I’m far too young to write this post because we are the same age and she was far too young to leave this world.
Tuesday morning, I received a call from a dear sorority sister to tell me she was gone.
I hung up the phone and picked my broken heart up off the ground – a mama heart bleeding for the two young girls who shouldn’t have to say good-bye to their mother quite yet.
Shock and disbelief swirl around me and I turn my gears to autopilot until I can get home to the safety of a shower where the tears can flow.
Upon returning, I get the youngest squared away, plug my phone into the speakers and hit the song I know will remind me of His greatness.
It begins to play and the warm water envelopes me into a much-needed embrace of safety. I listen and I talk.
Out tumble two stubborn words that emerge when I can’t make sense of what happens in this world:
It’s the cornerstone argument of an atheist, you know.
“If God is so good, then why doesn’t He stop the heartbreak of these two little girls? What kind of loving God does this?”
He reminds me that I would have thought the same thing just thirteen short years ago.
And He is so patient because we’ve talked this through before, He and I. He knows I’ll beat my fists in the air and beg for Jesus to come back RIGHT NOW. It’s part of the dance we do when I’m angry with Him. Sad. Broken-hearted. Ready to throw things.
So often when someone passes away, others exaggerate their relationship with the deceased so I will admit she wasn’t my best friend. But she was indeed a dear friend.
While we met in 1993 on Bid Night at the Pi Phi house of Indiana University, I later moved to her hometown. She was the only person I knew.
She held my hand for a while but then, we were in different life stages – her children are older and mine still cling to my leg.
I settled in to nap schedules and meals and sleepless nights and just plain surviving and life happened to us both.
But I knew she would drop everything if I needed her. That’s just who she was.
Her warm smile illuminated the contents of her heart and exhibited a rare and stunning physical beauty – rare because the combination of beauty on the inside and out is somewhat of an anomaly these days.
Not to mention she was tough – she had the courage to face relentless demons in the eyes each and every day.
Six months ago, she started to go back to church. She got involved in Sunday School. She recommitted her life to Him.
As I recover from my snit with God and allow the warm water to wash over my shoulders, I understand.
Our all-knowing God didn’t make this happen, but He knew it would happen so he issued an invitation. Tammy was wise enough to accept.
Isn’t that just like Him? He pulls us up out of the messy pit and tells us we’re worth it, reiterates we aren’t too broken, reminds us we don’t have to get well before we follow Him because we follow Him to get well.
His Son was sent for the sick.
And while I mourn her loss for the sake of the sweet daughters she leaves behind and feel sadness over the absence she will leave when us Pi Phi’s get together, I rejoice in her choice to accept that invitation.
Because now . . . demons no longer relentlessly pursue her.
She is free from pain and she doesn’t have to worry about a thing.
She is whole and complete and experiencing the pure joy and peace that can only come from being with Him.
And based on her personality, I’m positive she’s got the angels in stitches.
Until we meet again, sweet Tammy. I am better for having known you.
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