With deep sadness, we as a community honored one of our recent graduates, Edwin “Bud” Sims. He passed from this earth the evening of Father’s Day. While Bud was a big, bold, beautiful black man, it was the size and availability of his heart that stood out as his most defining feature.
“Bud had one of the biggest hearts ever!” was the most consistent and prevalent comment made when people learned the news of his unexpected death due to congenital heart failure.
My last conversation with Bud was a phone call where he talked about his impatience to get back to his destiny. “KC, I don’t have time to be here in the hospital,” he said, “I need to be out there touching lives, helping to heal people...and, you know...freeing souls.” Bud was quoting, almost verbatim, SWIHA’s longtime motto.
From a place of deep inquiry, I quietly asked, “Tell me about your soul Bud!” Quickly he replied, “Oh, my soul is good. It’s very good!” He went on to share that at one time he had been a Pentecostal minister, preaching to people, while at the same time cutting their hair. You see, for over 20 years Bud served at a licensed barber. While barbering was one of the ways he supported his family, it was also the way he touched many lives and where he offered his motivational wisdom and song.
Bud further shared he had been called to practice his faith as a Muslim, which he explained meant "submitter to God’s will”.
“KC, I am here to love on God’s people! That’s what I’m here to do! I gotta get out of here [the hospital] to keep on loving on people!”
By all reports, that is what Edwin ‘Bud’ Sims did best! He loved on people! There are so many testimonies to that effect — from his cousins, clients, and fellow classmates.
Bud was a graduate of our Professional Massage Therapy program and had just received his license to practice. He was, indeed, committed to healing bodies. One of his instructor, Ellie Lorente, recalls how her conversations with Bud were about the love that they shared for their mothers. “He was very kind to hold space with me when I lost my mother a few months ago.
After class one day he offered to massage my face. It turned into a four-day healing crisis for me, he touched me so deeply. His big heart and safe energy enabled me to let go. He always looked me in the eye when he spoke and his honesty in class always made me, and others, laugh! He was never afraid to share from his past and the things that he had done in order to evolve as a seeker!”
Jenny Rose Buford, fondly remembers Bud’s time in Massage Clinic, “He really cared about people. He would take the time to make everyone feel seen and appreciated. He was a kind soul who brought a sense of calm and kindness. He had an energy that everything would be ok and encouraged everyone, students, staff and clients to just slow down and enjoy life. He saw everyone and everything as beautiful!”
Jenny goes on to share, “Bud always got positive client feedback, and at times, he would tear up when talking about how it made him feel when clients shared how deeply touched they were by his bodywork and the hour they spent on his table. He truly touched people on a soul level!”
John Sanders, one of Bud’s instructors in his massage program at SWIHA, recalls challenging the class of students he was in by saying: “I don’t want any student to be an average Massage Therapist who doesn’t know their anatomy!”
Admittedly John lovingly challenged students by putting them on the spot so they will be able to articulate anatomy to their clients. “Most students struggle in both knowledge and confidence, especially around anatomy. I specifically remember a day Bud was struggling. After class he pulled me aside and said it has been many years since he had been in school and schoolwork has always been a struggle! Here’s who Bud was — He made me promise not let up on him because he did not want to be average.”
“We parted that day with Bud grinning, shaking his head up and down, and in his Bud-soulful-speak, he said, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear you John Sanders! Ask me stuff next week.’
At the very next anatomy class, John Sanders did call on Bud. “While I could tell he was nervous, on that day he found his confidence! As he began speaking, I could tell he had studied; he spoke with pride and knowledge. The way I”ll remember Bud Sims is as someone who wanted to learn all things bodywork and not be average.”
Bud was married to Keshia Sims for 20 years and was the father of four children, one of which had died when she was only four years old, due to a fatal heart condition. He reflected upon this painful memory by saying, “It’s all about our hearts, KC! This is what I know! We gotta put our whole heart into living!”
Whenever Bud talked to someone he used their first name and said it several times within the conversation.
He didn’t have generic conversations, rather deep heart-felt personal dialogues. He had a way of making the person in front of him feel like the most important person on earth in the moment.
His intense eye contact was purposeful! He didn’t back down or flinch at anyone or anything. Known for the t-shirts he wore, his wife Keshia shared his favorite quote: “BE CONFIDENT! When you know what you know, there’s no need to entertain what they think!”
Bud had that saying put on a T-shirt. In remembering Bud, many people mentioned his T-shirts and the living billboard to positivity he was! What we didn’t know is that plans were in the beginning stages of him starting a T-shirt business with his 14-year-old son, Mekhi. To honor this dream, one hundred memorial t-shirts are being printed, with all proceeds going to support Bud’s dream of his son being a successful black business owner. The T-shirts will be available in the SWIHA Bookstore shortly.
Barb Moeller, the manager of the on-campus bookstore, tells of all the days Bud would come into the store just to show her the T-shirt he was wearing, especially the funny shirts. Together they shared big belly laughs, often affecting others around them with the infectiousness of their unbound laughter and quick wittedness.
A touching event occurred one morning when Bud and Barb were kibitzing. A student walked up to the register to buy a book and didn’t have quite enough money to buy the required book. Without a moment of hesitation Bud brought the book for the surprised student. Looking her straight in the eye, he said, “Pay it forward next time you can!” Barb describes the interaction as a moment in time where the clock stopped, and all you could hear was the beating of hearts.
Whether it was someone who witnessed this scene or just heard about it, an anonymous donation of $1000 has been made to the SWIHA Bookstore to help establish the “Bud’s Big Heart Scholarship!”
SWIHA has matched this amount, and will dedicate this scholarship to honor the #blacklivesmatter movement. In the future, if a Student of Color is in need of assistance in buying their require books, they may apply for monies that will go to paying forward Bud’s legacy.
This Friday, July 3, 2020, Edwin Bud Sims would have participated in a graduation ceremony held at our monthly event known as Gifts & Graces.
Bud would have loved our featured speaker, Quentin McCain, a past SWIHA graduate, a man of color, and someone completely committed to motivating and helping others to rise up! After working to rehabilitate patients in a burn center and as an Admissions Coach for SWIHA, Quentin is now living his ultimate dream of motivational speaking. He is a Maximum Performance Trainer, NLP Coach and—just like Bud—a beacon of unshakable positivity who has dedicated his life to be of service to others. We believe Bud will be in the room with us in Spirit, filling each heart with peace, love and gratitude.
Joining Quentin on stage will be his mother, E. Marie Hall, who is a motivational speaker, best-selling author and Coach to top professionals. “Mindset Mastery” is how she raised her son, and she specializing coaching men and women of all ages around!
We can expect a highly charged, very motivational evening as we dedicate this Gifts and Graces to THE UNSTOPPABLE FORCE OF A POSITIVE MINDSET. Due to social distancing we must limit the number of people attending the event in person, however the inspirational night will be available via Facebook LIVE on the main Southwest Institute of Healing Arts page.