Thursday, January 21, 2010

See ya later, Tony...



Our good friend, Tony, passed away last night after a long struggle with multiple health problems. He fought valiantly and with good grace. As much as I hate for him to have gone on, I hated more for him to have had to suffer any more.



The first time I met Tony was at Hunan's at an after work de-briefing (a.k.a. having a drink and venting profusely) with his wife, Barbara, and others from the O.R. where Barbara and I had just started to work. Barbara and I were young and idealistic. I was full of piss and vinegar. She was full of grace. We became fast friends, an unmatched team. Our love for the O.R. brought us to a theater of many triumphs and tragedies. We could work wordlessly with intense focus and efficiency. We laughed... a lot. Tony may have come to rue the day we became best buds at times. But, he was always there with his good humor, wit and "discussions". Lord, I loved a good and, particularly, controversial conversation.

Through the thirty plus years, we shared a lot of seasons... lots of fun vacations... lots of bread broken... coffee drank... miles run... choices made... rivers rafted... slopes skied... concerns shared... all with love. Tony taught me to ski (no task for the feint of heart). He loved everything I ever cooked. But, the greatest thing I have to be grateful for was a deed he shares with Barbara...

I had turned my back on God a few years before meeting this couple. Today, I read a quote on a blog (sorry, I wish I could remember which one) that says, "Our lives may be the only Bible some people ever read." Well, I read the Bible, but I had come from a harsh, hell-fire and brimstone background. Tony and Barbara showed me God's love through their unconditional love and acceptance. They lived God's love. And anyone, who knows Tony at all, knows the Grace Lecture. I finally got over the notion that I needed to earn God's love and forgiveness... a prospect I had found impossible... because it would be impossible. How do you thank a person for that? How do you thank God for giving that kind of grace and love... and for sending those people into your life that mapped a road home to Him?


I am glad we had this vacation last spring. I am glad I had a hug from Tony last Friday. I am so glad to have had the blessing of knowing him and the privilege of calling him my friend/family. Tony, I will miss you. I figure by now you have arranged a tee time with the Big Three. Can't wait to hear about it. Love, Tanna

16 comments:

RiverBend Farm said...

Noni, thanks so much for stopping by and visiting my blog. When I tuned in to your blog, I was sad to hear of the loss of your friend but glad to read that you know he is much happier now and out of pain. It's hard on those left.
The little Alexander pictured is absolutely adorable! What a huggy kid! It's nice to hear from another Texan..my sister lives in Frankston on a lake (don't know which one) but it is beautiful there.
Very nice to meet you,
Berte
Caldwell, Tx

Deb said...

I'm so sorry you lost your friend...sounds like you have wonderful memories of him....I know that will get you through all this...I've missed hearing from you....I like your new blog look

Tara said...

Howdy Noni,
That is what my sister's grandkids call her too. Thank you for visiting my blog. Nice to meet another fellow Texan.
So sorry about the loss of your sweet friend. So glad you have the wonderful memories to ease the hurt.
I will be following along and I'll be back.
Hugs,
Tara

Lauri said...

Tanna, I am so sorry for you and Amanda for the loss of such a dear friend. Your outlook on his passing, as well as his new life, is inspiring. You guys and Tony's family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Solar Powered said...

What a wonderful heartfelt tribute to what sounds like a very dear friend. What a blessing to have had such a friend. I am sorry for your loss. Thinking of you.

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Sorry for your loss. What a lovely tribute to your friend. V.

Christine said...

You wrote a perfect love letter. Your honor and parise, to your loving friend,is heart warming.

Hugs

Katherine said...

Sorry to hear of your loss Tanna. It's never easy to say good-bye. I'm glad he is no longer suffering. So glad you have so many wonderful memories of this man that I'm sure you will always hold dear to your heart.

Debbie said...

I'm crying for your loss, honey. How bittersweet. Such glorious memories you have. Hold on to them. Praying for you all.

linda said...

There's only one thing to say about this post...BEAUTIFUL!

What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful friend. We should all be so lucky to have such friendship in our lives.

I don't know who was luckier, him or you!

nanny said...

I am crying for you....I feel the love for Tony. What a wonderful person and friend. I am sorry for your loss, but like you I wouldn't want anyone to suffer!

I hope you get to speak these sweet words at his service.....a beautiful tribute.

Tammy at Tattered and Timeless said...

I feel I should say sorry for your loss but by reading that I feel you gained way more from this wonderful man than you lost. He filled your life with the love of God and brought a wonderful friendship along with it. He hasn't left you he just moved to a place he could help you more. He will always be there for you - just not physically. I envy that you found such a great friend and had so many years to cherish him.
May he feel better now and may he birdie all the holes :)
tammy

Love Being a Nonny said...

Thank you for this. I want to be the TONY in someone's life. Sorry for your loss.

California Girl said...

I lost three very close friends in 2003. They all had cancer, they died w/in five days of one another. Two of them we knew were ill as they'd fought the fight for five years. One was a complete surprise having been diagnosed 2 mos earlier and succumbing quickly to brain cancer. It was devastating.

I know what you're feeling. It is harder for those left behind because of the void the person leaves. Nobody can fill that. I feel terrible for his wife. She has to learn to live without him.

addhumorandfaith said...

What a wonderful man and, because of the influence he had in lives like yours, he'll never be forgotten. A touching tribute to such a special friend.

Terri Smith said...

Oh my goodness..what a lovely tribute to an even lovelier friendship. Brought tears to my eyes. Thank you Tanna for sharing this heartfelt story. I personally will remember it always.

Blessings to you sweet lady, Terri

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