I've been reading posts on facebook.
I've been answering messages on facebook.
And, I've been answering emails.....
all about my sweet Tina.
But I have not been able to bring myself to blog about her.
This is my safe place.
This is where I tell you about the funny things that happen, where I show you new art, tell you about my family and sometimes, but rarely, bare my soul.
That's what has made this so hard....it's one of those soul baring posts because my dear friend, Tina, went to meet her Lord this past Sunday, January 3rd.
What that means to me is that she's not here any more.
She's not here to talk to on the phone, to email, to play "soldering", to enjoy the adventure of the Paper Cowgirl art retreat that she founded with Cindy Mayfield.
All of that is the selfish part of me.
The unselfish part of me, the part of me that drowns in sorrow, will tell you that she has left behind an amazing husband, amazing kids, grandbabies and friends.
Her husband, Will, "Silly Will" to me, gave me the endearing(?) nickname recently, "Nine Toes", telling me that it was my Indian name. "That's silly, Will!"
I've seen Will and Tina together more than once and I know deep in my heart that he simply adored her. He was Mr. World Federation Cancer Fighter during her fight, researching, Googling, putting her on a homeopathic diet (she called him "the Food Police"), doing everything that he could to make her better.
They were married for 27 years and now she's gone on before him and he's sad that she's not here with him.
He has an amazing faith, thank you, God, for his faith in you, or I don't know how he'd get through this.
Also mourning her passing are her children, Nicole and Deke, both so very special to her.
When Deke was counting the days he would be coming home from the war, she was counting them, too, and telling anyone that would listen that her Deke was coming home! Oh, how she had missed him, loved him.
Oh, and, she loved Nicole as only a mother can love a daughter!
She has also left behind her darling "grandbabies". She doted on those girls. She would have them stay with her and Will and they would play "art" and would just enjoy being together.
How do you explain grandma going to Heaven to wee ones in a way that they understand?
And, the friends from her world of Harley's, the friends that she loved going on Harley road trips with - they will surely miss her sweet nature.
One day she and Will and another couple rode their Harley's to the ranch. They were on a road trip in the Hill Country and she knew where I lived - very close to where they would be riding. So, she calls and we make plans for them to come by and go to lunch.
That was the first time we met in person. Oh, my gosh, you would have thought that we had lived next door for years...........once we started talking we couldn't stop! Poor Will and Frank - thank goodness they really liked each other. But that poor other couple...I can't remember their names right now, but both were so nice. I hope they didn't leave feeling left out!
It was at that point, that 'in person' visit, that Tina and I really clicked. Just think, a Harley made us complete. Who would'a thought?
And, this tribute wouldn't be complete without mentioning her art. She had a gift from God for creating and teaching. I have many pieces that she made that I bought from Paper Cowgirl Art Retreat Vendor's Nights, several pieces that she made "for me", and one extremely precious necklace that she made for me last March for my "half-birthday" (celebrating my half-birthday cracked her up).
She was always gifting her friends. That's who she was.
The mixed media art world will surely miss her.
There are hundreds that she touched in some way. And, there are so many from the blog world, mixed media art world, facebook, places that I'm not thinking of, that she touched that didn't even know her.
The saddest part of Tina's death is when I think of all of the people, hundreds of people, that are reading blog posts about her, facebook messages about her - there are SO many, and they/you don't understand Tina's passing the way that a believer does because you aren't a Christian.
You don't understand what I mean when I say that I look forward to seeing her again, sitting at the feet of Jesus. You don't understand Will's faith that will get him through this horror on earth; nor do you understand the peace I feel because I know that God has healed her.
But, she died, you say.
No. Her body died. She lives on in Heaven. It gives me great peace and joy to know that she is with Jesus.
If you are someone that doesn't understand any or some of this, if you've got questions about Christianity, anything, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll answer your questions. And if I don't have the answer, I'll find it.
And remember, there are no stupid questions. Never.
Tina would want you to ask questions.
On her facebook page it says, "Jesus Christ is my Savior. Who's yours?"
That's my "tribute" to Tina. I hope it made sense to you. I hope you were able to see into my heart and know what I was trying to say with words that seem so inadequate.
I loved her dearly. Still do. And until Jesus takes me to Heaven, I'll miss being with her, but I'll keep her memory in my heart every......single.....day.
God bless you, my sweet readers, know that I'm back and know that I love you,
Can I say one more thing? I think Tina would like it if I mentioned this thought that I can't get out of my mind. . . . .Don't wait until it's too late to tell someone how much they mean to you, how much someone has touched your life, no matter how small, to tell someone that you love them. Don't keep those kind of thoughts to yourself - share them with those involved, preferably in writing so that they can have that tangible piece of you for all times.
It's important. Tina would tell you that and it's what I'm going to be doing this year. If I love you, you're going to know it, if you have touched my life in a positive way, you're going to know it. I think that if we all did that for each other that we would all have higher self esteem, we would have higher self worth and we would all be a better person because of it.
Oh, and one more wee little thing.....if you don't have something nice to say about someone, don't say it. And remember that everyone is fighting some kind of battle so always be kinder than necessary. (I promise that's all:)
God bless you all.