve specialists and tube feedings to survive. He suffered more than most humans ever do, and he died right after his first birthday.
But that is not the full story.
Hendrix had a huge presence, and even with his limited body- he found ways to open hearts. When Hendrix was three months old, I was standing in the living room holding his body close to mine when his mother left the room. Suddenly, I felt my toes grip the floor, and it felt like we were somehow connected. I looked down and was surprised to see him smiling at me. I looked away thinking, "He’s too young to be smiling. Must be gas." But about a minute later, I realized that Hendrix was still smiling at me! It was a real smile, and he had patiently waited for me to figure that out.
About a month later, I was holding Hendrix while we waited for the neurologist to come into the examination room. I don’t know why, but it felt right to bounce Hendrix, look him in the eyes, and let out a quick, "Ba!" To my surprise, Hendrix let out a belly laugh. About five times I did my part, and he cracked up. I hoped his mom was okay with this little bit of rough housing. But as usual, she was calm and gracious, and also pleased by his reaction.
When I look back, I can see that my favorite memories of this amazing being are not random. They truly represented Hendrix's powerful energy, curiosity, patience, and love. Hendrix endured so much with a quiet strength. He would clearly let you know if he’d had enough, but his tolerance was great, and he would quickly resume his grounded presence.
Hendrix was the son of my friends Jeff and Rose. Watching them hold, move, and talk to Hendrix while they gently and respectfully took care of his needs was like watching Love in action. They were devoted and exhausted and completely accepting and loving. Their little family faced this huge challenge together and experienced great Love.
It is a blessing to watch brave ones like Hendrix, Jeff and Rose. As they move through pain and adversity with grace, they inspire us with their Love.
In Hendrix's honor, Jeff and Rose have created a nonprofit called the BraveOnes Foundation. The name for the foundation could not be more perfect.
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