Lillian Sue Brady
August 19, 1925 – July 1, 2018
Lillian Sue (Troyer) Brady, 92, of Palm Bay, Florida, passed away on July 1, 2018. Lillian was born in Trail, Ohio on August 19, 1925. She graduated from Walnut Creek High School in Walnut Creek, Ohio and continued on to receive a secretarial degree from Wooster Business College. Lillian was married to Marvin B. Carter on July 11,1948 for 30 years. He preceded her in death on May 20,1990. Lillian was married to James Brady on 04/06/1980; they were married for 24 years. He preceded her in death on May 7, 2004. Lillian worked as a secretary in the Alumni Office for Mount Union College, now University of Mount Union, in Alliance, Ohio for 15 years and for the treasurer of the Tropicana Juice Company in Bradenton, Florida for 10 years. She enjoyed sewing, knitting, crocheting, gardening, baking, reading – including both daily readings from the Bible and her romance novels – and playing piano and singing hymns from her Mennonite upbringing and from the Christian Science hymnal. She was actively involved in First Church of Christ, Scientist in Cocoa, Florida. Anyone who knew Lillian, even casually, was often the recipient of a homemade hat, scarf, afghan or baked good. Lillian is survived by her three children and their spouses, P. Suzette Orr (James) of Holly Springs, NC, Lizabeth Freshwater (Sam) of Fresno, CA, and Scott W. Carter (Nancy) of Palm Bay, FL, and her three step-children, Pat Brady-Kempf, Michael Brady (Laurie) and Kathy Brady; as well as her 11 grandchildren, Shannon Wymer (Nate), Brendan Orr (Denise), Joshua Freshwater (Amelia). Beth Freshwater Hatch (Jason), Matthew Freshwater (Rebecca), Emily Freshwater Franco (Gary), Sarah Manning (Douglas Thomas), Kayleigh Carter Earl (Bryson), Scott Carter Jr., Dean Brady, and Hannah Brady. She is also survived by her 25 great-grandchildren; Laney, Madeleine, and Emeline Wymer, Tyler, Karley, and Macey Orr, Lauren, Dakota, and William Freshwater, Julianna, Lillian, Charlie, Jack and Ian Hatch, Hayden and Bennett Freshwater, Ryder and Camden Franco, Taylor, Quenton, Gracie Manning, Sebastian and Makena Smith, Carson Brady, and Leona Earl. In addition to her parents, Malvern and Nila Troyer, Lillian was preceded in death by her brother Robert D. Troyer, her son-in-law Samuel Freshwater, and her grandson-in-law Douglas Thomas. A remembrance gathering will be held by the family to spread her ashes per her request at a date to be determined.
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Lillian Sue Brady
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July 11, 2018
Leona opened up a new doorway for you and I, after your hearing meant that sometimes you didn’t know what I was saying over he phone. I was able to send you postcards about her, knowing they would make you happy. You kept them in your room, and took them to church to show everyone else. I loved that!
I love you grandma. The pain is really deep.
July 11, 2018
You told me, “I can’t look at the camera, I’ve got to look at her. I can’t look away from her.” Thank you for loving Leona so much, grandma. Thank you for taking your time to really see her in your arms. I worried for a long time that you might not be around to meet my ‘children’.
When I finally told Bryson that I was ready to have a baby (he had already been ready!), the number one person I wanted Leona to meet was you. I remember that you were so excited to meet her, and when she fell asleep peacefully, you nearly screamed, “LOOK AT HER!!” You were in awe that her paci wasn’t even moving because she was sleeping so well 😂
You were worried about her too, “Isn’t she cold?” You chided, and finally, when I didn’t take the bait, “Doesn’t she need a hat?! Put some socks on her!!” 😂 I told you she didn’t need a hat in Florida, but you were suspicious!
When we visited you, just 21 days ago, Leona held onto her daddy’s fingers and walked to your side. She saw me stroking your hair, and the physical therapist checking his notes with his assistant. She saw grandma nearly crying. It was silent, and it was uncomfortable. She looked up at me and gave me a watery smile, as if ask, “Is everything okay?” Grandma, when you noticed her there you brightened right up. Even on days when you had bee crying all day, when you saw Leona, it was like the pain had been lifted.
I recognize the feeling. I miss you all the time, but when Leona smiles and throws one of her books at me, I also laugh and get lost in her little world.
Thank you for loving Leona, grandma. And thank you for loving me. After Leona was born, and you saw that I was tired and sometimes sad, I know you worried about me. I saw it on your face that you wanted to comfort me, but it was enough comfort to know that you must have immediately understood what I was feeling.
July 9, 2018
I don’t like to think about the fact that you’ve passed away. At night, when I crawl into bed, it all crashes into my heart. All the things that mom sent me—I put them in the closet. Out of everyone in the world, I bet you would understand that the most. When I see the Amish dolls that I loved so much because they were so unique and you, I feel so sad.
When I open the closet and see your sweater, I feel so conflicted. I gave you that sweater on Christmas of last year—7 months ago. I went into the shop looking for a present for myself, but saw the embroidery and knew you would love it. You were always cold, even in the heat, and it made me feel happy to buy it for you. When you received it, you got “upset” that I got you something. At the end there, you were trying to give things away, not receive things. But I saw that secretly you were so pleased. You wore it all the time, and it made me so happy because I loved you.
Once, I opened the closet and your sweater wasn’t there. My heart started to pound. To be honest, that sweater smells like you without perfume, a not-so-familiar smell. When I took it out of the box, and smelled it, I cried so hard grandma. I thought about how you always wore perfume, and to smell the sweater without perfume broke my heart. I wonder when you stopped wearing it.
But, the sweater had just fallen a bit in the basket. My heart stopped pounding and I took it down and smelled it. It’s not a comforting smell, but I’m so thankful to still have that lingering part of you. It smells like the hug I gave you just a couple of weeks ago. It really smells like you’ve passed away.
There’s a scene in The Darjeeling Limited where a brother is found to always wear his late father’s glasses, even though they give him headaches. I think it must be a very brave act of grief to be able to do that. I can hardly peek in the closet at all, I can hardly touch your sweater, and I can hardly look at the dolls.
I love you grandma, I miss you.
July 9, 2018
Now that I think about it, I should have invited you to go to the beach. Even if it was hard for you to walk, I would have held your hand. We could have sunbathed together, or rented a big umbrella to shade ourselves with.
July 9, 2018
We’re all crying; we all miss you so much. I know it would be your absolute worst nightmare to see us all fussing about you so much 😂 Why did you have to be so stubborn?! We always wanted to shower you with love but you always wanted to play it cool. I remember you always begging us to ignore your birthday, but we never did, and you were always happy.
Our hearts are breaking every moment we have time to stop and feel it, and you aren’t with us to give us one of your bear hugs to fix it. I remember being a little girl and crying, only to be scooped up and crushed into your Noah’s Ark beads that you wore for church. You always smelled like perfume. I like to think that Leona feels the same way about my hugs that I felt about yours.
For some reason, we, the family left behind, worry so much about whether you knew we loved you or not. I remember you telling me that grandpa used to hide love notes for you around the house. You might open a cupboard or a drawer, and there would be a hand written love note.
Didn’t you say that, at first, it made you feel uncomfortable to be loved so much by somebody? But you told me this story with so much tenderness in your voice. Of course you knew we all loved you, because you were sensitive to even the littlest of notes, and the smallest of gestures.
I even miss you being grumpy or mad. I miss you wiggling your upper body and rolling your eyes, because you were feeling sassy but you didn’t want to really say what you were thinking. I miss you pursing your lips and saying “...well...” I miss you telling Bryson, in secret, that he was the best thing to ever happen to me, like you thought I’d be laying in a ditch somewhere had I never met him 😂 and you saying “Boy...you sure were lucky”. I miss you calling me for a five minute one-way conversation to report family news and the events of your day, and then you hanging up when you were finished before I could say goodbye.
I miss every part of you.
July 9, 2018
Another gym grandma loved to sing. I bet you all can hear it in her voice:
O gentle presence, peace and joy and power;
O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour,
Thou Love that guards the nestling's faltering flight!
Keep Thou my child on upward wing to-night.
Love is our refuge; only with mine eye
Can I behold the snare, the pit, the fall:
His habitation high is here, and nigh,
His arm encircles me, and mine, and all.
O make me glad for every scalding tear,
For hope deferred, ingratitude, disdain!
Wait, and love more for every hate, and fear
No ill, — since God is good, and loss is gain.
Beneath the shadow of His mighty wing;
In that sweet secret of the narrow way,
Seeking and finding, with the angels sing:
"Lo, I am with you alway," — watch and pray.
No snare, no fowler, pestilence or pain;
No night drops down upon the troubled breast,
When heaven's aftersmile earth's tear-drops gain,
And mother finds her home and heavenly rest.
July 9, 2018
I miss you today, grandma. I selfishly wanted you here so I could show you pictures of Leona in a 4th of July outfit. I know you would have coo’d over it and said, “You sure do have such a special girl”. I agonized over which outfit to buy, thinking “This isn’t cute enough to show grandma.” In the end, I never bought one.
I remember all the times we celebrated the 4th of July in the cabin at Murphy, NC. I remember the rolling mountains and the huge fields dotted with Appalachian mobile homes. All those happy memories are the reason I live in North Carolina today. There is one memory that is more clear then the others, but because I was so young, all I remember are images of huge fireworks, ice cold beer cans, and the inside of someone’s overstuffed bathroom.
When I think about all the 4ths that I will no longer have with you, I am so sad, grandma. But I know that for a long time now, so many things weren’t fun for you anymore. I want to have lots of fun today for your sake, but it’s difficult for me. I don’t want to be the kind of person who is angry every holiday because I miss my loved ones who aren’t here, but I might be that person for a little while, without you.
July 9, 2018
I’ll never be as cool, but I might be just as funny. Missed you so much today. I wish I could pick up the phone and give you a call. I remembered all the times we laughed and chatted in the sunroom. You always told me, “It’ll work out. It’ll all work out!” and that used to drive me nuts 😂 “What if it doesn’t work out, though?!” “You just have to have faith it will, honey!”
I miss you calling me honey when you were exasperated, and telling me I had a J-Lo butt 😂 I miss you eating your dish of ice cream, or having a bowl of fruit jello. I miss you shouting out the answers to Jeopardy. I miss you talking about your “sexy books” and thirsting over Roger Federer and Matthew McConaughey.
I miss when you would carefully talk about your life—I loved the stories of your first and only drink, about the times you would sunbathe naked on your roof, about the time you realized you couldn’t be a nurse because a patient made you throw up so you went to business school instead.
I love that you randomly bought me a bottle of turkey whiskey because you thought that would help my sore throat. I put it in my tea because I loved you so much. You always cheered me on.
How could someone as special as you exist? I hate that you were here one moment and now you’re gone. Come and visit me every once in awhile. I want to hold your hand again and tell you I love you.
July 9, 2018
Grandma and Grandpa would always have us grandchildren over for sleepovers. Grandma would always sing this song to us (“Off-key!” She’d be quick to add) and we’d drift away:
Shepherd, show me how to go
O’er the hillside steep,
How to gather, how to sow,
How to feed Thy sheep.
I will listen for Thy voice,
Lest my footsteps stray;
I will follow and rejoice
All the rugged way.
July 9, 2018
I can’t really express the relationship my grandma and I shared. A hug from my grandma was like a balm, like a safe space. She housed me, she fed me, and she loved me.
When I last visited her a week ago, characteristic of her giving personality, she told me urgently, “I’m sorry I haven’t been a better grandma to you.” I laughed, because who in this world could be a better grandma to me? When we first saw each other, we held each other and cried.
I told her automatically, “I’m sorry I haven’t been a better granddaughter to you.” I meant it, it was something I have wanted to say for awhile but didn’t know how to bring up. Isn’t that just like us, to worry about the same things. We love each other just that much.
I’m a lot like my grandma. We have a lot of love all up inside of us, but we’re stubborn and we get set in our ways. I inherited her passion, but also her worry that she’s not enough. She was always enough for me.
When it was time for me to say goodbye and go back to North Carolina, I held in tears and kissed her forehead many times. I told her I loved her, and she told me she loved me, many times. She told me, “I’m going to get better, I’m going to get better”. But better was really hard to get to.
I’m so thankful to Bryson for dropping everything and driving to Florida so we could spend those last few days together. I’m thankful to Bryson’s parents for housing us and making it such a fun visit for Leona, who loves her grandparents just as much as I love mine.
Today I gave her a call in the hospital in hopes that she would be awake so I could say I love her, and that I will miss her. What else can I say, over and over? I wish she was a younger woman, on her daily run to business school, her pixie cut bobbing in the wind. Her enormous laugh ending in a thunderous snort.
July 6, 2018
I’ve know Lillian all my life. I remember being in Sunday School and running up to her to measure my height against hers, proudly telling her how tall I was. Eventually I grew taller than she was and we started measuring her height against me. It always make us laugh. When I was older we would play Scrabble together. She and I would happily scour the dictionary between our turns. She was astounded when I played “zed” on a triple word score and followed up later by adding “oaries” to it to reach another triple. She was so proud she took a picture of the board. Teddy, who is this big giant of a dog, was always so docile around her and she often spoke of him coming to wake her up with kisses and to climb into bed. I loved her cooking and crafting and will cherish the hat and blanket she made for me, as well as the piece of her handwriting I turned into a pendant so I would always have her love with me. She was a huge supporter of my writing which has meant more than I can say. I’m so grateful she was in my life. I’ve long considered her my adopted grandmother. I love her very much.