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There is a saying about how rough times teach you the most. As cliché as it sounds, it’s pretty accurate in my case.

Over the past 30 years, I have grown and changed.   Most of the time it was my choice. I have always been interested to learn new things, to experience how exercise could help prevent injuries, to incorporate aspects of physical therapy into my practice.

Then 10 years ago, everything changed overnight. Major hurricanes, economic downturns, and insurance companies no stopped covering my services. I went from having a thriving successful business to virtually no work at all.

The spiritual aspect of my work was also putting pressure on me much like the pressure the earth exerts in the process of turning coal into a diamond. I had no alternative but to surrender myself to this process.  Through no choice of my own, I could feel myself, being swept into a rushing river.

At first struggling, and then giving in, I floated along this river, bouncing up and down and tried to keep my eye on survival.  At one point, I realized we were all in this place together.  We were a nation in crisis. We all had to do whatever we could to survive by bringing our skills and love to the table. No one was exempt, there is no get out jail free card. And no one gets out alive.

I then realized I was part of a team and my job was to bring light to the table. Compassion and knowledge mixed together was my recipe for survival. During this time, I met Alice. She was the mother of a woman, named Shawn, whom I had begun working with.

Shawn wanted her Mom to be close by so she could help her. We knew her Mother had a progressive disease that would require help down the road. My job was to keep her active and to provide entertainment for her busy mind and highly social personality. She turned out to be a good friend with whom I had as much fun as any of the friends I ever had.

We went to every park in Brevard from Cocoa to Sebastian. She loved walking thru the parks and explained to me the needs of the plants and their names. She loved it when the dolphins showed up at the river docks to greet us. I swear they knew she was coming. If we went to the park where there were turtles we’d feed them and they showed up in droves. The same with birds.  If we visited a park we had been to a number of times where a lot of people walked their dogs, the dogs would run up to us greet us. In fact, when we didn’t visit a particular park for a while, the dog owners told us “oh the dogs missed you yesterday when we didn’t get to see you.”

Alice was educated, and well-traveled. If we ran into an out of town person. She had been to where they were from. If there were children in the park, then we played with them.

Everyone related to her. I never heard her complain about one thing! Never! Who can you say that about? She loved her children and never compared them to each other. She was so amazed by their individual talents!

We once bought a mailbox for her daughter to put in her garden. Why a mailbox in the garden? Simple, Alice wanted to have a place for her daughter to keep her garden tools handy!

Who thinks of such thoughtful things?  When her son had a personal crisis she went and helped him raise his children.

All her Grandchild adored her and were so respectful of her. She had several lifetimes and laughed and danced thru it all. When she passed recently it was in a room full of people who loved her and who couldn’t wait to comfort and care for her.

She gave her all and got it back with interest.  I can only hope to be as loved like that. Thank you, Alice, for your love and the lessons in grace you gave us all.

Valentina Boonstra

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About Brevard Massage

I have been a personal trainer and massage therapist for many years now. My specialty is getting people moving again. I have learned through the years that preventing injuries is as important as relieving pain after an injury. To that end, I have also learned Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Pilates.