Mrs. Joan Henry is another example of how people have remained resilient throughout this past trying year. Mrs. Henry is eighty-two years old, a widow, and has lived in Hernando County for twenty-four years. Prior to coming to the Sunshine State, she lived in New Jersey and raised her one child, a son there. Now he lives in Georgia, along with her grandchildren.
Three characteristics stand out in this octogenarian. One is a sense of humor, the other is her honest and outspoken nature and the third is a philosophy of life that Mrs. Henry sums up in these words – “It is what it is.” One thing is certain, she doesn’t sit around complaining or feeling sorry for herself, even though she has been disabled for quite a few years.
In describing her attitude, Joan states. “You have to take everything as it comes. It’s either already happened, it’s happening right now or it’s going to happen. You just have to see what happens and there’s not a d…mn thing you can do about what’s going to happen.”
In her more active years, Joan volunteered as a greeter at her church and also enjoyed baking goodies for her friends. When the pandemic set in, she began making masks for her church family members and acquaintances.
A few months ago after suffering a series of falls, Mrs. Henry was admitted into a rehabilitation center and is waiting to be transferred to a long-term assisted living facility. Again, she has kept busy and made herself useful by crocheting baby blankets. She’s on her fourth blanket right now. Joan also enjoys doing crossword puzzles.
“I have nothing to do all day. I crochet like crazy,” she remarks.
Even losing all of her savings in the Bernie Madoff scam hasn’t soured Joan’s attitude toward life.
“It’s been a wild few years since Bernie Madoff. I lost everything, but it’s over and done and you have to move on.”
One of Joan’s joys has been a cat that she adopted from the Humane Society five years ago. It was a sickly kitten that weighed less than six pounds. You might say the cat chose her, rather than the other way around.
“The cat jumped up into my lap, settled down, and started purring. The cat had a sinus infection and when her nose would run, she blew little bubbles of snot, so I nicknamed her ‘Snot Bubble.’ Queenie was her actual name.”
When Joan had to go into the rehab facility, her vet adopted Snot Bubble and Joan is happy that her beloved cat has found a good home. Her recent confinement has been challenging, but with her customary attitude, Joan says, “I’ve learned to live with it. Worrying takes your mind off of doing basic things like walking, standing, etc.”
Joan displays appreciation and recognition of other people. When she found out that her longtime friend, Alice Miller, had nominated her for the Resilient Hernando, she was flattered and perhaps a little embarrassed.
“I was very surprised when Alice nominated me, but she’s just that way. She’s very interested in people. She’s done a wonderful job of keeping track of me. She’s a very caring person,” Joan remarked.
It’s people like Joan Henry that we can emulate for their positive and upbeat attitude and their stoic acceptance of whatever life hands them. We wish her well in her new life and know that she will adjust to her new circumstances.
Mrs. Joan Henry is my nomination of an outstanding person who has been overcoming adversity to do good for others during the Pandemic.
This habit is nothing new for her, according to what I have heard over the last ten years or so we have known her as a neighbor and church friend. She has been handicapped as long as we have known her but is much more disabled now…
We first met Joan when she worked as a church greeter with my husband. She frequently shared home-baked goodies with him and others. I believe she was also sewing for a women’s group project at the church then too.
Later when one of our ministers moved to another church, she became active in that women’s group too. She regularly attended both churches every Sunday until both churches suspended services due to the pandemic. She loves people of all faiths and has enjoyed attending various get-togethers… She “has never met a stranger” and is very “young at heart.”
Right before the Pandemic, Joan’s granddaughter had a stroke while giving birth and both she and the baby required hospitalization for an extended time. Because of the Pandemic and her own health problems she has been unable to visit them as she had hoped. But, she has kept the faith that maybe this problem will soon be solved…
Meanwhile, she has kept very busy sewing masks first for a charity and then to give to her many friends and acquaintances. She also made adult bibs for the very disabled mother of a friend and perhaps others. She has also continued baking for friends and made soup for another sick friend. She keeps in touch with friends mainly by phone and is always there with a word of encouragement and often some humor to brighten everyone’s day; even though she keeps the medical community busy it seems, trying to improve her own failing health.
For these many reasons, I believe she is very deserving of “blooming where she is planted” and this honor.
Alice (Mrs. Charles) Miller