The Gifts He Gave

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Day by day, hour by hour. Today is a good day, which means I’m not fixated on the loss of my sweetheart every second. Yesterday was horrible. I was putting Dani down for a nap and as I knelt next to her crib, I felt like something huge was missing. I felt incomplete--partial. I was missing something crucial, and in its void was evil--sadness, despair, hopelessness. I was brought to my knees by this feeling. I was hanging onto the side of Dani’s crib, my chin propped up on the rail, and I couldn't breathe, I couldn't see straight. Tears were flowing, as every good feeling of strength and hope was sucked out of me at that moment.

I looked up in sorrow, panic and pain and saw my mom standing there, watching me. She stepped out of the room and I heard her break down into gut-wrenching sobs. I just clung to the crib for all I had and whimpered and moaned for my Bryce.

It didn't sound as if it were coming from my body; it sounded as if it were coming from a ghostly wind. Dani just looked at me from between the bars, and I wanted to absorb her into me--to keep her with me forever, free from pain, disease and sadness.

I sunk to the floor and sobbed for my Brycey, and mom picked me up and led me to my bed. She laid me down and laid down next to me, still sobbing for me and for Bryce. She rocked me to sleep. The emptiness was horrible. This pain was worse than any physical injury I have had.

I lost my composure midday, but my mom was right there and rocked me to sleep. Nobody is too old to be rocked to sleep! Mom also put up my Christmas decorations, which I had no intentions of doing this year. I’m so lucky to have my family surrounding me, physically and emotionally.

My friend Matt made this comment to me:

“I have recently wondered what is the good in all this for you. What lesson is so important that you have to endure pain that brings you to your knees. I don't say that doubting in faith but rather with the inability to comprehend what good shall come of all this. There are many small good things but the reality is that the small good things don't surpass the great loss of a spouse in such an early phase of life. The greatest marriage is when you are able to have pure selfless love. You did that. You were with Bryce every minute when others would have cracked. In the eternal perspective how can you have a better marriage than one where you set aside your personal pain and suffering so that you could comfort and do everything possible for Bryce?”

Matt, you are a wonderful friend.

Friends have noticed and commented that I have been impossible to get hold of lately, and some feel slighted. I haven’t tried to avoid anyone; I’m just not feeling too sociable lately. Your love and prayers have been priceless and haven’t gone unnoticed, so please accept my gratitude via this posting. If I haven’t returned your call, don’t be offended!! And please don’t base our friendship on the fact that I have spoken with ____ and not you. It's meaningless; just circumstance.

Tragedy, especially of such magnitude, has altered my perception of every aspect of life. Something that would have ruined my day a year ago is inconsequential to me now. Heavy traffic? Big deal. Flat tire? It happens. Get in a fight? So—grow up and make up. Did somebody say something to you that wasn’t loud enough for you to hear? You better not have yelled at them to speak up. Somebody made a mistake at work which cost you a few minutes? Then fix it—and I really hope you didn’t ruin the other person’s day out of the spirit of selfish retaliation! Yes, I realize this sounds Pollyanna-ish. I only hope I can hang onto this attitude, because life is much too short to be controlled by anger and stress. I’m becoming an idealist.

Bryce was this way, which was one of his best qualities. Bryce was laid back and didn’t let people ruin his day. Of course, he was human, so occasionally small things would take him over the edge—but that was not the norm. He often said, “life’s too short”, when he was witness to the behaviors mentioned above. When we met, I had been spending an obscene amount of time and energy on researching the religion in which I had grown up. I spent hours and days disproving its truth and goodness. It was good for my therapy—my self-prescribed therapy. When I first dated Bryce, I told him all about my church history and how I felt about it. I showed him the research I had done over the previous several years. I was so proud of myself and my devotion to my cause. Bryce didn’t disagree nor did he act impressed with the sheer volume of work I had completed. He simply asked me why I would spend so much time and energy disproving something good. The Church had a lot of good in it that I was ignoring, even mocking. I was trying to negate that good. He told me that I was exceptionally intelligent, and that I should be proving things that are wonderful and helpful and generally doing good things.

The Church—all churches, for that matter—is like a huge tree. The trunk of the tree is the actual doctrine—love one another, do unto others, acknowledge the hand of a higher power in your life, people are good, etc. The branches are where different religions branch out and the people of the religion make statements that may or may not be true. There is goodness to the branches, but they are not necessary for the tree to still be a tree. The leaves are the people. Just people. People say things, people do things, people offend each other, people create false doctrine. Without the leaves, the tree still stands and is still real and good. I, like most people who feel the same way about my Church, became so focused on the leaves that I became angry, disenchanted, and I wanted out. Bryce asked me, “If you were to live your life according to the trunk of the tree and ignore the branches and leaves, would you be a better person at the end of the day?” Yes. Absolutely. “All the things you’re angry about are the branches and leaves. Forget about that. Stay close to the trunk and don’t look up. You’ll find purpose, love, happiness, and your family will embrace you into their lives once again. How can this be wrong? Just try it and see if you’re happier in a week.” I did, and he was absolutely right. I went old-school and forgot about the “leaves” that had made me so angry for so long. I crept under the radar, under the branches, and sought a pure, beautiful life. I found happiness. I shook off the anger. It wasn’t worth my time. I was ready for Bryce—his simple, happy, smart, accepting, nonjudgmental soul. He was wonderful and beautiful and smart. He taught me how to coexist with the religion I had given up. He gave me so many gifts. He gave me our daughter and the best five years of my life. He gave me my family, whom I had shunned so recently. I am so blessed. Bryce, I love you so much. Please watch over our little family as we mourn the loss of husband and daddy.

Cheese samich, baby.

33 Comments So Far!

On Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 6:24 AM
Poppy said:

You don't know me. I don't know you. I have stumbled across your blog and felt your pain. I am so far away (in Australia) but am a wife and a Mummy. I am thinking of you daily...learning from you...and praying for something...for you..for Danni...just because I wish I could help. I would so love to be able to do something for you?? in the meantime people all round the world know of this brave and beautiful man Bryce...a lovely wife and Daughter and the Sunscreen is going on heavier and more consciously. If's there's anything..anything at all I can do please get in touch. Poppy xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

On Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 8:25 AM
Leslie said:

Tammy,

My heart just breaks for you. I wish that I could do something to help. Please know that I am wishing you love this holiday season (and everyday after). Bryce's story has touched me in ways that I didn't think were possible.

Much love,
Leslie

On Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 8:49 AM
Julie Steadman said:

Oh Tammy - I sobbed myself as I read your post. Sobbed. I'm so sorry you're feeling the pain you're feeling. I think of you daily and just wish I could fix it all somehow, someway. You are so very brave to face this head on. To allow yourself to grieve. I can't even begin to imagine the courage that takes and the pain and lonliness it entails. And your poor Mother. My heart broke and yet, was warmed, to read that she rocked you to sleep.

Thank you for your eloquent words and reminder of what's important in life. I think you already are an idealist. Bryce's explanation of the Church was beautiful and so insightful. As are you. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for sharing your grief and your feelings with us so openly. We worry about you and pray for you daily.

On Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 9:14 AM
Sally Mc said:

How blessed you are to have your Mom. They are the best at comfort and as you're learning with Dani, when your children hurt, Moms hurt right along with them...sometimes even more.

It's ok to fall apart on occasion. You will again, and again you'll pull yourself up. When I listen to your description of how you felt at Dani's cribside, I am moved to tears for you and for how real your description is. It's ugly and it hurts, but it's ok and I think it's something we have to feel to learn whatever it is we're learning!!!!

It's also ok to become a little anti-social (but only for awhile!!) If people are truly your friends, they'll understand. You need down time, alone time...time to grieve by yourself. The blessing is that you will always know that when you're ready your true friends will be there waiting with open arms. Worry about you Tammy...let yourself heal.

I love you!
Sally

On Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 9:32 AM
Brittani Martin said:

Dear Tammy,

I feel sick to my stomach knowing how much pain you are going through. I'm so so very sorry! I know we don't know each other, but I would do anything to take this pain away from you. No one should have to go through this. I'm sure you tire of hearing this, but the Lord gives the toughest trials to the toughest and strongest people. You will rise above this a better person, and some great and wonderful good will come from it. You will be so blessed for staying strong. We pray for your constantly. Remember that the Lord is with you, and He has felt your pain. He can help you through this. PLEASE let me know if there is ANYTHING I can EVER do!!!

Brittani Martin

On Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 10:24 AM
Mikey said:

Tammy,

My heart breaks for you. I am so sorry that you are going through this pain and suffering. I feel the need and urge to be there by your side to comfort you in these instances and try to make you laugh when you feel those moments of sorrow. However, the reality of it is that I cannot be there like I want. It seems that everytime I plan to come visit, something steps in the way and I have to take care of the matters at hand. Know that I do continually pray for you and think of you often. I miss the brightness you always bring into the office.

I love that your mom rocked you to sleep. I can't really remember my mom rocking me to sleep. I was really close to her though. As I have told you on several occasions, when other kids were out playing little league football and baseball, building remote control cars or having marathon video game sessions with friends, I was usually home with my mom. Not that I didn't have friends, just that I really loved being with my mom. I learned many great things from her. I can cook casseroles, clean, quilt, etc... Things other guys might not have picked up on so early in life. I when I was 16 I gave her a children's book for what would be her last Mother's Day alive. The book is called "Love You Forever" by Robert Munsch (You can Google it and read the whole story online). In it the mother rocks her baby back and forth to sleep at different stages of his life and while she rocks him she sings "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be." This, I felt, kinda summed up the relationship I had with her. When she died unexpectedly a few months later, that book became one of my most prized posessions and I still have it. It reminds me of that love. The only fallacy is where it says "As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be." I am still her baby and I'm sure there are times where I am sad or distraught and although I can't see her, she comes and rocks her baby back and forth to sleep. It is a comforting notion. The joy of it is the truth that Families Are Forever! How tragic and depressing would it be to think that it is all over after we leave this world. You and Bryce weren't just married "til death do us part", you are married throughout all eternity. What a blessing that is. I hope this brings you some comfort. Families ARE Forever! This simple concept has been the basis of my coping with her death. Same thing when my Sister died. Sure it is painful and saddening, but hold true to that simple truth. It is part of that tree trunk. Families Are Forever!

I so wish I could be there with you to hold you and cry with you. For now you will have to settle with verbal hugs. You have been such a good friend to me over the years and I feel guilty that I am not able to strengthen you as you have me. Anytime you need to talk, call me. Even if you don't feel like talking, call me anyway. I'm sure I can say something to make you smile or laugh. As always, turn to Lord. Cast your burdens upon him. You are blessed with a wonderful mother. Love her anytime you can. The love of a mother is an amazing and powerful thing. I pray that you will be that kind of a mother to Dani as she grows up. I know you will! May God bless you and comfort you.

Hope to see you soon,

Mikey

On Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 10:40 AM
Elaine Miles said:

Tammy, What a beautiful testimony about the gospel you just shared with all of us. Your example of the tree and it's branches is so true and wonderful--it's the perfect way to describe what is important. I, too, broke down and cried when I read today's entry. I'm so glad that today is a better day for you. The song TOMORROW just popped into my head and I was reminded of the first few words that say, "The sun come out tomorrow" and the thought crossed my mind that when the sun does finally come out, you will feel much better and you'll know that you can move on. But in the meantime, just know that the world is praying for you and Dani. We love you so much and we're so glad to be a part of your life.

Something to bring a smile to your face--when you were a little girl, we remember you singing: One misty, moisty morning, when cloudy was the weather, I chanced to meet an old man, clothed all in leather. He began to "conk my head".... I hope today continues to be a good day for you, and the start of many good days.
Love, Aunt Elaine

On Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 3:25 PM
Barbara Stevens said:

Tammy,

What a wonderful thing that your mom was there in your moment of pure sorrow. As you looked at Dani and wanted to keep her from the sorrow of the world, your mom felt the same thing for you.

And before your mom came into the world, the Savior prayed in the garden of Gethsemane and felt your pain and would have taken it all away if he could; if it were part of the plan.

But, he could only feel your pain and ours, and take away the price of our sins if we repented. He couldn't take away all of our suffering. But, he could give us the Comforter and he did.... He also gave you a mother who was capable of comforting her "baby" in her need. And whether you know it or not, you were comforting your mom in her unbearable sorrow as well.

As my eyes have been opening to the sorrow all around us and the many, many trials that people have, I too, have wondered about the sense of it all. And I think of the scripture that says, "And these things will give thee experience."

I'm not sure why I and others think sometimes that this lifetime is supposed to be a picture perfect world. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that many of us are born into easy circumstances as compared to the majority of the world. But, as we age and begin the life stage of "seeing" death and suffering around us much more than when we were young and carefree, it makes us sit still and think about the life after this.

It is always so hard to watch death come to someone so young who hasn't had their chance to fully live out their earthly life. And it is harder still to watch someone so young say goodbye to their loved one, as if they were ripped apart.

Somehow the knowledge that Bryce is on the "other side" just isn't enough.... there is a human mourning that can't be taken away. I wonder if that is why babies genetically aren't geared to talk when they are born. Perhaps there is a great sorrow leaving behind a pre earth life as spirits without pain and coming into a world with lots of noise, bright lights, and whom we consider to be strangers because of the "forgetting".

I believe that all of this suffering IS for a purpose (even though we don't like it one bit!) It is the way in which we are able to emulate the Savior and his teachings. We will never have to suffer to the extent that the Savior did if we follow him in faith. And through every suffering, it makes us ponder how much HE really did suffer...

If suffering were "the end" it wouldn't make any sense. It is what we learn through it that is the prize. And there isn't any way around it, but straight through it unfortunately. And although our sufferings are so distinct from one another, the prize is the same. We learn compassion, true love, patience, endurance, faith, knowledge, and joy. It is through our almost unbearable suffering that we come to appreciate what true joy is.

We came to the earth to obtain a physical body and to learn to manage with free agency, all that comes with a body; pain included. It is a necessary part of the plan of happiness.

Tammy, your writing inspires such deep thought in others in the way that you describe your emotions. And through it all, others are better for it. And I think you are, too.

When the Savior hung on the cross and saw his mother mourning, he asked his beloved disciple to take his mother as his own and comfort her and take care of her. I believe that Bryce did that for you in a similar way as he got people together for you. He did not leave you comfortless. What a great gift he gave and continues to give.

You don't need to be strong anymore....you have open arms all around you...

Love,
Barbara

On Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 3:30 PM
Anonymous said:

Tammy- You don't know me but I have been reading your story. There were many days I took my husband for granted and we argued or picked at each other. Please know you are making a difference with your story because you've inspired me to be the best wife and mother I can, and to love my husband, my family, my friends and never take them for granted again. You are a beautiful person and I just pray that God will heal your heart and watch over you and your precious little girl.

On Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 4:43 PM
Tara said:

There are no words...just know that I'm so sorry for what you are having to endure.
You and Dani continue to be in my prayers.

On Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 5:47 PM
Nathan said:

Tammy,
Thank you for your words of inspiration and example of love and humility. I have been wanting to call and talk to you, but I have been trying to give you some space. Just know that I think about you daily and pray for you often.

Nathan (Cousin)

On Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 5:58 PM
Jenny B. said:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=zCdZwitrNoY
Dear Tammy~ I stumbled upon your blog and I have been touched by your journey with Bryce. I have felt your love for each other in your words and also your pain at loosing the love of your life. You were so blessed to have him in your life as well as him having you. I live in Texas and for the past month or so the local Christian radio station has been playing a conversation that they had with a 12 year old boy from NE named Logan. Maybe you have already heard his message. If not, I leave you the link above. His words are amazing and profound for such a young man. He is being called Logan the Sky Angel. I hope his words will offer a bit of peace for you. Take good care of yourself and know that I will continue to pray for you and your daughter Dani.

On Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 10:52 PM
Jami said:

Tammy,

I am so sorry for your pain, I don't know if this will make much of a difference to you, but it has always been a comforting story to me.

About 14 years ago, my 38 year old uncle passed away in the middle of the night with no health problems, no warning, just an odd gasp for breath, then he was gone, leaving behind a wife and three children, age 3-12. At his viewing, a family friend told his widow that we are asked to endure pains in this world that we cannot understand why we must endure. She compared it to a mother taking her infant child to the doctor for immunizations. We know that the small amount of pain the child suffers from the immunization will prevent much greater suffering in the future from horrible illnesses, but that small infant cannot comprehend why her mother is letting someone hurt her. In the same way, we do not know, or do not have the ability, at this stage of our lives, to understand why we have to hurt. But our Father does know, and even if he wanted to tell us, we just can't comprehend it, yet. There will come a day when you and Bryce will be reunited, and a day when all the why's will be understood, but for now, we just have to trust our Father that He knows best, just like our children trust us even when they may hurt a little from our guidance.

I know this may sound a bit longwinded, but I felt I should share. Please know that there are many, many people still checking this blog and thinking of you and you are in their prayers and ours.

Keep holding onto Dani and remember all the good.

On Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 11:37 PM
Jen said:

Hi Tammy-
We all need our moms. Sometimes I feel like I depend on mine now more than ever, and I am a 31 year old mom. It is family that is most important in our lives. You of all people understand that. Let your family carry you in this terrible time.
I always find it hard to respond to your powerful messages. During this Christmas season my heart is even more extended to you and Dani. I always want to say something sassy and smart like you! I don't have your talent so here it is.
I am sorry for your loss. I pray that a little bit of pain is taken away each day. I pray your mind can wrap around this new life and begin to happily remember and cherish the old. You are an inspiration to me and have helped me enjoy, appreciate and love my husband more than ever. Thank you for that.
Enjoy Christmas with Dani. Try to make some happy memories and know that you are totally surrounded by prayers and love even when you feel utterly, utterly alone.
I love you and pray for you always. God bless.

On Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 11:55 PM
Susie D. said:

Tammy,
Sweet friend of mine....
My heart aches for you. As I sit here reading your entry and all the additional comments, crying, trying to work...it stirs emotions in me that I am not ready to face. I am sooo sooo glad that your sweet mommy was there to help you through your moment of deepest despair. I have been lucky enough to be rocked into sweet slumber by my mommy. I was 21 years old and just found out that I was going to have to have a c-section when I had my first baby. I was mortified at the thought of being cut into and "was the baby going to be alright?" I ran to my mommy and she just loved me, no questions, no words...just the pure love of a mother. I will cherish that moment and many others of being able to take care of HER in HER time of need...no words, no questions, just pure love. Thank you for helping me to remember those things that are most important in a persons life. When my 14 year old makes plans without permission or my 13 year old gets mouthy with me...I will deal with it and not let it ruin my day. When my 6 year old insists on wearing a skirt to school in 20 degree weather, okay...I'll let her so that she will know that the next day she needs to wear something warmer instead of fighting with her over it. When my 4 year old wants to have a popsicle every now and again for breakfast...great! Let's do it and not argue about it! I will do my best to not let such things irritate me! I promise!!

Big hug and kiss for you and baby Dani!
Susie

On Friday, December 14, 2007 at 12:06 AM
Roni said:

Tammy

I just want to tell you that I love you.


Love, Roni

On Friday, December 14, 2007 at 7:01 AM
Michele said:

I just read your entire blog yesterday. I am so sorry for your loss. I experienced something similar 10 years ago, not cancer but car accident. Blogs were not around when I was going through the grieving process. There is a man that lost his wife to cancer 2 months ago. His name is Cary Miller and he blogs at www.carymiller.net. He is very honest and open about how he misses his wife and how he doesn't think he can get through it all. His blog doesn't have talk about new babies, vacations, etc. Sometimes it's helpful to share in someone's story that is in the same emotional place as yourself.

On Friday, December 14, 2007 at 9:28 AM
Stacey (Stevens) Jepson said:

Tammy,

I know words don't mean a whole lot right now, but it's all I have to give at such a distance and I want you to know we are all still thinking about you often. Sometimes that's the best therapy, just knowing there are still people out there who love you and want to help you feel that love. Just remember when it gets tough and it's too hard to stand - kneel (in prayer). Although you feel so alone and in despair, there is one who has felt that pain and can help you through it. Let him take the yoke. He can do for you what none of the rest of us can.

We love you,
your cousin Stacey and family

On Friday, December 14, 2007 at 10:27 AM
Em and John said:

Hey girl,
Through your miserable pain,we see you growing stronger in love and spirit all of the time! How can that be? Thanks for being such a great example to the both of us! We love you and can't wait to see you and Dani on Christmas!
Em and John

On Friday, December 14, 2007 at 11:32 AM
Sally B. said:

Dear Tammy,
My Mom and I pray for you every day. And I keep you on the prayer roll. I think and wonder and pray about you often. I pray that peace may come. The scriptures say one of the reasons Christ suffered all our sorrows is so He could succor His people in their afflictions. That meant more to me when I learned that succor comes from a verb that means "run to help." He doesn't just stand by waiting. He sends your Mom and your family and your friends. He sends people from all over the world to ache for you and pray for you.

I hope today continues to be a good day. I hope there comes a moment when the sunshine just feels good, and that there's an inkling that the darkness will someday lift. I hope the moments when you can feel the sunshine increase. I yearn for your happiness.

We love you, Tammy
Marian and Sally

On Friday, December 14, 2007 at 3:43 PM
Debbie said:

Tammy, I am so sorry for your pain. As you know, our family lost my niece Julie recently so we have all been in pain. I have followed your story since October. God bless you and little Dani.

On Friday, December 14, 2007 at 7:02 PM
Starla said:

I often check your blog to see how you are doing and regret that I don't post each time I read. It is just that I don't know what to say to make your pain any less than it is right now. My heart breaks for you and Dani. I can read your pain in your words and you write so eloquently. Although you are the one who is grieving and suffering, your words have been a strength to many and a loving reminder of what is truly important. I wish I had words of wisdom for you but I don't. I don't even know you but pray for you just the same.

On Friday, December 14, 2007 at 9:22 PM
brenda said:

Tammy,
Thank you for sharing such deep emotions and helping us understand how you are doing. I was glad to see that you had posted. I'm sorry you are feeling such despair. Your love for Bryce is so deep. You are a passionate person. Passionate about anything you set your mind to. That is why this journey will be most difficult. You gave Bryce everything you had over those five wonderful years...no wonder this is so painful. I am so glad you have a testimony of the things that will pull you through all of this. I hope you got tickets to see the Christmas Concert this weekend. I saw your mom on the screen. She is radiant. You are blessed to be surrounded by love. Hold tight to what you know is true.
I love you
brenda

On Friday, December 14, 2007 at 10:37 PM
Christine Uporsky said:

Hi Tammy,
I read your words and I felt like I was right there next to you on the floor holding you and looking up and baby Dani. I so wish I could be there with you right now!!! I could hear in your voice the other night the pain and emptiness and I so wish that I could have just reached through the phone to hug you. Tammy I so wish I could bring Bryce back for you and Dani I wish I could sweetie!!! Please know how much I love you and that I am always thinking and praying for you and that beautiful baby!!!!
your friend in Christ
Christine

On Saturday, December 15, 2007 at 6:59 PM
Amy said:

Tammy I am thinking of you and Dani, and hope that your good days will outnumber the bad. You have a real gift for sharing your feelings and I am so grateful that you do. Thanks also for your testimony. What a gift it is to have your faith and a way to share it.

On Monday, December 17, 2007 at 11:37 AM
Melanie said:

Tams,
I love you, I love you, I love you.
And Dani makes me smile just to think of her. I am so at a loss...no words can find a place. I just wish I could cuddle up in bed with you and absorb some of the unbearable ache.
Thanks for your gift of self. May you have the gift of peace this Christmas.
I love you so...
Aunt Melanie

On Monday, December 17, 2007 at 12:22 PM
Ashlan said:

Tammy~

As I saw your dad today, I ended up crying the whole time, because he expressed to me how proud he is of you and the trails you are facing daily and how proud he is of you and how strong you are. He went into detail about the day you were laying down dani and "melted", oh how lucky you were to have your loving mom by your side...She would do anything for you anytime. I kept thinking how do you go on Tammy. You are such an incredible girl, you prove to me everyday how strong you are. I hope you know its okay to be weak at time, there are so many people around for you. Tammy we pray for you and Dani daily..

On Monday, December 17, 2007 at 5:26 PM
anonymous said:

Tammy,
I'm so sorry for everything you are going through!! I saw you at a holiday party and I could see your pain. I wanted to embrace you and take all the pain away. I have only met you a few times and I did not want to take away your personal space.
Years ago, I had a child severely sick and although I did not lose her, I remember feeling desperately sad. It seemed like everyone went on with life and I couldn't because I didn't know if she would make it. Nothing was fun to me anymore and everything seemed so sad. It was like the world had stopped for me, but no one else.
I just want you to know that you are a remarkable person. You have great strength and love. I have never seen such great love, sacrifice and devotion to a husband. I know you feel such a great loss and I know everyone wants to take your pain away from you. I'm always afraid I'll say the wrong thing to someone who is mourning. People said things to me that I don't think they realized hurt when they were trying to help. I realize now that sometimes it is hard to know how to comfort someone. That is why I'm writing trying hard to express my feelings wishing I would have said something to you that night.
Just know that you are loved by many...family, friends, aquaintances, and total strangers. They are thinking about you and praying for you. Sometimes they may be at a loss for words but they do indeed love and care for you. What you are going through is normal and it will take time. God bless you and know that you will make it and you will feel joy again. Hope your days will get brighter as time goes by.

On Monday, December 17, 2007 at 9:14 PM
Becky from Minnesota said:

Tammy ~

Dear sister in the depths of our sorrows...

I am a little further down the road of this path we are on because of melanoma, and I can't say that it is any easier.

Loss is profound. Each day I am reminded of the tremendous hole in our life because Brad is gone. It hurts; how can we move on?

I know you have many people around you, and I also understand the anti-social part, but if you ever want to talk again ~ to scream, to rant, to cry ~ I'm only a phone call away and can relate VERY readily to the heartache you are experiencing.

If you haven't already done so, I recommend visiting the YOU Tube link posted in one of the comments above. It is precious, sweet, and extremely touching.

I am here, sorrowing with you.

Becky

On Tuesday, December 18, 2007 at 1:05 PM
Jared Poulson said:

Tammy,

I attended a luncheon on Friday in which Elder Holland was the speaker. His Christmas message was pretty powerful (as his talks always are) and it made me think of you. I won't be able to repeat it word for word, but thought I'd relay the general message. Elder Holland lost his father during Christmas one year. He recounted sitting in the hospital all night Christmas Eve and how upset he was with the Lord's "calendaring". He wandered the hospital hallways in his grief and as he passed the maternity ward he heard a newborn baby cry. As clear as a bell the thought came to him of the Savior's birth and how because of the Savior's birth, death is not the end, that Christmas and Easter, birth and death, are inseparably connected in the plan of Salvation. He said that when the Holidays come around now he has eventually learned to feel great joy in celebrating the birth of the Savior even though he's reminded of his loss, but knowing that with the birth, life and eventual death of the Savior we can overcome the chains of death has helped him be happy in celebrating this time of year again. I'm sure it feels like chains for you still, but hope you can feel some measure of comfort soon.

Jared

On Tuesday, December 18, 2007 at 1:43 PM
Catherine said:

Tammy,
I know you don't know me, and I don't know you, but I stumbled upon your blog through a link on a neighbors blog. As I read of your story, my heart is full. I hope you know what an amazing daughter of our Heavenly Father you are. Sharing your experiences and faith has strengthened my testimony - and I'm sure the testimonies of others. My Mother passed away from cancer one year ago - she lived 75 days after the news. At the young age of 22, the hurt of losing a mother is huge. Although it is not my spouse, rather my Mother that passed, I like to think that I can relate to your feelings of loss and pain. Families ARE eternal! Thank you for reminding me how important family and love is. With such sadness, I know it is hard to know WHY something so heart-breaking could happen, but it has helped me to remember that I will be with my Mom again someday. You will see your amazing Bryce again! And what a wonderful thing to know. Your daughter is lucky to have such strong and inspiring parents. Even though it has been a year, I hate to say that the hurt doesn't really go away. But with that, I've decided that I'd rather have hurt and remember my Mother every day of my life, than live a life not knowing how amazing that person was in my life. My prayers are with you and your family!

With love,
Catherine

On Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 7:45 AM
Krista said:

Oh Tammy
I travelled this same road 20 months ago. I also hate to tell you that the pain doesn't go away. It gets less sharp, but it is always there. When I lost my Murray, I thought that that would be the end of me, but I had to go on for his sons (my step-sons). I went through all of the emotions you have described, but I think for me the strongest one was anger. I was angry with him for leaving. I know that it sounds silly, but I truely was. It got so bad that his brother had to take the urn containing his cremains to his house because I was yelling at it. The profound sadness is still with me this far down the road, and some days I break down. I'm here to tell you...it's okay. I think that we wouldn't be normal if we didn't.
Hold tight to beautiful Dani.
HUGS
Krista
(kwakri from MPIP)

On Friday, January 4, 2008 at 10:04 PM
Just Corby said:

I have been following your story for the past few months and check in regularly to see how you're doing. My father passed away (way too soon) a few years ago from melanoma. I am so impressed with your efforts to educate about skin cancer.

More importantly, keep your chin up. You have many people (even strangers!) rooting for you every night in their prayers.

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