On March 22, 2017 we laid Brooke to rest. It was a day that I didn’t want to begin; yet, I didn’t want to see it end either. The fear was that the end of that day would signal the countdown to the day when no one would remember our Brooke. Over the past year, this momma’s fear has been put to rest. Our family has been blessed time and time again with sweet reminders of how Brooke touched so many lives during her short trip on earth.
The Christmas before the accident, our girls were trying to decide what to give my husband. He suggested that they make a donation to a charity instead of buying him a gift. Brooke chose St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Brooke LOVES children!!! So, it made perfect sense to adopt St. Jude for others to give back in lieu of flowers. And, you gave – generously. Thank you!
In June of each year, Professional Women of St. Tammany (“PWST”) awards scholarships to women of the parish. As a long-term member of the group, I’ve had the honor of sitting on the scholarship committee in past years. Tears filled my eyes as I read the applications and the stories about the women of our parish applying for scholarships in order to pursue their dreams. PWST designated one of those scholarships as the “Brooke E. Posey Memorial Scholarship.” Each year, one young lady from St. Tammany will receive a leg up on her dream in the name of our Brooke. Thank you!
Last summer marked the First Annual Swim-a-Thon in Brooke’s name. As a member of the Southern Yacht Club’s swim team from about age five, the 2017 season was to mark her final season before heading off to college. The team honored her during the season with t-shirts and swim caps that read “Swim for Brooke” and “Determination of a Champion, Spirit of a Seagull.” The team donated the proceeds from the event to St. Jude. Thank you!
But there’s more. Brooke was not only an accomplished swimmer but she was a truly gifted equestrian. Each year in October, GB Horse Shows holds an annual Halloween Show at Serenity Farms in Folsom, Louisiana. Brooke always looked forward to the show – not so much for the riding but for the costume class where the horse and rider presented themselves in carefully chosen coordinating costumes. The show sponsored #JumpforBrooke, again raising donations for St. Jude. Thank you!
Around the same time, a fellow “show mom,” Kristie Cato, started a non-profit – #RideforBrooke. Every pony rider’s dream, Brooke’s included, is to go to “Pony Finals.” Brooke never made it as a competitor – she simply outgrew ponies due to her height before she had a chance. In 2013, however, Brooke, her Aunt Kathy, and I made the trip to Pony Finals as spectators. Even if you don’t ride horses, Kentucky Horse Park and the events hosted there are spectacular. (If you are ever near Lexington, you should stop and see it.) The #RideforBrooke foundation is raising donations and will make its first awards later this year. Pony riders will have a source to help offset the costs of attending Pony Finals all because the girls that once competed with and against Brooke want to help others realize a dream that Brooke held so dear. Thank you!
Many of the local equestrians belong to the Gulf Coast Hunter Jumper Association. Throughout the competition year, the riders accumulate points toward year-end awards. At the end of the 2017 show year, GCHJA added a Junior Sportsmanship award in Brooke’s memory. Each year the junior riders will vote on the rider who best exhibits the spirit of sportsmanship that Brooke brought to the ring when she competed. Thank you!
Brooke’s accident occurred as she was headed to Week VI of the Gulf Coast Classic, a six-week horse show that takes place in Gulfport every February/March. To honor Brooke, the show company and her trainers organized a benefit breakfast during the Hunter Derby on March 16, 2018 (the first anniversary of the accident). The breakfast was sponsored by Chick-Fil-A (Gulfport, MS), P.J.’s Coffee (New Orleans), Newk’s Eatery, Old Rail Brewing Co. (Mandeville, LA), Gulf Coast Hunter Jumper Association, Port City Café & Bakery, Aertker Sporthorses (Folsom, LA), Fox Ridge Farm (Folsom, LA), Bienvenue Acres (Gulfport, MS), and Southern Flavor Catering and Events. Silent Auction items were sponsored by Aertker Sporthorses (Folsom, LA), Alison Hartwell Photography, Beje Wholesale Diamonds and Fine Jewelry (Metairie, LA), Bienvenue Acres (Gulfport, MS), Cambridge Stables (Lafayette, LA), Classic Company, Core Feed & Garden (Folsom, LA), Designs 4 U, Farm House, Fazzio’s Feed & Garden (Gulfport, MS), Fox Ridge Farm (Folsom, LA), Mesha Steib (Baton Rouge, LA), Showtime Jump Company (Zionsville, IN), Tractor Supply, and Wojack Sporthorses (Folsom, LA). Had the weather cooperated, attendees would have had an opportunity to dunk some of their “favorite” trainers at the dunking booth. (Maybe next year…) Thank you!
To wrap up this year of transition, Hope House (Children’s Advocacy Center in Covington, Louisiana) planted a Japanese Maple near the walkway where people enter the building. There is a stone at the base of the tree that bears a simple cross and reads “In Loving Memory Brooke Erin Posey 1999-2017.” Thank you!
Brooke’s time on this earth was short – only 17 years. When we are knee-deep in raising children, we often don’t stop to think about the little dash that represents all of the years in between because for most of us there isn’t a dash – there are ellipses. There is still time to mold, to guide, and to form a legacy – at least that is what we believe. When that belief is shattered, you get an opportunity to reflect not only how your child or loved one affected others but whether you are living a life that creates honor and glory (and by “you” in this case, I mean “me”). What will my “dash” look like?
I am truly humbled by the ways Brooke has been and continues to be remembered. “Thank you” does not begin to express how touched we are. By helping others in Brooke’s name, you have given our family a priceless gift. Brooke may be gone from this world, but she is not forgotten.