My wife, Tanya, was an event coordinator/planner for an organization called Coaches Outreach. Tanya was the person who handled all the logistics for the company’s six summer marriage conferences for high school coaching couples. This meant that she traveled every Thursday-Sunday for six consecutive weeks in the summer to be onsite for these important conferences that strengthen many couples’ marriages and in many cases save marriages. Coaches, like those of you in public assembly venues, work incredibly long hours, often to the detriment of healthy family relationships.
Tanya would have left yesterday to travel to T Bar M in New Braunfels, Texas, for a conference that begins this afternoon and runs through Sunday. She lived for these conferences despite the grueling hours and frequent travel. She got to renew many acquaintances with coaching couples and when she met first-time attendees she treated those people as if she had known them her entire life.
Tanya would have been an incredible event coordinator for you. Still, she was fulfilled working in a ministry for high school coaches and in a very small office of five. She had no assistants or others to help her carry out making sure food was hot and ready, that rooms were ready, that the A/V was working, that all registrations had been handled. She did this with incredible style and grace.
I received a phone call this morning on my cell phone from a coach who asked for Tanya regarding this weekend’s conference. As several of you know, Tanya passed away more than two years ago at age 48 during an angiogram day surgery procedure. She went in for the procedure and within two hours I was removing her from life support after a coronary dissection sent her blood flow off.
The phone call this morning jolted me — paralyzed me — as I answered and told the coach that Tanya was deceased. He still had her number to call and sounded very distressed at having called me. I assured him it was OK but he continued apologizing over and over. I further assured him that Tanya was watching over this weekend’s marriage conference. I just know she is. He continued apologizing.
We hung up and I took a deep breath. I had not thought much about this weekend’s Coaches Outreach marriage conference, but now it was the only thing on my mind. At this very moment Tanya would have been meeting with resort staff going over all logistics before attendees began registering in this afternoon. I attended one conference with her every summer and got to watch my angel in action. She was incredible. She is incredible.
I continue doing my best to move forward in life. We were taught in Grief Share class that those who tell you that your departed spouse (and those same people offering you advice) would want you to “move on” are terribly incorrect with those words. Indeed, we move FORWARD, we do not move ON. You do not move on from losing someone you shared life with for almost 25 years. You do attempt your very best to move forward.
IAVM has helped me move forward. You have helped me move forward. You have helped me to know better the event planning and event coordinating I need to do in my own life.
Treasure your relationships, whether it is with your spouse, partner, family, friends, anyone. I am grateful that Tanya was placed in my life to love for as long as we were together. Don’t get bogged down or frustrated by the “day-to-day” in your relationships. Those are inevitable. Just know that any day could literally be the last you have with that person you love the most. Treat that day as such.
I realize this blog does not help you run your business or your venue any better, but I decided to take a little editorial license by sharing these thoughts, personal as they are. If you ever find yourself in need of talking to someone about a loss, I am always here for you, just as so many of you have been for me throughout the years.