Do You Know that “Life is Good” No Matter What? Saying it with Sunflowers

Life is Good. That’s what Tina Downey taught me.

I don’t know when she stopped being just a blog friend, and became a friend. Sister in Spirit, SIS.

You can read more about her public persona here.

But she told me of her private struggles, and knowing of those, of just how many challenges she had overcome in life– I marveled at her smile, her laugh-out-loud-bring-it-on spirit towards everything life threw at her.

We sent each other snapshots of our everyday surroundings and errands, between Singapore and Colorado, and when I sent her this one last year (of the swimming pool I swim laps at), she immediately said, I have to come to Singapore before I die and swim there, and I said don’t be stupid, of course you’ll come.

Yesterday when I took snapshots of the pool with my sunflower, I thought I heard her infectious laughter, her teasing, half-joking-bossy voice.

I swam a few laps this morning, and with each stroke of my arms, I told myself, life is good. Today, this moment, Now, life is good.

Tina hasn’t left us. She’s somewhere around, watching, smiling, sending out snarky reminders, laughing and crying in the same sentence.

And though each time I look at her emails or messages or read another of her blog posts, I feel the tears coming– I see that Tina would have laughed at me, and said, I’m around, Damyanti, what are you crying about? Don’t you see there’s a lesson in this?

Tina always found a lesson in everything, no matter how sad, or senseless it seemed. And the lesson always was a version of: Life is Good– see it with the eyes of faith, acceptance, and gratefulness.

If you knew Tina, please take part in this Sunflowers Blogfest for her.

 If you didn’t know her, take part anyway– celebrate Today, This Day, Now, in memory of a fabulous woman who found it in herself to Smile, no matter what.


(Tina’s family has set up the Downey Education Fund for Tina’s sons, if you’d like to donate, the way some of us have done, here’s the link. If you want the code for a badge on your own blog, drop me a line at atozstories at gmail dot com)

SIS, you’ll live on in my heart– for as long as I’m given on this earth.
For the coming week, this blog’s header would remain a field of sunflowers. For Tina, who loved Sunflowers.

I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet me up @damyantig !

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Add Yours
  1. Lisa

    I'm so glad she's living on in your life, that you find joy in her memory and words and all that she left us to remember her by. I didn't know her as long as you, but I cherish the time I did have with her. Such a lovely tribute to a wonderful friend…

  2. Jo

    A wonderful woman. She will be missed by all of us and remembered forever.

    I wouldn't mind visiting that pool either LOL


    And she would have loved seeing her work published with you, and so many others who cared about her, as a lasting reminder of how life, no matter how tough and ragged around the edges it may be, can still offer something good…xoxo

  4. Rhonda Albom

    Your tribute made me cry and smile all at the same time. It's really beautiful. I didn't know her well. Sorry you lost such a close friend.

  5. Sue McPeak

    Very moving and thoughtful tribute to Tina. How special that you became close in your sisterhood. I imagine that she benefitted and treasured your relationship as much as you. Wonderful memories and lovely images. My heartfelt sympathies to you and all whose paths she graced…including mine.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

  6. Nicole

    Your photo of the sunflower by the pool is a refreshing and uplifting image that reminds me of how Tina had that ability to lift people up in good times and hard times. She was a great woman and yes she is still all around us. What a thoughtful tribute!


  7. Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Damyanti .. I know Tina wanted to join you in Singapore and just thought she might get there … she was always looking forward to your chats … and appreciated your professionalism re the A-Z .. and encouragement if she ever had a challenge … I honestly can't see that ever really happened, but we do hit low spots at times … and then the encouragement we had amongst each other was so helpful … she is just someone I don't think I'll ever forget – she inspired me .. cheers Hilary

  8. Michelle Stanley

    Your beautiful tribute to Tina really moved me. I was not as close to Tina as you were, but nevertheless, her encouragement and love for others did make an impact on me. Life is really good and I count my blessings daily.

  9. Elise Fallson

    I'm making a conscious effort to remind myself every day that life is good. I know it's not always going to be easy but I think it's important to try. Hugs to you Damyanti. Life is Good.

  10. Shilpa Garg

    This is such a beautiful tribute to Tina! They say, to live in hearts we leave behind is not to die… Tina lives on as the warm glow in your heart! Hugs!

  11. S. L. Hennessy

    This tribute to her made me a little watery myself. I think it would have meant the world to her, all you've done to honor her memory. She was a wonderful woman, and we will never forget her. Life is good, Tina. Life is good.