Reflections

A goodness that could bring you to your knees ~ In memory of my father

Louis Brood of Mount Laurel, NJ passed away at home on February 1, 2021, surrounded by his loving family with the song “Danny Boy” playing and a kitty curled against him. Lou lived his entire life in devotion to his family. He was the perfect example of a human – a man who walked the walk with pure unconditional love and tenderness. He made every aspect of life seem wondrous. He was the kind of man who would literally take off his shirt and give it to you if he thought it would make you happy. And when we say “you,” we mean YOU – he took everyone he met into his heart. He would do anything for anyone, and he would do it with such love, pride, and tenderness, it would make your heart ache. He had an infinite capacity for love.  He was selfless, eternally generous, compassionate, gracious, and exquisitely tender. He embodied a goodness that could bring you to your knees.  He worshipped in the church of the heart. Praise and gratitude were his prayers. He would go to the ends of the earth to comfort you. He loved so fiercely and wholly and richly. 

Lou and his wife Nancy met and fell in love at first sight in the 1970s and spent the remainder of their lives together in utter devotion to each other. Life gifted them with three children, and whenever anyone would ask Lou about his family, his face would light up and he would say, “They are my life.” His commitment to his family was immeasurable.

A beautiful piece of music could move Lou to tears. He believed in music as a universal language. He nurtured this truth in his children through the soft lullabies he sang every night. Even in the last years of his life, he sang every single day. He was a self-taught pianist and accordion player with musical tastes ranging from Andrea Bocelli to Errol Garner to Michael Franti & Spearhead. 

He was the personification of playfulness – he could turn a mundane act like answering the telephone into a moment of delight, greeting a caller with a silly accent,  “Brood Mansion, this is the butler speaking!” He was always smiling, giggling, laughing, and creating awe and wonder. His home was his pride, his paradise, and the hearth of his life. 

Lou poured his heart and soul into his family’s upholstery shop on Fabric Row in Philadelphia working six days a week alongside his father and brother to nurture the family business. He brought his brilliance to his work and home lives as an architect, an engineer, a builder, a designer, a chef, a counselor, an artist, and a craftsman of the heart. He handmade his children’s Halloween costumes. He drafted architectural plans. He disassembled and reassembled appliances. He comforted aching hearts. He could do anything. He made everything and everyone better. 

Lou was a passionate and gifted fisherman – he loved to “commune with nature,” and the sea was a place of healing and restoration for him. He had a magical way of luring the fish to his line, but he never wanted the glory of the catch. Anytime he felt that familiar tug, he would pass his rod to one of his children to reel in while standing by with a net and a bounty of encouragement and pride. It was the greatest joy of his life to share this love with his children and grandchildren. His joy was exponential.

Lou was predeceased by his parents Alec & Sara, his brother Sam, his sister-in-law Nataline, and by the love of his life Nancy. He is survived by his children Elizabeth, Kathryn, and Garrett, son-in-laws Casey and JP, grandson Louis, granddaughters Natalie and Nora, brother Hy (Janice), sister Fay (Sheldon), his beloved caregiver of 4.5 years Theresa “Paulette” Lane, as well as nieces, nephews, and so many others he adopted into his heart. We will spend the remainder of our lives living to make him proud. His love is our light in the dark, our North Star, our home.

Lou wished to be cremated and scattered at sea. His family will honor his wish this summer in the seas off Cape May, NJ. In lieu of flowers and other gifts, if you feel so moved, please make donations to Lou’s Ever Loved site where we will be collecting to provide respite support to families caring for loved ones touched by serious illnesses – https://everloved.com/life-of/louis-brood/. And please join us there in celebrating him!

Lou’s family wishes to thank the incredibly devoted caregivers, aides, nurses, doctors, and social workers who made it possible to care for our beloved father (and mother) at home throughout the past decade. As Lou himself would have said, in that achingly tender voice of his, “Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you.”

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10 Comments

  • Reply Dianne Schofield February 3, 2021 at 12:22 am

    Thank you for sharing your journey. I too lost my father (2011) to this terrible disease. I’m sorry for your loss.

  • Reply Kris Wilcox February 3, 2021 at 12:51 am

    Oh, Elizabeth–I’ve never met you, and yet, my heart has a place for you! When I saw this email in my in-box, I had the feeling it was your dad’s sweet goodbye. You and your family are on my mind and in my heart as you finish your long goodbye with your parents. What a dedication and a love! Wishing you sweet release and a satisfying closure from your long journey. You have loved deeply, faithfully, and beautifully. Thank you for sharing it! Godspeed

  • Reply liz February 3, 2021 at 1:00 am

    You’re the epitome of what a child should be to their parents. You’re an inspiration. May God give you and your family the strength to heal. Know that your journey was a lesson to all those you shared it with. My condolences to you

  • Reply Gretchen Staebler February 3, 2021 at 9:35 am

    What a gorgeous tribute to a clearly beautiful human. Thank you for writing about your journey together over these years. Your words so often gave me comfort and inspiration as I walked my own parental caregiver journey. May you know peace as you rest from the labors of a job well done. Gretchen

  • Reply Sue VanLiere February 3, 2021 at 10:30 am

    What a sweet and loving tribute to your Dad. I am so sorry for your loss. I know from going through this experience myself, that you are happy that he is with your Mom again, both of them now broken free of the cruel chains of their afflictions. May the wonderful memories bring you peace and comfort. Know that they are still with you, watching over you. The signs are all around, no matter how small! Wishing you peace and healing and sending a hug from a stranger in Michigan who knows your pain. All the best –

  • Reply Sue VanLiere February 3, 2021 at 10:30 am

    What a sweet and loving tribute to your Dad. I am so sorry for your loss. I know from going through this experience myself, that you are happy that he is with your Mom again, both of them now broken free of the cruel chains of their afflictions. May the wonderful memories bring you peace and comfort. Know that they are still with you, watching over you. The signs are all around, no matter how small! Wishing you peace and healing and sending a hug from a stranger in Michigan who knows your pain. All the best – Sue

  • Reply Kim McLeroy Lewis February 3, 2021 at 12:05 pm

    Elizabeth, My heartfelt condolences. I first found your blog while caring for my own sweet Dad, Glenn. My Dad was a Navy WWII vet and sailor and undoubtedly would have had a fast friendship with your father, Louis. Today, I suspect you are feeling an enormous void and also a relief you can’t yet appreciate. Please know you have comforted many who walked this path with you and yours– a tremendous tribute to both your parents. May you enjoy good health and continue to bask in your father’s love and joy as you move forward. V/R Kim

  • Reply Julie February 3, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    A beautiful tribute. Reading about your dad makes me want to do better, be better, love more. He will live on through many.

  • Reply Myakka holladay February 3, 2021 at 2:14 pm

    Thank you fir sharing so candidly the depth of your families extremely rough and beautiful end of life blog. I’ve followed for years and lived such a similar experience with my mother who passed away shortly tarter your mother passed . Your dads obituary and your descriptions of him throughout time in your blog brought me such joy and a heart full if love for him and your kind family ! You are not alone in this , thank you for knowing this and sharing all you have with strangers in the same extremely difficult circumstances . Gratitude and blessings to you and yours !

  • Reply Beth Spadafora February 3, 2021 at 7:26 pm

    What a lovely tribute. Your father sounds like a amazing man! Thank you for your blog. When I discovered it, I hadn’t ever known of anyone else who was caring for two parents at the same time with dementia. Your words helped comfort me in the knowledge that I wasn’t alone in this seemingly impossible predicament. Both of my parents are now gone, as are yours, and the new challenge is remembering how to live one’s own life. After having given so much attention to our parents needs, it is somehow strange to no longer have that responsibility. Thank you for sharing all that you did. I know that your parents were very lucky.

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