Louisiana Senator Gerald Boudreaux returned to session yesterday, with a heartfelt speech.
Boudreaux, who also served as the director of the Parks and Recreation Department of Lafayette for more than 40 years, made his statements to thank his colleagues and co-workers for their support following the loss of his daughter.
"I'm here today to tell you my heart's broken. For those who have experienced this loss of a child, it's unbearable," he said. "I come today to say thank you to this chamber, to this state, for the outpouring of love and support that you've given to me."
Boudreaux's daughter, Brittney Lavell Boudreaux, was 30 when she died on April 2 after a battle with breast cancer.
The family also has had other losses this spring, he said.
"In addition to the passing of my daughter, between aunts, uncles and cousins we have lost eight family members to COVID-19. I tell you, it's at a time when those were all graveside ceremonies so you have no closure. There are no wake services, no repast dinner," he said. "It's been dark days, difficult days. But the calls, the cards, the letters, have kept my faith lifted every day, as we serve an awesome God."
Boudreaux talked about the support from his colleagues in the Senate, as well as the support of staff and in particular three staff members who are breast cancer survivors. He said those survivors are "incredible women" who reached out to him as soon as his daughter was diagnosed, and continue to reach out.
"I thank God for their strength, because they have gone through this and they have survived," Boudreaux said.
Boudreaux talked about his daughter, who slept in her childhood bedroom at his home the night before she died. He said there will be a memorial service this fall in memory of her and her life.
"She was a nursing supervisor at Texas Children's. And through this three year ordeal with breast cancer she continued to work full-time and go to school full-time. She was two semesters away from getting her doctorate in nursing," Boudreaux said. "The girl was corageous. She was a champion and she fought."
Finally, Boudreaux thanked his colleagues.
"That fabric that's torn. It's tough. But we're here and we could not have gotten through it without your prayers and your support," he said.
To see Boudreaux's speech, which includes a memorial video about his daughter, play this video. His remarks begin at about the 8-minute mark.
To read more about Brittney, visit her obituary here.