What I Do Know... A Light in Our Lives

Real life has kept me hopping the past couple of weeks, so I haven't been able to make my way here in a few days. As it happens, I have a few moments to devote to my blog today, and I also have a lot to say.

Many of you know that in July I lost my maternal grandmother, after a long battle with ovarian cancer. In October of last year, I lost my paternal grandmother, after a long battle with dementia. All of my grandparents are now in Heaven. My parents have now mourned and are still mourning the loss of all of their parents. It changes the entire landscape of your life when you realize that an entire set of family members who meant so much to you are now gone. No more Christmases at Maw Maw's house. No more Thanksgiving breakfasts at Cracker Barrel with Granny. It makes me sad. And that's just my perspective. I can't imagine what it's like for my parents.

Today I got word that my oldest son's 3rd grade teacher passed away, after a very long battle with breast cancer. My son is 12 years old and in the 7th grade, so he still has bright, vivid memories of 3rd grade, and he will tell you that she was his favorite teacher. She was a wonderful, loving, caring woman... the kind of teacher every parent wants for their kids. She LOVED my son. She REFUSED to take less than his best. She CARED for him. She PUSHED him when he needed it. She BELIEVED in him. And we are still seeing the resutls of her love and care for him on a DAILY basis.

Her battle with breast cancer is one of the most unfair things I've ever witnessed, and I didn't witness it that closely. I can't imagine how those who cared for her must've felt about the injustice of it all. She did all the right things. Got her first mamogram at 40. And found out she had cancer. She had surgery, and had all the treatments. Went into remission. Only to have the cancer recur and recur and recur. And through it all she kept on teaching, only taking off when she absolutely had to. Because she believed in what she was doing, and she knew she had something so precious to offer those 3rd graders who were so fortunate to be in her classroom.

She has two children of her own... one in college and one in high school. When I think about the two of them my heart just breaks. There are no words.

I don't understand things many times, and I don't try to. This world can be a terribly unfair place, and bad things happen to good people for no good reason. I can think of no good reason why this amazing woman with a husband and two children to love and care for and a whole host of students who she'd yet to teach had to be taken away so early. It makes me sad. It makes me angry.

But what I do know is this... The Lord put a light in all of our lives because of Tammy Newton. My son and countless other students have had their lives forever changed and enriched because of her presence and her influence. And for that I will always be grateful. She's reaping rewards that we cannot imagine.

Enjoy your reward, Tammy. You've more than earned it.


  1. It's so shattering, isn't it? It just feels wrong that that person isn't in the world anymore. I had a great aunt that way. She started out with breast cancer, at about 50, and it just ate her up on the inside, moving eventually to her brain. I was pregnant with my son when she died, and it broke my heart because a couple months later, at my baby shower, her daughters presented me with the baby shower gift she bought before she died. There were a lot of tears that day. Those precious little outfits are in my keepsake box now, and will stay there forever.
    Damn, it's ten years later now, and I'm crying again. She was that precious kind of woman.
    I think there are special places in heaven for these few that touch your life like that. Cherish them.

  2. So many lessons we're here to learn... It's never easy. Loss and grief are necessary to us just as air and water but it's never, ever easy. By writing about your grief and expressing all the emotions accompanying it you are in fact healing from it. One of my most cherished quotes on grief...

    There is no grief like the grief that does not speak. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Knowing that others have felt grief and moved past it helps me most along with my tiny little reserve of faith.

    Here are a few quotes that have brought me through to the other side...

    He that is thy friend indeed, he will help thee in thy need: if thou sorrow, he will weep; if you wake, he cannot sleep; thus of every grief in heart he with thee doth bear a part. ~Richard Barnfield

    Grief is the price we pay for love.
    ~Queen Elizabeth II

    Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how.
    ~James Russell Lowell

    And in the most difficult of hours and the darkest depths of grief I find the courage to just hang on a little bit longer so to be sure and avoid ever subscribing to these points of view...

    He who is overly attached to his family members experiences fear and sorrow, for the root of all grief is attachment. Thus one should discard attachment to be happy. ~Chanakya

    I felt I couldn't be a good mom anymore, but I didn't want my children to grow up without a mom. I felt I had to end our lives to protect us from any grief or harm. ~Susan Smith

    Lots of love and prayers to you and for you as you grief the loss of such a beautiful, inspiring woman.