Category Archives: Friendship

Gone from Sight

I can’t stop thinking about Jamie this week. I think about her so often. Every time I wear my Team Jamie tshirt, or my pink breast cancer hat, or when I see pictures of her beautiful daughter, Kayden.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since she’s been gone. I have written about lessons I learned from Jamie, and I have continued to be inspired by her friends and family.

Jamie’s Wish is coming true this week, thanks to the amazing efforts of those who loved her, and people who never knew her. How awesome is that? Not only was she extremely inspirational during her time on earth, but she also wanted those who were coming after her to have it better than she did. She was truly selfless.

Jamie was a big part of the reason that I made the decision to get healthier and stop making excuses. She would have done anything to be healthy. And here I was, slowly killing myself, by choosing to be completely unhealthy. Something changed in me when I made that connection. I could choose to continue living in denial, or I could choose to change. I chose to change, and I have not felt this healthy or strong in a very long time.

Unfortunately, I also learned today that one of my Senior Vice Presidents from work also passed away from cancer. He had kept his illness very private, so it was a shock to many of us. Our President of Sales sent out this poem that someone had given him when his father passed away. I couldn’t help but think that it described Jamie perfectly.

Gone From My Sight
by Henry Van Dyke

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone”

Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me — not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,”
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”

And that is dying…

Death comes in its own time, in its own way.
Death is as unique as the individual experiencing it.

I continue to be inspired by Jamie and the legacy she left. Every day is a chance to make your mark on the world. To leave your own legacy. So, let’s get moving!

As Jamie would say,

Much Love,

Tammy

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Filed under Comfort, Death, Friendship, Getting Healthy, Life lessons

Lessons I learned from Jamie

I can’t stop thinking about all of the lessons I learned from my friend, Jamie.

I hate that I had to learn these lessons from her, as I wish she had never had to go through what she did. But, she continues to be an example to so many and is still bringing people together for a greater good, even after her death.

Her birthday seems like a fitting time to share them, as well as some pictures that touch my heart.

Speak from your heart. Always.

Smile. It’s infectious.

Take time to listen to others.

Blog.

Never give up on people.

Pay it forward.

Treasure every moment, every hour, every day.

Be thankful for everything, even if it’s hard.

Ask for prayer when you need it.

Give yourself completely to others.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Surround yourself with amazing people.

Tell your friends and family what you want.

Start on your bucket list.

Celebrate life. No matter what you are going through.

Much love.

Thank you, Jamie. For being a friend, an inspiration, and an encouragement to me and so many people. Your spirit lives on through Aaron, Kayden, your family and friends. I am blessed to have known you.

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Filed under Beauty, Friendship, Life lessons, Thankful

Community

What does the word community mean to you?

 This word keeps coming to me over and over again. I think it’s because I have found it again. I think I lost it for a long time.

 Maybe in the past you used the word “group” or “club” when you thought of something you belonged to. We are so familiar with them when we are young. We go to school together, we play sports, get involved in extra curricular activities, and strive to fit in somewhere. What we longed for was to do life together, in a community.

 Looking back, I realize how being involved in these communities helped to keep me accountable, and I was living life with these people on a regular basis.  I could not miss practice or a performance without someone wanting to know where I was. I was required to keep moving forward.

 Somewhere along the lines, though, we lose the importance of this concept. Part of it is getting out on our own and trying to make our own life. Another part of it is our mobile, relocating society. Many of us no longer stay in our hometowns and start a life there. We move to a new location. We have a hard time meeting our neighbors because we are too busy. We detach ourselves from people because it requires work to develop new relationships and communities. Everybody seems to have their own agenda, and not be as concerned about others. And quite honestly, life is hard! Starting a career, being in the workforce, getting married, having kids – these are all things that help us keep a selfish perspective.

 I read a great book called ‘Refrigerator Rights’  about how so few people feel close enough with their friends and neighbors to go in and help themselves to something in their fridge without asking. This is due to so many reasons, and I have been at the point where I didn’t feel like I had any friends or neighbors that could do that. It was a very lonely time.

 However, this idea is starting to show just how effective it can be in my life. Why? Because it makes you accountable, it makes you feel good, and you feel supported. There is something unbelievably comforting in knowing that there are people you can call when you need them, or who are praying for you regularly. There is nothing like having a goup of people who are pushing you to be better, whether it’s regarding your health, spirituality, fitness, work, or any other area of your life. You can drop your kids off when needed, you can offer to take someone else’s kids for them, and you can be there for them when they need you. You can get together regularly and build relationships with your families.

 I love that we are building these relationships with neighbors and people from our church community, as well as other friends in our lives. It makes an amazing difference in your outlook and your life.

What are your thoughts regarding community? How has this impacted your life?

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Filed under Community, Friendship, Motivation

My friend Jamie

This is how I remember Jamie when I first met her. Straight out of college, full of life, and dating a guy named Aaron. I liked her from the moment I met her. Her smile was beautiful and sincere. She loved life and brought joy to those around her.
We worked together for several years. I wouldn’t say that we were super close during that time, but we had a lot of fun together. She would come to me and ask for professional advice, as well as situations with her personal life. We developed a friendship that didn’t require that we spend tons of time together outside of work, or talk to each other all the time. We just had one of those simple friendships where we knew that we cared about each other and could pick up the phone at any time.
We later moved back to Chicago from Kansas City, and I didn’t see her for several years. We would exchange emails now and then, but it wasn’t until she was pregnant with her daughter, and I was pregnant with my second son, that we started getting back in touch more often. Our due dates were within days of each other. That is always a great time to reconnect with someone and exchange pregnancy stories. I couldn’t believe it when she told me that she was planning to name her daughter Kayden. We had just recently decided that we were going to name our son Kaden. I was shocked, as at the time, it was a pretty uncommon name (obviously, that’s not the case anymore!) My Kaden ended up being born one day after her Kayden. It was a great way for us to continue to keep in touch and exchange Kayden stories!
Less than a year later, Jamie’s world changed forever. She found a lump on her breast. Her doctors told her it was nothing. She was 30 years old and healthy, with a baby at home. Jamie had a feeling they were wrong and unfortunately, they were. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. We were all shocked.
Jamie’s story captivated us all. Through everything she was going through, she blogged and continued to show unbelievable hope and grace. She helped us see the good things in life, even when we couldn’t comprehend the difficulties she was going through. Over the next four and a half years, her cancer would go into remission, and then return, two more times before she got the news that it was metastatic in early 2010.

This picture was taken the same weekend that I got to see her and Kayden, in the spring of 2010. It was shortly after her latest diagnosis that the cancer was spreading faster than the chemo could keep up with. She looked fantastic, and you would never have known that her time on this earth was so limited. She was as beautiful as ever, grateful, and so full of life. I was so glad to be able to spend even a short amount of time with her and her adorable Kayden.

She was so thankful for every day that she got to wake up. I continually learned lessons from her about loving life and appreciating the simple things. Oh, and remember that guy named Aaron? He is her unbelievably amazing husband. Watching his support and love for her during this entire time was something that touched me very deeply. They treasured every moment they had together as a family. They crossed things off her bucket list. They lived every day as if it were going to be her last. I was continually amazed at the strength, endurance and resilience they showed.

In March of this year, Jamie went home to be with Jesus. Her earthly suffering was now over. Even though it’s been a few months, typing those words still does not seem real. It’s hard for us to comprehend how someone so young with so much life could be taken from us so soon. But during her short time, she touched so many lives. Many of them did not know her personally, and had been following her journey through friends of friends and praying for her. She had an unbelievable impact during her short life on this earth.

This is how I will forever remember Jamie. With a stunning smile, love that spilled out of her, and as an amazing Mom, wife, daughter, sister, and friend. She taught me to slow down and treasure the little things in life.

Thank you, Jamie. For being my friend, and teaching me so many incredible lessons. You were a treasure and truly loved. You inspired countless numbers of people with your unbelievable honesty and grace. Among many of the things that you helped me realize, the power of blogging was a big one for me. You took the time to share your story. The good, the bad, and everything in between. In doing so, people’s lives were changed. That is inspiring!

This Sunday, I have the privilege of walking in the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure in Kansas City. While I will be with thousands of other people, it will be an incredible honor to walk with Team Jamie, consisting of her family, friends and people who loved her. I know it will be an amazing experience, and one that she will be smiling down on as we walk in her honor.

If you’d like to read more about Jamie’s incredible journey, you can read her blog, Loving Pink. This post was one of my favorites: A Time to Believe.

If you’d like to donate to Team Jamie to support breast cancer research, you can visit my race page at Team Jamie.

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Filed under Friendship, inspiration, Jamie