Sunrise: February 25 1955 - Sunset: April 21 2006
I know that you expect to hear that Ingrid Pierre was born on February 25, 1955 on the island of Trinidad to Beulah Pierre. You probably also want to know that Joseph Cornelius subsequently married Beulah and that he was the only father Ingrid really knew and she loves him immensely. You probably expect to hear that Ingrid was second of seven siblings and that the family subsequently immigrated to New York City in 1980 and settled in Brooklyn.
However, Ingrid's date of birth or her family lineage are totally insufficient to capture and paint a true picture of the essence of her incredible being. While Ingrid was a pleasant and at the times troublesome child, she blossomed into a strong, commiyyed Christian young woman who devoted her early twenties to serve as a full time Missionary in a remote part of Trinidad for several years.
Interestingly, it was when Ingrid encountered her greatest challenge that Ingrid began to demonstrate and manifest her true grit and greatness, and her indomitable human spirit. In her mids thirties Ingrid was diagnosed with renal failure and had to resort to dialysis in order to continue living. Ingrid was not a good candidate for dialysis because her veins and even her major arteries were very small. Therfore, catheters had to be surgically inserted into her major arteries in order to undergo the dialysis process.
Over the years Ingrid endured innumerable surgical procedures, infections, hospitalizations and as well as the many side effects of being a hemodialysis recipient, including carpel tunnel syndrome, diminution of her vision, loss of bone density, and the list goes on and on. But Ingrid despised being defined or indentified in terms of her medical challenges. She felt she was so much more than any sickness. She refused to be limited, controlled or dictated to by some diagnosis. She fought every day to keep her independence. She did not appreciate being the subject of pity by others. She did not want to be the designated as the "sick person" in the family or church. She wanted others to see beyond that to the real person.
The truly amazing thing is that Ingrid never complained, or played the blame game. She refused to squander her precious moments moaning and groaning about her situation. Ingrid concentrated all her energy on living. She savored every moment. It did not take a lot to make her happy. She learned to appreciate and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Ingrid loved to sit outside early on mornings to see and enjoy the beauty of a sunrise, or sit on the porch on evenings to enjoy a lovely sunset. She was intrigued by the clouds moving in the sky and could spend hours observing the stars that shone on a clear night. She loved the look, smell and feel of the rain. She was amazed by the bees and the trees. She took time to smell the roses and enjoyed the beauty of creation. She did not want to waste a breath in anger and negativity, to her, life was too precious.
She was the embodiment of meekness and lowliness. She was unpretentious, uncomplicated, not easily bent out of shape or overly touchy or sensitive. She was the epitome of low maintenance. She did not take herself too seriously and had the gift of being able to laugh at herself. It was indeed difficult for Ingrid to get a grudge or keep a grudge. She just did not have time for such trifling trivialities. She loved to laugh, and sing and always had a encouraging or uplifting word. She seemed to be pleasant and friendly. Even when she was in pain, it never became all about her, she kept reaching out to help and connect with the needs of others. She hated to see anyone suffering and would be concerned if you had a simple cold or headache.
Above all Ingrid valued her relationships with family and friends. She knew and believe that people were the Father's greatest gift. Relationships were more valuable to her than money; she would spend all she had to maintain and support her relationships. In spite of her limited recources she was always giving gifts or helping someone with their financial needs. She was thankful for every gift given to her by family and friends, and cherished it no matter how inexpensive. She was just touched by the thoughtfulness. She took nothing and no one for granted. She expressed lavish gratitude for the smallest gifts, like bringing her a glass of water.
She was devoted to her family and there was nothing that she loved more then being at home in the bosom of her family. She delighted in the time she spend with her great niece and nephew and reveled in their laughter and giggles. She gave her parents, all her siblings, cousins and nieces, special names.
Whenever you heard that name you instantly thought of Ingrid. While she had no children naturally, she mothered and raised two generations of cousins, nieces and nephews and cared for even those that had no blood relationship to her. Children in particular were drawn to her because she had a simplicity and honesty that one only finds in children. She was a nonjudgmental confidant to her nieces and took many of their confidences and secrets to her grave.
Ingrid was a creative person. She was a prolific reader and devoured a book in one reading. She was also a playwright and poet. She kept a pad and a pen and was able to pour out her feelings, hopes and dreams in her work. The last two years of her life were truly her best as she grew in her relationship with the father. After all her years of being a Christian she finally discovered God as Father and as Love and was able to connect to her heavenly Father on this basis. This understanding made it possible for her to further challenge her condition even more and attempt new things and achieve new experiences.
Ingrid was a gallant fighter. She was a fierce warrior of life. She continued to fight the final infection even after it decimated her internal organs. She never surrendered but went down fighting. A bright light went out on Friday April 21, 2006 at 6:25 in the evening, when Ingrid's heavenly Father delivered her from her final fight and the angels ushered her spirit and soul into the bosom of the Father. The world feels a little more drab and impersonal without her. But that does not have to be the case; if each of us follow ingrid's example, and value people over things, promote elationships over careers and jobs. If we seize every moment and make it memorable, if we refuse to be angry and impatient with others, if we abandon pretension for simplicity and exchange pride for lowliness. Then, a greater bright light will arise that would eclipse the darkness of Ingrid's absence.
Ingrid leaves behind her mother Beulah Cornelius,
four sisters and two brothers, aunts, many cousins, nieces, nephews,
her great-niece and great-nephew
and enumerable friends and brothers and sisters in Christ.