Thursday I went to my friend's wake; Friday I went to her funeral. The two days prior I did my normal routine, like it hadn't happened, like Tammy was still alive – I had to in order to keep from thinking about it. I hadn't really cried before Thursday. Not because of some macho “men don't cry” bullshit attitude, but because I think I was still in denial and shock. It didn't hit me that she was gone until I saw her body in the casket; then I teared up. I went outside claiming I needed a cigarette, but what I really wanted to do was be alone for about ten minutes. When I got home is when I really lost it and wept.
I met Tammy around 2000, shortly after having moved back home to Fayetteville, NC from having been in the Athens, GA area for four years while attending college. She was amongst my core group of friends for three years. Out motley little group did almost everything together – concerts, wrestling events (as in WWE), dinner out, movies, not to mention the hours we spent playing D&D and/or video games at Tammy's house. We kind of disbanded around 2003, I had a new girlfriend who would eventually become my fiancee, Tammy was starting a new job/career in law enforcement while still working on her degree – in other words, life caused us to lose touch a bit over the years.
I truly wish I could write about her accomplishments in detail, but as I said, over the last six or seven years we lost touch a bit. I do know she finally finished her degree and eventually earned the right to carry a badge and gun as part of her law enforcement career. I do know that Tammy was the kind of person that would do whatever she set her mind to, and she accomplished much of what she set out to do.
It's been said that one of the stages of coping with something like this is anger. Well, I'm angry. She was only 33. WTF! 33?! Really?! They said it was her diabetes – something about her blood sugar dropping to low and her heart stopping in her sleep. I don't care what it was, 33 is to young to die from some silly ass disease! It's things like this that makes people question God.
Mourning over my friend's death has also been a wake up call of sorts. I hate to sound cliché, but life really is short. I hate that I lost touch with her, and so many other people, over the past few years. Thanks to things like MySpace and Facebook, keeping up with friends has become easier, but it's really not the same as getting together, even if it's just over coffee once in awhile. We get so caught up in our daily routines that sometimes we forget that there is more to life than just work-eat-sleep-rinse-repeat. God gives us friends for a reason – so that we may enjoy life, and therefor live rather than merely exist, when one of those friends ceases to be in our lives (for any reason), it leaves a hole. In the case of Tammy's passing, there's now a hole in my life that is permanent. I'm a better person for having known her, but she was a unique person and a good friend that can never be replaced, only remembered. Tammy, I miss you – I'll see you in Heaven.