Think on these things

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
When one year starts to come to a close and a brand new one is on the horizon, I try to think of good things. I realize that we learn from our mistakes and go forward with a determination of trying not to make the same errors or lapses of judgment in the coming months. However, I don’t think it proves wise to constantly dwell on the negative and be down in the dumps when we desire our lives to go forward with happiness and success. Philippians 4:8 is a very positive verse of Scripture that I love and must often remind myself to put into daily practice. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of a good report: if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

In looking back at 2018, I remember much joy and happiness, new friends, new places to visit, lots of good reading, decent health, and a few hard places. January of this past year taught me so many things I would have to write another book to get most of them recorded in any sort of order that could be understood. For several years, I had been friends with a fellow writer, an avid photographer, and a true sportsman, Ed Snyder. We knew many of the same people, worked in some of the same circles with our writing, and shared a deep love and respect for the people and the place of the Bolivar Peninsula. Ed often sent a brief text or a short quote, a quick note and a photo in the snail mail (as he termed it), and occasionally a phone call.

Ed Snyder, doing what he loved, fishing and writing about it.

He was a US Marine and was especially concerned and helpful to me when my grandson entered the US Navy. He told me how much Steven would grow and learn and how he would get through Hell Week at Great Lakes, even if he thought he were going to die. He was right on every count.

Ed made certain to keep up with Steven’s career and often sent me notes of encouragement to forward to Steven or to keep for myself. Ed was also aware of my great sense of loss of my husband, Ted. I do not know how to express the sensitivity he had, but he somehow knew when I was having a down day or my heart was troubled. I would get that text or message or a phone call if it were serious.

Ed became very ill toward the end of 2017 and he had moved to the lakes area to be near the VA hospital he liked best. He had a heart condition, diabetes, he was overweight, and he did not eat right. Ed ate what he wanted and he went back and forth to the hospital and doctor’s offices and took the medicine that was prescribed for him. But, his old body was tired and he had lived a rugged, outdoors life. One specialist told me his heart was just gone — worn out from years of struggle.

Ed, as a handsome young US Marine. He died a proud Marine and was proud of his country.

He was hospitalized one time in an emergency situation during a storm. He called that night and I knew he was worried. Another dear lady, who has become a lifelong friend, was also burdened for Ed, but did not know him. She just felt he should not be alone and went to the hospital to sit with him for a surgery. We became close and either took turns or went together to be with Ed during his last weeks of life. I won’t go into deep detail, but we learned to love each other and discussed the depths of life and death. Ed impacted my life in ways I cannot explain. He kept his old fork and he assured me he was going to Heaven. He had been converted and Jerry Valentine baptized him one Sunday morning at dawn on the beautiful Southeast Texas Gulf Coast. I was holding one of his big, gnarly hands, and Sharon the other when he stepped from this shore and onto the forever one.

Sharon Duke and I met with the medical staff that had been treating Ed after several serious procedures and surgeries, the ethics board chair of the hospital, and his son and daughter in law, whom we had not met. It was explained that Ed could not live and that his health would not get better, without a miracle of God. We prayed for that miracle, and God did heal him completely, but not like we thought it would be done.

Casper, Ed’s beloved rescue cat, who is doing fine in his new home.

Sharon and I stood by his bed as they turned off the various machines and he lived five and one half hours on his own. He died at 6:00 PM straight up and down and his US Navy trained nurse said it was a correct change of duty shift.

Being with Ed during his last days was and is precious to me. I will always hold those memories close to my heart and one day soon I will be where he is now. Almost every day during 2018, my Facebook memories will pull up a message from him from one year ago. He called me Bren13, and there is a funny story about that. Sharon and I saw that Ed had a proper memorial service and that his art is still treasured. I dedicate 2018 to Ed Snyder who changed his address on January 20th. I look forward to 2019, just as Big Ed would have done if he were here.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788, or
[email protected]


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2 Responses to “Think on these things”

  1. Cindy Srader says:

    Beautifully said! He couldn’t have asked for better friends to be with him. I have heard the hearing is the last thing to go when we are dying. I know that Ed heard all you said and knew how much you and Sharon loved him!

  2. Ron Smith says:

    Thank these two Angles Brenda and Sharon for their dedication to our old fried and for being there to help him cross to the other shore ! Love Y’all and we will all be together again some day ! Happy Heavenly New Year Big Ed ! We miss you ! 😢

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