One Remarkable Woman’s Story of Thriving Through the End of Life – Shared in New At The Forefront Podcast

The majority of the news regarding the pandemic and its impact on us tends to be negative. However there have been bright, and even happy, spots amid these changing times. On April 1, 2020, one of these bright spots took place. It started small, just a spark really, but ultimately burst forth in full color (literally)!  It began the day I met Jeanie Fite.

At the start  of the pandemic,  actress and philanthropist Jane Seymour initiated the #OpenHeartedChallenge on social media. The goal of the challenge was, and is, for us to reach out to others and share our talents to create a positive impact.  Jane was the keynote speaker for the 2018 Each Moment Matters luncheon and has remained a friend of the organization ever since.  

One of Jane’s many talents is painting.  She offered to share that talent through a virtual watercolor lesson with a Faith Presbyterian Hospice patient.  The patient selected for this session was Jeanie Fite. Jeanie was in her fifth year of battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often called Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  By the time she and Jane met she had lost the ability to speak and had very little dexterity. However, that didn’t stop the magic from happening. The chemistry between Jane and Jeanie was instantaneous. Their common love of art, music, gardening and family became the inspiration for what would be a prodigious outflow of artwork from both women.

Watch or listen to the podcast here: YouTube | Spotify | Apple

While there was much more talking than painting going on during that first lesson, the spark was lit.  Jane arranged for Jeanie to get specially designed watercolor pens – the same kind her friend, and costar, Christopher Reeve used during his illness. In many ways these pens released Jeanie’s inner spirit and she painted every day for the rest of her life.

In fact, over the next 60 days she created as many paintings. Each brush stroke represented a special place and time. Jeanie loved music as much as art and each painting contained meaningful lyrics from a favorite song. I was fortunate enough to commission of these paintings and it proudly hangs in the Forefront Living offices. The painting is bright, cheerful and reminds me that even in darkness there is light.

I will forever be fortunate to have known Jeanie – if only for a moment. It was a moment that truly mattered.

Purchase Jeanie’s book: The Music and Art of Jeanie Fite, here.