Brits Home A Journey Of Love And Legacy
Eleven years ago, a dream took root as a testament to the enduring love of our daughter and the unwavering dedication of a community.
Two years of construction, fueled by the blistering Haitian sun and the unwavering spirit of 100 Haitian workers and volunteers from the US, culminated at this moment. From architects to builders, from kindergarten friends to college classmates, everyone rallied around Brit’s final wish: to make a difference in the lives of Haitian children.
We left Boston at 7am with 50 of us on board and then a stop in Newark, NJ for a quick plane change and a meet up with the NY contingency of friends, while we were in the air to Haiti, Brit’s cousin Ross was organizing the South Florida group of friends from Lynn U, as the Gods were lined up we arrived in Haiti within a 1/2 hour of each other, Amazing! By the way we brought in 70 hockey bags too, no one was allowed to bring luggage, just an overnight bag and everyone checked in a hockey bag filled with supplies for the Orphanage and the weekend celebration.
Arriving at Brit’s Home felt like stepping into a sanctuary. Some climbed the mountain, savoring the journey, while others boarded a shuttle ride. Tears flowed, laughter echoed, and awestruck silence descended as everyone, from Brit’s closest friends to strangers touched by her story, witnessed the power of her legacy.
Saturday we woke up to Roosters and had scrambled eggs and toast, at 11am we had over 100 folks join us in dedicating Brit’s Home on January 5th, 2013. We had our Haitian Pastor, Lex and our Haitian Priest, Fr. Brice along with Rev. Dr. Debbie our (Superintendent of School) Fr. Madden came from the USA, he was our Parish Priest who loved Brit and lastly my Best Friend Fr. Bob Lord who I met at Central Connecticut State University in 1984, Fr. Lord had Baptized Britney, gave her, her first communion and confirmed her to a Christian Life just a few years before. With 5 men and women of the clothe there to perform an Ecumenical Service to christen Brit’s Home was so special, Especially to her brothers Bernie and Richie, Cherylann and I along with all her aunts, uncles and cousins, we could see her million dollar smile and feel her Love through out the Orphanage.
A Celebration of Life:
The weekend unfolded, woven with love and remembrance. Shared meals, vibrant Haitian music, and the joyful faces of the children painted a picture of hope and resilience. As dusk settled, the flickering candlelight cast shadows on the faces of those gathered around. Each shared their favorite Brit story, painting a portrait of a young woman full of life, laughter, and an unwavering passion for helping others.
After dinner we sat at our tables and shared our favorite Brit Story, she was Loved, she was cherished and she was honored by all those there. We then took all that wanted to go see the Fishing Village where Brit and the Journey of Hope were to travel to the day after the earthquake. Six amazing people from Lynn U perished on January 12, 2010 and eight survived of which 2, PJ and Lindsay where here with us and witnessed with others where they were supposed to go the day after the earthquake. It was peaceful, calming and tranquil as folks went up to the plaque that was installed in memory of the Lynn U 6 and the 8 that survived. We went to bed early as we were mentally and emotionally drained, at the crack of dawn our alarms went off (the roosters) and a quick breakfast was had by all and then back to the bus for a 2 hour ride back to Port au Prince. The last stop before leaving Haiti was the Hotel Montana where all our lives changed that Fateful Day, the quiet on the bus was deafening as we approached the mountain top, a quick shuttle ride brought all 70 of us to the spots where Britney, Christine, Stephanie and Courtney along with Dr. Bruno and Dr. Hartwick took their last breaths. We wanted this Sacred spot to be the last thing they all saw before getting on the plane to the USA, my Lord my God what a moment in time. So much death, so much suffering, so much pain and so much Love for the 68 souls lost on 1-12-2010. We said the Lords Prayer holding hands on the spot where Britney had passed into eternal life, I don’t think there was a dry eye as we finished praying and then back to the bus in silence to catch our plane back to the USA. By the Grace of God we all made it back to Miami, New Jersey and Boston that Sunday Evening, what a weekend, so many things could have gone wrong and they didn’t, it all went as planned, knowing what I know now after 14 years in Haiti I know this was a miracle to say the least, Brit had blessed us that weekend and hopefully we had blessed her the way she deserved to be remembered and honored!
Eleven years later, Brit’s Home stands as a beacon of hope, a testament to the power of love and the enduring legacy of our daughter who touched the lives of so many. This weekend was more than just a dedication; it was a pilgrimage, a celebration, and a promise to keep Brit’s spirit alive. And as we boarded the plane back to the US, carrying the weight of grief and the warmth of love, we knew that a piece of our hearts would forever remain in Haiti, nestled within the walls of Brit’s Home.