Tami Boehmer: A Light Still Shines
I awoke this morning to the news that Tami Boehmer has died. I feel heart-sick and shocked at the news. I have been worried about Tami for several weeks as she had stopped blogging, and my emails to her went unanswered. I’ve just gone back to read her last blog post in September and right to the end, Tami maintained hope in the face of devastation. That hope carried Tami through her diagnosis of a cancer recurrence in 2008, right up to the present day. That’s not to say she didn’t have dark days as her last blog post demonstrated.
“What people really don’t realize is there is strength in feeling your feelings. And with my dire situation now, it’s not an easy thing. Sooner or later, they have to come out, which is what happened this weekend. It all started Saturday morning with a comment from our daughter about how she could see Mike and me as a cute, old couple. I don’t know if she was testing the waters with me, but I felt I must prepare her in some way. So I said, “I’m not sure I will make it to be an old lady, but we remain hopeful about this new trial and I’m doing everything I can to stick around as long as I can”.
Tami’s love for her daughter, Chrissy, and her husband Mike, shone through everything she wrote and was clear for all to see in the pictures and posts she shared on her Facebook page. Over the years – and I’ve known Tami since I first started blogging back in 2009 – I’ve watched as she spread her positive messages of hope and compassion to others. As we know, there can be a backlash against the message of “positivity” in the cancer blogosphere – but for me, Tami was never Pollyanna-ish in how she wrote or spoke about her experience. Yes, she shared a positive message – that’s there always hope; but she was realistic too. This was her truth and she shared it with others in the hope that they could find a light in the darkness.
Several people have told me lately I’m brave or that I’m a hero. I really don’t get it; and I’m not being falsely modest. What choice do I have, really? Before I had stage IV cancer, I remember telling a friend going through it that I didn’t think I would be strong enough to face a diagnosis like she was. She told me I would be, and she was right. As Eleanor Roosevelt says, “A woman is like a tea bag. She never knows how strong she is until she’s put in hot water.
Tami’s light still shines for me and for countless others. I will miss her voice in the blogosphere dreadfully. My heart aches for Mike and Chrissy who have lost a loving and wonderful wife and mother. This horrible disease has stolen another beautiful woman from our lives and we are all the poorer for it.