We didn’t always agree.
Tami Greenfield Boehmer was more hopeful than I was.
So much more hopeful, in fact, that she wrote a book titled From Incurable to Incredible: Cancer Survivors Who Beat the Odds and another book titled Miracle Survivors: Beating the Odds of Incurable Cancer.
Despite my skepticism about the idea that a positive attitude can help fight cancer, I saw value in the Miracle Survivors books, something that spoke to me.
It was the message of enduring hope.
So despite our philosophical differences, I was inextricably drawn to Tami. Perhaps it was her sheer candor. Or her seemingly endless realistic optimism. Or the fact that she marched to the beat of a different drummer than so many in the blogosphere. Perhaps it was because she always held her ground by speaking with integrity and advocacy.
Perhaps it was because of her positive thinking. I marveled how she could be so hopeful, considering all she faced.
Heck, I loved her blog because it was so beautifully written.
And thus we became online friends who were destined to meet. It started when we spoke on the phone, which led her to graciously profile me on her blog. A few years later, Tami was going to go on a cruise for those affected by breast cancer, and she invited me to consider going. She said she would like us to meet. I wanted to go on that cruise but was unable to.
A few years later, December 2014, Tami and her family traveled to a Chicago suburb for a clinical trial appointment. As luck would have it, I live in a Chicago suburb. And so her family and my family met at a restaurant for dinner. Arielle is incredibly shy and didn’t want to talk, so the gift of gab was reserved for me, Tami, her husband Mike, and their daughter Chrissy.
The Boehmer family is a loving family with great integrity, authenticity, support, courage and joy. Chrissy is beautiful and kind. Tami and Mike raised a great young lady. And that evening I had the privilege of meeting a lovely family that, until that day, I saw only in Facebook pictures.
What surprised and delighted me was how spiritual the family was. And I was also pleasantly taken aback by Tami’s and Mike’s irreverent sense of humor. I’m on the irreverent side myself, so we had good fun and laughed a lot.
A week ago, on November 4, I saw the dreaded news on Facebook from Mike about Tami passing away, worded so spiritually: “Heaven gained a powerful angel. Tami made a peaceful transition at 8 pm with Chrissy and Me at her bedside. Her spirit lives on in the hearts of many.”
I know her spirit lives on in my heart. And my heart goes out to Mike and Chrissy, who must go on without Tami’s physical presence.
Tami made the world a better place for having been in it. And she and her family taught me the power of hope, optimism, grace, and sheer courage.