The stage has long been a sanctuary for Petrina and it remains so despite the death of her brother this week.
On Saturday, once again, she will sing and sparkle for Villagers at 4 p.m. at “Ednas’ on the Green.” Inside, however, Petrina’s emotions remain shattered. Her brother, Daryl Longman, 58, died on Tuesday in England.
He had long suffered from a form of cancer known as MDS. Petrina – who grew up in England before becoming an American citizen– had twice donated stem cells to her brother to fight the disease.
Now, despite the loss and a heavy heart, Petrina will do what she does best — entertain others.
“All I ask is help me get through this by helping me celebrate him.” Petrina stated in an email. “Dance, sing and be joyous! Life is too short.”
Despite the brave words, it’s not easy carrying on after losing a loved one during the holidays.
“As you can imagine our family here and in the UK are quite numb and devastated, with a touch of relief that he is no longer suffering. We can’t imagine our world without our brother, husband, son, father, and grandad. These days and weeks ahead are going to be tough. I don’t think we will ever come to terms with this.”
The past few weeks have been tortuous for the family. Daryl was comforted by his wife Linny; daughters Hannah and Madeleine and son Jake, Petrina said. She added they were at his bedside “24/7 this past week.”
Back home in The Villages, Petrina and her husband Michael did their best to remain strong.
“My older sister Julia, my Mum (Marian and husband Roy), along with Michael and I have been consoling each other with hugs, stories, updates and love. We (didn’t know) from day to day when he was going to leave us.”
Petrina and Daryl shared more than a family bond. Both had a way of touching peoples’ hearts and making them smile. Petrina does it on stage while her brother made it happen in everyday life.
Daryl was a “huge people pleaser,” Petrina said. “He was a successful man, loved by everyone he met. He loved his business and family dearly.”
Perhaps, more than that, Petrina understands her kinship with Daryl gives her strength to – as English people say—carry on.
“He would have wanted me to carry on doing what I do best—make people happy” Petrina said. “That’s exactly what he did.”
Tony Violanti covers music and entertainment for Villages-News.com. He was inducted into The Buffalo Music Hall of Fame as a music journalist.