Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My Beautiful Cousin

Monday, November 1, 2010

I had an interesting and meaningful experience this morning. It is a little outside my normal blog feel, so I’m posting separately. But it meant a lot to me and I wanted to share.

As a child, I looked up to my older cousin Tammy. In a big family, she was the oldest girl and hung out with all the older boys. There were 13 of us cousins and growing up we spent a lot of time together on my grandparent’s farm. We were so blessed to have that time together. I remember idolizing Tammy when I was in elementary school…she was probably in high school around that time. I thought she was so beautiful. I caught the bouquet at her wedding to handsome Mike. She was radiant that day.

Several years later, Tammy was attacked at her job. I was somewhat young and wasn’t let in on the details, but I know it wasn’t good. From that point on, she was never able to pull out of the spiral that began. She was in unsuccessful therapy, on too many pills and lived with her enabling mother. She lost her husband, her job, her friends, and her happiness. She was terribly obese. At our family get-togethers, she would eat and eat and eat. It was devastating to watch. I understand now that Tammy always had an eating problem…just like everyone else in my family, including me. I honestly believe some of it is hereditary. We all have weight issues, although some have a better handle on it than others. She had just gotten to the point where she couldn’t or didn’t want (or didn’t have the energy) to control it. Several years ago, Tammy passed away in her sleep. I’m not sure if they every actually figured out the true cause. But in my heart, Tammy just gave up on life.

This morning, I was dreaming about Tammy. I was having a conversation with her and her two sisters (sisters that do not exist in reality and I’m not sure what/who they symbolize). I don’t really remember that conversation, but I do know that it was a positive and happy one. Still in the dream, I called my mom. I told her about the conversation and although she didn’t mention the sisters she did remind me that Tammy had died so it couldn’t have been her. I told her that I forgot Tammy had died, but I KNEW it was her. Of that I was sure. The conversation ended.

Still in the dream, I was standing at a bathroom mirror. I laid my hands flat on the counter and bowed my head. I said to Tammy that I know it was you and I know you are here with me now. I asked her to give me a sign that she was with me. I looked up into the mirror with my hands firmly on the counter. My reflection was there pointing straight at me. It startled me, but then my body became warm and I started to wake up. Before I completely let go, I told her that “I knew it.”

Whether I believe that Tammy’s spirit was truly with me or whether I believe it was simply a dream is irrelevant. I know that Tammy would be behind me and appreciate what I am doing to change my life. It also helps reaffirm what I am fighting for. Although I am not Tammy, I do think that we share many similarities. I could very easily follow her path. But I’m choosing something different. I’m forging my own way and I WILL be successful. I love you Tammy and I promise that you will always be in my heart.

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