|Posted on August 17, 2017 at 1:15 PM|
The day is May 11th, 2017. I’m in bed early, having been pretty tired that day.
My daughter, Tammy, who works third shift will be getting up around 8:30 p.m. I’m reading a book to stay away so I can spend a few minutes with Tammy while she’s getting ready for work. We teach Sunday school together and often talk about what craft we need to prepare, who’s going to do what, etc.
It’s 8:45 p.m. and I have not heard Tammy’s door open yet. I wait another five minutes and then decide she must have forgotten to turn on her alarm. I get up to wake her. As I walk into her room and turn on the light, I can see that she is completely undercover, from head to foot. Her fan is going which she uses to block out the noise.
As I approach her bed I can hear her alarm clock but it’s muted. I shake her leg and tell her it’s time to get up while searching for her alarm clock. I find it between her bed and nightstand. That’s odd.
I turn it off and then pull the covers off of her head. What I see has caused me countless sleepless nights trying to get the image out of my mind.
She has a sleeping mask on covering her eyes, but I know what I’m going to see when I take it off. She is having a seizure but she’s not making any noise like she normally does when she’s having a seizure. I whip the mask off and her eyes are open but they don’t look right. I wipe the foam off of her face coming from her mouth and notice her skin doesn’t look right. The color is wrong.
Her arms are both folded up towards her chest and her hands are closed tightly in fists. This is normal during a seizure, but her fingernails don’t look right. Something is wrong.
I’m talking to her like I always do when she has a seizure but my heart is beginning to pound and I’m beginning to feel panicked. Then it hits me like a ton of bricks. My world is turned upside down and inside out.
This is undoubtedly the worst day of my life! Tammy died during a seizure and I wasn’t there for her.
But I know that Jesus was with her. She loved Jesus more than anyone or anything in this world.
Tammy began serving at church at a young age of around seven. She and her sister, Angel, would help set up and take down the chairs in Children’s Ministry every Wednesday and Sunday. As soon as she was old enough to join the media team, she did. When the church started a children’s choir to minister to the elderly at Nursing Homes, she volunteered. She never missed a practice nor an event.
As soon as she was old enough, she became my assistant teaching Children’s Ministry class of 1st grade through 6th and when she graduated from High School she became my assistant in Youth Ministry.
It wasn’t long before she became a head teacher herself in Children’s Ministry. And then I had the awesome privilege to become her assistant for the past two years teaching 2-5-year-olds. She was such an awesome teacher.
It’s been just over three months and I still have days when I hurt so bad it’s almost unbearable. I’ll see a picture or something will remind me of Tammy and my heart flutters and then sadness tries to overtake me. Through all of the pain I’ve been through in my life, nothing compares to this. I never understood depression before this. I refuse to allow it to take over, but at least I can now understand how one can check out of this life and let depression take over. It’s not the answer though, and I know that.
I will remain strong. I’ve directed my energy into a memorial garden for Tammy. While I’ve been battling with Graves Disease (yes, it came back and I’m back on medicine), Tammy decided to build me a confidence course to exercise on. Her seizures and ultimate death prevented her from finishing it. I’ve now turned it into her memorial garden.
She loved taking me on vacations doing wild cave tours and hiking. So, I built a cave at the end of the garden to sit in and reflect. I will remember all of the good times. I will reflect on what an awesome example of a Christian she was. And I will reflect on my faith, that has not been shaken.
When all is said and done, it is well with my soul.
If you have an opportunity to support an Epilepsy Foundation in your area, please consider it. Epilepsy is very hard on the individual and their family members. Visit https://www.facebook.com/whipepilepsy/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Tammy’s Monitors Facebook page to find out more.