in memory and giving thanks November 26, 2008

"Death cancels everything but truth"

When my mother passed away a little over two years ago, I remember having that overhwelming urge to get online…to write in my blog…to share my memories and photos and joys and pain. To show the world how amazing my mom was and how jarring and crushing losing her was.

The second time around…it's a little different. My father Jack Hardeman passed away on November 9th, 2008 from complications of lung cancer.

His death – although the prognosis for his cancer was not good from the beginning – happened quickly and was a surprise to everyone – including me. He went from being able to drive himself to the ICU in the span of 36 hours. In an ironic turn of events – that proved to be one of the greatest mindfucks (pardon the language) of my life, he was placed in the same ICU room that my mother was in before she passed away.

So…on Thanksgiving eve…after four months of chemotherapy, radiation, the ICU and 10 days in hospice – I sit here without my parents. Losing both of them in the span of two years has been nothing short of a character building exercise. I don't know where I'll go tomorrow or who I'll see…but I know that for the first time ever – at the early age of 32 -  I won't have my folks around. It's an odd feeling – that floating orphan-like tug at your heart knowing, well… you're on your own kiddo.

In typical "death brings out the best – and worst – in people", it's been an eye opening time for me. I've gained friends. I've lost a few that couldn't be there for me. People have shown their true colors. For the most part, it's been a time of great support and energy. My friends have always been my family…and it's never been truer than today.

As I sit here and read about all of the food people are cooking and plans people are making for tomorrow, I give thanks for the people in my life that have supported me. I have to say thanks to all of the people across the world that I keep in touch with via Facebook and Twitter – your thoughts and kind words cast beams of light on an otherwise very dark time.  I have also reconnected with my brother David – something I am so very grateful for. I am coming out of this time stronger, more honest, more determined and more in tune with what I want and need from my life now that it's all mine again. I will be back to blogging and cooking and taking photos, don't worry…just on my own time.

Thanks to my sweet friend Broderick for letting me use one of his photos in this post. You can see his work at


jennywenny Nov 26, 2008 10:11 am

Gosh, I’m so sorry. I’m glad you can find comfort reconnecting with your brother, I hope you have lots of loving people around you, if not physically you certainly do virtually.

Kelly Nicholas Nov 26, 2008 11:11 am

Oh, sweetheart.
Your photos and cooking and obvious love of life have been little daily inspirations for me since I stumbled upon your blog earlier this year. Try to remember that the way you touch people is something of which your parents were, and are, proud. Hang in there, and take the time; this *will* make you stronger.

Anita / Married ...with Dinner Nov 26, 2008 11:11 am

My heart goes out to you. My dad passed away less than two years ago and I still don’t feel like I am back on my feet; I can’t imagine what it would be like to go through something like it again so soon. I think there should be a special word for the kind of grief that’s piled upon an already grieving heart.
Both of my husband’s parents died within a very short timespan, too; it was excruciating to watch (and be a peripheral part of) such a loss, even though I never met his father and wasn’t particularly close with his mom.
Please let us know if there’s anything we can do to help, aside from sending you our love and strength from a distance.

Tony Clark Nov 26, 2008 12:11 pm

Tami, I have been amazed how you selflessly took care of your Father when he needed you. I’m sure that you lost much of your identity while making sure that he got to treatment, took care of his household and continued to maintain your career.
It was good to finally meet your brother and catch up with your other friends at your Father’s Memorial. By the looks of turnout, you have friends that will invite you into their holiday’s and be there for you when you need someone.
I love you and hope that our friendship continues to grow. It’s been a challenging time and we’ll get through it together.

sarah Nov 26, 2008 03:11 pm

Your posting struck a chord with me on many levels. My father died last Christmas and my mother and I (all the family that’s still living) decided we couldn’t face the turkey-and-trimmings this year. So, we’re packing up the dog and ourselves and driving to Austin to eat at a deli (Katz) that’s open 24/7 and notorious for “crusty help” but with big hearts. We figure we won’t be assaulted with Norman Rockwell sentiments that would just hurt too much right now.
We will raise our ruben sandwiches in salute of you tomorrow. You’re in my thoughts and prayers in the meantime.

Bron Nov 26, 2008 03:11 pm

Oh Tami, we are so sorry.
Wish there was more I could do or say other than to send through the letters; H U G S!

Kalyn Nov 26, 2008 04:11 pm

I’m glad you got to see the notes people wrote on Facebook and that at least you knew we were thinking about you. I can’t imagine how you are finding the strength to go through this again so soon, but I hope it helps at least a little to know that people do care!

Chris Nov 26, 2008 05:11 pm

Tami, my heart, thoughts, and prayers go out to you. I can’t imagine. You have been the pillar of strength and grace throughout all life has thrown at you. You are loved and we will be here for you in whatever capacity you need. Please remember to take care of yourself.

peabody Nov 26, 2008 09:11 pm

Tami, like I said on FB, I can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through. Two parents in the span of two years. So disheartening. I am sending you all the positive thoughts I can throw your way.

natalia Nov 26, 2008 10:11 pm

i am so very sorry.
hang in there.

barbara Nov 26, 2008 10:11 pm

Hugs to you Tami.

Maigh Nov 27, 2008 03:11 am

I’m so sorry for your losses. I said good-bye to both my parents within a two year span as well (mother after a lifetime of illness, father shortly after to sudden and aggressive cancer), and the holidays are different in a way others can’t fathom now. I’ve gone so far as to leave the country to avoid the awkward but well meaning invitations to Thanksgiving and Christmas events, but with time I’ve come to embrace the change – even if I don’t like it.
I hope that with the coming years the pain will become less and your heart will allow you to bigger and stronger waves of happiness for the years you had them and the memories created.
For me, I can, but it’s still not easy. I still want to run away.
Big hugs to you, and a rambling message to let you know that you’re not alone.

Alice Nov 28, 2008 06:11 pm

Losing a parent is so difficult – lost my mom 24 years ago, at the age I am now, and it’s scary. Just lost my dad a little over a year ago after caring for him for 6 years. The grieving and loss do not go away, they just lessen over time. Take care of yourself, that is important, and forgive the “friends” who do not deal well with death. As you said it is a character building experience, not one we necessarily seek out, but it happens nonetheless. You will be ok, good luck.

Maana Nov 29, 2008 11:11 am

I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family during this time.

Lynne Nov 29, 2008 01:11 pm

My prayers are with you in your grief. Bless you.

Shari Nov 29, 2008 08:11 pm

Thinking of you.

Fran Dec 2, 2008 11:12 am

So sorry for your losses. How heartbreaking. Glad you are back with your brother. I reconnected with my sister when we lost a parent.

Dee Dec 2, 2008 02:12 pm

Please accept my sincerest condolences. What a difficult time…

Cathy Dec 3, 2008 12:12 pm

I am so very sorry for your loss. Please let me know if I can be of any help.

tennen-parman Dec 3, 2008 05:12 pm

Hi, I am Tennen-Perman,E-mail from Japan.
I visited your site sometimes so far.
You have a cool site.
I linked your site in my blog.
I administer a blog talking about cooking.
Please link to my site in your ones if you like it.
thank you!

Hillary Dec 5, 2008 07:12 am

My condolences to you and your brother. I can’t even imagine how hard that must be. Stay strong.

french tart Dec 5, 2008 07:12 am

i am really sorry for your loss. know that you have friends in the cyber world who are thinking of you.

Lorenzo Dec 5, 2008 07:12 pm

I’m sorry, Tammy. I was 38 when I lost my second parent. It is indeed a weird feeling to have none left. I got involved in an Atlanta-based organization called Kate’s Club, which works with young children who have lost a parent. I am thankful that my parents lived as long as they did, even if it wasn’t as long as others’ parents.

Laura Dec 6, 2008 05:12 pm

I am so sorry for your loss. My dad died 5 months ago today after a long battle with cancer. The emptiness is indescribable. I hope that your holiday season is as bearable as possible and that you have a large supply of wine to help it along!

Laura Dec 6, 2008 05:12 pm

I am so sorry for your loss. My dad died 5 months ago today after a long battle with cancer. The emptiness is indescribable. I hope that your holiday season is as bearable as possible and that you have a large supply of wine to help it along!

Angela Dec 7, 2008 08:12 am

That was one of the most beautiful and real posts I have ever read. I lost all my grandparents by the age of 8- which left me scared and very cynical of life. Since then my greatest fear has been losing my parents, you certainly an inspiration of strength. Best wishes to you in the new year.

Monster Librarian Dec 8, 2008 03:12 pm

I am so so sorry to hear about your Father. I can only imagine how hard that must be. I lost my father suddenly last year and no amount of time prepares us to feel so cut off from someone!
You said that it was, nothing short of a “character building exercise,” and that is so true.
I am so sorry for you and will pray for you Friend!

NickyB Dec 10, 2008 12:12 am

If the thoughts of a stranger can comfort you, I hope mine do. Be as your parents would have wanted, full of hope, life and anticipation.

James Burney Dec 12, 2008 06:12 pm

You know what, life has a nasty way of doing things like this to people. Call it God’s will or whatever you like your still getting the shitty end of the stick regardless of how we try to paint it.
Can anyone say to you that it will become more bearable……probably, can anyone say the pain will ease… time.
What we have to remeber is there is one thing that never fades. Love.
Love knows no end, never gives in and lasts for eternity.
This has to be your strength and your guidance through the hard times.

Bea Dec 15, 2008 05:12 am

So sorry for your loss Tamy. I must say, the way you write about your recent experience is really touching. I wish you all the best, and that you are able to grow stronger, despite the sad turn of events! Good luck! Never easy…

mingaling Dec 16, 2008 12:12 pm

i’m so sorry for your loss.

Michele Dec 22, 2008 12:12 pm

My condolences go out to you and your family. Be strong.

kerrie Dec 22, 2008 02:12 pm

I read your blog often and wondered what the long absence was about. So sorry to hear of your loss. I’m 32 myself and would be lost without my mom and dad. Reading your story makes me realize how fortunate I am to have them here with me (even though there are days they drive me CRAZY) Merry Christmas, happy new year, all that stuff. Know that there are people sending you well wishes from Ontario!

Julie Dec 29, 2008 07:12 pm

I’m really sorry about your dad…I lost mine too about a week after yours. It is a weird feeling knowing you don’t have that safety net anymore (my mom passed away a long time ago). My biggest regret is I didn’t get to be there for him at the end, but I know he wouldn’t want me to wallow around in it. It still seems sort of unreal. I guess in a way it always will.

Sara Dec 30, 2008 08:12 pm

it’s been a while since i’ve been here….gosh i sure am sorry to read this post tami. i hope you are doing ok. my thoughts are with you. i am so very sorry for the loss of your parents.

megan Jan 26, 2009 02:01 pm

I can so relate to what your feeling. I lost my mom on Christmas eve (11 yrs ago)and my dad 5 months later. I was only 37. The feeling of being orphaned and not having anyone there. The two people that were always on your side. I agree, friends are our family and can be there for us better then a sibling ever could. I’m glad you found your brother and I’m so very sorry for your loss.

Mila Jan 29, 2009 10:01 pm

I’m so sorry to heat about your misfortune. My mother passed away 6 years ago and I too found that blogging about some of my memories of her helps heal me. God bless…

Broderick Jun 19, 2011 07:06 pm

I’m really lucky that I still have my father with me and it’s not something I take for granted. *big hugs* from me on this Father’s Day!