Remembering Tawanna

bridge                                                                                                        Photo credit sevennine Marc Hodges

It has taken me a few days to get my thoughts together on how I want to do this post.  Our family had a dear cousin to pass away unexpectedly, about two weeks ago.  She was in a car accident.  She was taken to the nearest trauma hospital, where she fought to live.  But then, God had other plans.  One of my favorite reminders right now is this:

God’s power to restore is stronger than Satan’s power to destroy.

One of my favorite scriptures is

Job 2:10  Shall we accept good from God & shall we not accept adversity?

We accepted the precious time with her that God gave us.  We must learn to accept the finality of her being gone.   With these things in mind, I wanted to write a post in hopes to pay tribute to a wonderful soul.

The first memories I have of her are when I was about 13-14 years old.  She is a cousin by marriage.  At the time, though, it was at a friend’s house that I became acquainted with her.  The first time I saw her, she was sitting at their kitchen bar, smoking a cigarette (which was the norm in our world back then) talking, & laughing.  There was a little blond headed girl, of hers, that was running around the house.  It would not take long to know she doted on that pretty little lass.  She was funny, outspoken, & always a work of art to be around.  In the next few years, she became more of a shining beacon in my life.  While I was in my teen years, I spent a lot of time with her.  Even though she was 7 years older than me, we never really noticed.  She was always there with a listening ear.  I had my fair share of boyfriend problems (like any teenage girl).  She was there to listen & to plot their demise.  It was also a delicate time for me with my family, as well.  This was the same time my mama was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  Anything that my dear friend ran across, about this unknowing disease, she would pass along to me.  She would always write notes on the news articles, letting me know, no matter what, I was loved.

I will never forget her helping me one time, get ready for prom.  My mama was in the hospital.  I was telling her how I did not know what I was going to do.  I had never been to the prom before.  I had a dress, but that was as far as I had gotten.  She put her arm around me & told me not to worry, that we would take care of it.  The day of the prom, she did my make-up, my hair, my nails, & made sure I looked presentable for the occasion.  It wasn’t so much the make-up on my face or hairspray in my hair that I remember.  It was how I felt.  She made me feel like I was important, loved, & cared for.   She always had a way of making others just feel that way.  I remember her husband coming home from work & of course being so sweet. Making over me before he turned all his attention to the little blonde haired girl.    I don’t really ever recall my friend saying she wanted to be embedded in people’s minds.  But she was.  She was the kind of person that makes marks on people’s lives.  An unconscious unspoken effort to make you feel loved & to remember Tawanna had been there.  And you did & we have.

She was crazy about her daughter.  I remember one summer, I wanted to take her to the park to play. My friend thought that was a lovely idea.  First, though, I had to prove I was a fit driver.  With my friend in the passenger seat, I made several trips around town, cautiously attending to all laws of the road.  After that day, she deemed me worthy to transport her little darling.  To the park I went with the little blonde headed girl!

My friend was always happy & smiling.  And when she wasn’t happy & smiling, well, you knew the why, who, what, & when of all of it.  She wasn’t much to hold back.  She never tried to be something she wasn’t.  She had a light heartedness about her.  Someone you don’t easily forget.  She had her own ways of thinking.  She did not look at things in the same way that most of us do.  She was different.  How boring would the world be if we were all alike?  She was educated.  She held a degree from the University of Mississippi.  That was nothing to brush to the side.  She had a brilliant mind.  She was adventurous & gypsy at heart.  There is a whole other story of who she was, if my husband were to be writing this.  Growing up, she was his best friend.  He knew the intents of her heart.  They were good.  Sometimes.  From what I am told, together, they were a force to be reckoned with.  In her defense, his intentions were not always good either!  As they got older, it did not matter how long in between times he had seen or talked to her.  When they met back up, it was like they picked right up where they left off.  Kindred spirits.

It may seem cliché that this song written by Paul Simon came to mind with the passing of her from this life.  She was too young to go.  Only 48 years old.  She was a beautiful & loyal friend to many.   I read through this song & it seemed fitting.  We all need a bridge over troubled water, from time to time.  It’s part of our walk here.  Even still, some things about her life may have not been so pretty.  She had her struggles.  Don’t we all?  Sometimes life is hard for no reason at all.  I have found in life, you can dwell on the good or the bad.  I choose good.  In her true form, she was exceptionally good.  When you read over these lines, take a minute to let the words sink in.

Bridge Over Troubled Water

When you’re weary, feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all

I’m on your side
Oh when times get rough
And friends just can’t be found

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard, I will comfort you

I’ll take your part
Oh, when darkness comes
And pain is all around

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind

Sail on silver girl, sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
See how they shine

Oh, if you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind

Songwriter
SIMON, PAUL

Knowing Tawanna was like being on a ride.  Sometimes it was tumultuous & scary.  Sometimes it was laughing from your belly, having the time of your lives.  Sometimes it was wondering what was coming up next.  But no matter what, at the end of the day I always knew she loved me & her family.  Even though the ride was full of twists, turns & jolts of lightning, we can all say we were better for having bought a ticket.

Sweet blonde headed girl- I read something in one of your Facebook posts that hit home with me.  You were telling people what they could do to honor your mother.  You said,

“Words mean a lot to me.” 

That statement was a defining moment for me.  Words mean a lot to me, too.  That’s why I get so up in the air, disgruntled when people use them loosely.  I have a big tendency to take things to heart.  I know you do, too.  If I hear words, good or bad, whether they are said with meaning or not, that’s a big deal to me.  I take words very seriously.  I hope as you have read this, you know I mean these words.  I loved your mama.  She always held a special place in my heart & always will.

Thank you for stopping by today & helping me pay respects to our cousin.  I had the blonde headed girl read this before I posted it.  She told me something that made my heart happy.  She said her mama did not get to go to her own prom , because she was expecting her.  I am so thankful I got to spend that time with her fixing me up for my prom.  It just makes it more special.  I pray you have a blessed day.  If you get a chance, please say a prayer for our cousin’s daughter & family.    I know they all would be grateful.  I have to be going now, because I should be washing clothes.

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