Madeline "Maddie" Bradstreet (Bradstreet)
Madeline Ann Bradstreet, a force who drew everyone near her into reach and closer touch, moved on toward a greater force and a deeper embrace on Thanksgiving morning, November 24th, 2016. A child, who at the gates of this world was given three days to survive, lived for 24 years. She lived––fully, radiantly, even wildly. She lived by the grace of those who gave her a chance to do so, by the grace of those who provided and cared for her every day––above all, by the grace of her mother’s love.
Maddie was a person whose very presence called for love. So few people can issue that call with as much clarity and simplicity. To Maddie’s call, there was no other response but to be in her presence, to be present to her. Even now that she seems absent to us, we still hear the call.
And Maddie surely lived for producing its response! She loved being with people, new friends and old. There were never enough of us to hold her hand, to talk and to laugh with her. She loved to be outside, to be on the move––the faster the better, and preferably with the Beatles’ “Come Together” playing loudly. She loved to eat––the finer the better, and preferably with her family gathered around her, celebrating every bite. (In fact, we suspect that, upon realizing how she wouldn’t be able to enjoy her Thanksgiving meal as she used to, Maddie elected to pass on to a better banquet. And what a reception must have awaited her––every grandma she knows, with all her favorite dishes!) She adored big goofy balloons. She found skylights to be hilarious. In every activity, her appetite exceeded her energy, and her energy often exceeded our energy. In each act, she confounded the common notions of ‘disability.’
Perhaps, after a year of her body’s gradually failing to support her appetites and energies, she saw no good reason to remain with it. So she waited until Thanksgiving, when her family would gather around her once more. And she left. So her last gift in that body was to remind us for what––and to whom––we are to be grateful.
She was predeceased by her grandmothers, Velma Jean and Dorothy. She is survived by her mother, Deborah; by her father and stepmother, Perry and Stacey; by her brother, John; by her sister and brother-in-law, Lauren and Rob; and by many loving grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Her family is grateful to every person who enriched Maddie’s life. Among many others, we thank her teachers and aids at the Multiple Disabilities Classroom in the Athens Area School District; her caregiver in Sayre, Jennine; her supports-coordinators, Jen and Jamie; and her caregivers in Harrisburg, especially Joy.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, January 7, 2017, at 1 pm in The Summit Church, 2707 West Pike Road, Indiana, PA.
Local arrangements were made by Trefz & Bowser Funeral Home, Inc., 114 West Main Street, Hummelstown.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Maddie’s name can be made to Rainbow Riders, a not-for-profit organization that provides horseback riding and animal assisted activities to people with disabilities, and that provided Maddie with much happiness on the back of her favorite horse, Sarge (Rainbow Riders, PO Box 122, Troy, PA 16947).
Online condolences may be shared at www.trefzandbowser.com.