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Walking with Tina– Do You Believe Life is Good?

Sunflowers for Tina

Sunflowers for Tina

For the coming week, Daily (w)rite ‘s header would remain a field of sunflowers, in honor of Tina Downey, my friend, fellow blogger, and Sister in Spirit.

Today, on the 8th of September, the blogging world is coming together to celebrate Tina’s life, and all that she stood for– beauty, brightness, good cheer in the face of all kinds of odds. This is the Sunflower Blogfest, folks, for a woman who adored sunflowers. Sign up if you haven’t already.

If you knew Tina, send her a tribute. If you didn’t know her, celebrate anyway– because joy needs to be celebrated now, today, every moment. Tina embodied that spirit of Taking joy in small things, and smiling through suffering.

For as long as I’ve known her, she’s struggled with her health– and she has never let that stand in the way of life, family, church, friendships, blogging, creative writing, or gardening– she did it all with a snark and a ready smile.

Tina and I spoke often, and every once in a while we spoke of visiting each other. I’ve never been to the USA and she’d never been to Singapore– so between Colorado and Singapore, we exchanged snapshots and dreams.

Tina Downey's Sunflower in SIngapore

In Singapore, with Tina Downey

I know that I still want to visit the United States, and if I do, I would like to spend an hour beside a field of sunflowers, soaking in the sun, remembering Tina’s voice, the one that always sounded so happy to hear mine– even on the days she had a hard time breathing.

I wrote about Tina and my swimming pool in my other blog, and on this one, I have this to say: Never ever postpone a plan to meet friends or family. I had planned a trip to surprise Tina this year.

But instead, I have this photo above, of my sunflower.

This is the view from my balcony, the view we would have shared, had Tina visited me, like she’d talked about doing, so many times.

I could have had other photos, different ones, had I made it to Colorado last year.

But I shall not shed tears.

“When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.” ~Khalil Gibran

Until we meet again, dear Tina. Life is always Good, and I believe it, in part, because of you.

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

Donate to the Downey Education Fund

Donate to the Downey Education Fund

Would you all celebrate Tina with us?

Do you believe, the way I do, that no matter what, Life is Good?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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44 Comments

  • Another lovely tribute. Agreed. Never postpone a trip. Tina and I kept postponing our trips to meet each other, much shorter trips. And we never met, despite living only a couple hours away from each other.

  • Chrys Fey says:

    What a beautiful tribute! Life is full of hardships and pain, but I do believe the good far outweighs the bad. So yes…LIFE IS GOOD! 😀

  • Is life good–that’s such a personal word. To me–yes, life is nice whether good or bad. I wonder how most people would define ‘good’.

  • Nandie says:

    I don’t know Tina, but I think it’s wonderful you were able to connect through blogging and enrich each other’s lives for the time that you did. I also made great friends through blogging. And the poem you posted is beautiful.

    All the best,

    Nandie

  • Hilary says:

    Hi Damyanti … she was a treasure and you obviously shared many memories with Tina .. those extra ones of working together .. apologies for being so late here .. but Tina will be happy with all her posts and comments … she was much loved … and your time with the sunflowers when it comes will bring your heart to your eyes … for some wee watering … with thoughts – Hilary PS I love your rainbow countered sunflower!!

  • And Yes, I do believe that Life is good, thanks to Tina.

  • Singapore! I never got to meet Tina either, but I think she would have fitted in well — I live in Sweden, so the language would not have been a problem for her.
    Lovely tribute.
    I miss her, even though I never got to meet her.
    Best wishes,
    Anna

  • SandysJar says:

    Life is good!

  • I too lost a dear friend this year: Nat Tilander. He was a highly intelligent but modest man, a scientist and musician and wonderful father and husband. One of those special beings. I feel angered and sad that he was taken so soon and how his family deals with such a loss is beyond me. So each of your posts on Tina reminds me of gentle, lovable Nat.

  • She will always be with us.
    Thank you,
    Heather

  • cleemckenzie says:

    Another blog with good words for a good person.

  • I have heard nothing but good things about Tina since her passing. She will be a great loss to her family and friends and my thoughts go out to them. I didn’t know her but I hope she’s resting peacefully x

  • God bless Tina’s soul. It’s incredible how she valiantly fought against illness. Heart warming tribute to her.

  • Birgit says:

    What a touching tribute to your friend and what a shame that you did not physically meet. You were, from all accounts great friends and few have this even when they live in close proximity. I never met this brave lady but i agree that life is good no matter what is thrown at you and you must embrace each moment and cherish it

  • The words of that poem fit perfectly…
    Thank you for sharing… <3

  • Your blog bit was excellent!

    I didn’t know Tina, never even exchanged a “comment” with her (that I know of), but I have been through Colorado. (Some of her Sunflower attitude was probably absorbed by me then.)

    I KNOW that “God is Love” (it sez so twice in The Holy Bible – see the First Epistle of John, or “1st John”), and God knows how to save the beings that He created from His Love.

    Tina’s fine. Better than ever, in fact.

    Excellent tribute to one who now sees the Face of God.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

  • ccyager says:

    My condolences to you for the loss of your friend. Loss is a part of life, and while it’s not something we ordinarily think of celebrating, we do celebrate it when we celebrate life. I’m sorry you never had the chance to meet her in person. So glad that you had/have the friendship to celebrate now.

  • Your blog bit was excellent!

    I didn’t know Tina, never even exchanged a “comment” with her (that I know of), but I have been through Colorado. (Some of her Sunflower attitude was probably absorbed by me then.)

    I KNOW that “God is Love” (it sez so twice in The Holy Bible – see the First Epistle of John, or “1st John”), and God knows how to keep the beings that He created from His Love.

    Tina’s fine. Better than ever, in fact.

    Excellent tribute to one who now sees the Face of God.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

  • Nicole says:

    Those connections through photos across the seas are a nice way to keep in touch with those who are far away in distance. You are right that Joy needs to be celebrated everyday. Unfortunately, I have postponed many plans to visit family and friends so many times including a trip of my own to visit Tina in Colorado and that is a trip that I now regret postponing. I had just believe that there would be time to make it and as always, we tend to think that we have more time to spend with those we care about when we really never know because each moment isn’t promised.

    Yes, I am celebrating Tina today with a bundle of sunflowers. I am lucky to have known her.

    Oh Damyanti how I wish I could tell you that I believe life is good no matter what. What I do believe is that life is a challenge. Every day and every moment brings new experiences and opportunities to learn while we have the power to choose whether to make the best or worse of those moments. There are moments when I believe that life is good. There are moments when I believe that life is an endless struggle. There are moments when I believe that life is a game. There are moments when I am on a constant search for something good, to believe in. These moments vary with each one that passes. That is why I believe life is a challenge to figure out how to find the light and remain there in the midst of all of the shadows.

    Tina was a wonderful source of light. May she always be remembered as her spirit glows in the rays of sunshine.

  • I like both your tributes, and made note of your great advice… Take time to visit loved ones and let them know how much they mean to you. That’s so true.

  • Sherry Ellis says:

    Tina would love that picture! I’m sure she’s smiling from heaven looking at it!

  • jlennidorner says:

    Not postponing – that’s a good lesson. Beautiful tribute.

  • And today she shines with in all of us through your heartfelt words

  • I still can’t believe she’s gone. I was one of her team members for one of the Blogging from A to Z challenges. So sad.

  • Life really is good. Tina reminds us of that, and this tribute to her, spreading across the blogging world, reminds us of that. I think this would have made her smile.

  • We all were close, though we never met… talking, texting and emails. Tina is awesome. thank you.

  • Indywrites says:

    It is a fitting tribute to Tina, Your post nudged me into action and I got my post on time. Thank you. The poem is so sweet. Here is the link to my post. Thanks once again.
    http://inderpreetkaur.blogspot.in/2014/09/the-sunflowers-forever-bloom-tina.html

  • Elise Fallson says:

    What a touching tribute, wish you both could have visited each other in person. I wish we all could have had more time…. But you’re right, never ever postpone a plan to meet friends or family becuase sometimes life is good, and sometimes it’s just too damn unpredictable.

  • mudpilewood says:

    What a lovely tribute. She sounds like she made the most out of every minute.

  • Ravish Mani says:

    Damyanti, life is neither good nor bad. It is us who are good or bad. May Tina enjoy sunflower wherever she is!

  • uniqusatya says:

    Agree with you completely Damyanti….So sorry to miss such a nice person from the Blogging fraternity.
    I hope you find this interesting as i had writen it in a similar situation.
    http://uniqusatya.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/time/

  • Athenas Take says:

    The Sunflower and the tribute surely let us know how much you value Tina in your life.

  • neelkanth says:

    Khalil Gibran is quoted so nicely and relevantly.

  • rhonda albom says:

    Beautiful tribute and I love your sunflower. I know Tina would too.

  • Beautiful…I love your sunflower!

  • the poem is soulful!!

  • namitasunder says:

    Beautiful tribute….Yes. Life is good, may what come. Let us celebrate life. spirit of Tina.

  • It’s September 8 here already, but I have scheduled the post 🙂

  • Sammy D. says:

    Damyanti – i know how much Tina cherished her friendship with you. I’m just sure she’s rounding up the angels for a heavenly blog community, her halo slightly askew as always ???

  • Arlee Bird says:

    Beautiful tribute to one who was a good friend to us on the A to Z Team as well as so many others.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

  • That is so very touching, Damy. Sorry you never met in person, but you two were closer than most people we do meet in person.

  • Reblogged this on Ian's Journal and commented:
    #LIG #Sunflowers

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