Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Story of a Friendship

By Sheila

Tamra Dalene Young

I met Tami over 20 years ago, when our families both moved in next door to each other in a new neighborhood together. Little did we know at the time, that the friendship we built then would become one of the great joys of our lives. We watched our kids grow up together, and could think of nothing more fun to do on a weekend than hang out in the 'hood with each other and our other close neighbors. We danced in the rain with our kids, we had progressive dinner parties, we learned to jump from their trampoline to the pool, and mostly we became fast friends. We had game nights, we helped each other with house and yard projects and we threw some great parties. Tami and I once went on Halloween as Siamese twins; we were dressed in one really large t-shirt and pants, with our inside legs sticking out the back. We were doing great until we had to get down the stairs and then we had some serious coordination issues, but we were a big hit! We laughed hard at the same things, and she always made me laugh!

For years we met outside at 5 am, riding our bikes for exercise, and then sitting out on the sidewalk in front of our houses drinking coffee in the dark before work. It was often one of the best parts of my day. From there, we started riding longer distances and entered some organized rides, 40 miles, then, 62, and even the MS 150. She always pushed me to try these challenges, and I was always glad. We also had many good times boating on the water, sometimes Canyon and Saguaro Lakes, and even using our sons' boats cruising the urban lakes on a sunset cruise with a bottle of wine.

One of many fun dinners together
Times change, and so do families, and when everyone else had left the neighborhood, we moved too. Tami eventually bought her condo pretty close to us in Tempe. We drifted away from bike riding, but our friendship grew stronger. By this time, we were both flight attendants, and shared an understanding and interest in each other's work. We loved comparing notes on what our companies were doing and sharing the crazy stories only another flight attendant could fully appreciate! We were exercise buddies still, working out at the track and the bleachers as often as our schedules allowed, and of course going for coffee afterwards.

We shared real estate adventures as well, even being crazy enough to do a flip house together! Tami was always there for me. I remember when I was really under a tight deadline to get our 4-plex move-in ready for new tenants. She was still feeling pretty awful from chemo, but she came up and scrubbed those floors on her hands and knees to help me out. We went on travel adventures together too; a trip to San Francisco, another one to Hawaii, girls camping trips and bike excursions. We were planning a New York trip and were going to take our Moms. We didn't get there.

We helped each other with the fun and the busy parts of marrying off our kids, and having grandkids and just watching and helping our kids become adults. We shared the trials and tribulations that Moms do when they care about each other and each other's families.

Tami was a woman who lived large. She loved her family, her friends, and going on adventures. She loved her Harley and her cats, and having a cozy place to come home to. She was determined not to let cancer define her; nor was she going to spend the time she had looking over her shoulder for the next setback. Even when she wasn't feeling great, she made the effort to get up and go, knowing all too well that none of us live forever and she didn't want to miss a thing. She trusted me to help her with some of the hard parts of her fight, and it was my honor to do so. She had her priorities straight and taught me a lot about what is important in this life. She was our Steel Magnolia. I am a better person for having known and loved her for all these years.

Rest in Peace Girlfriend.

Tami at my daughter's wedding


  1. Sheila, what a lovely story and tribute to an endearing friendship between two phenomenal women... So blessed to have felt love from you both.
    And, Tami, until we all meet again may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

  2. Sheila, I haven't known Tami as long as you, but she really taught me alot too! She is and will be sorely missed. Hugs,
    Tracy Hobbs

  3. This is so sad. How lovely that you had such an amazing friendship.

  4. Sheila,
    What a beautiful tribute. The stories both you and Tami have told me about the days in the 'hood, have made me realize what a wonderful and loving friendship you two had. She will be missed.

    "Loveliness we've lost, these empty days without your smile, this torch we'll always carry... and even though we try, the truth brings us to tears, all our words cannot express the joy you have brought us through the years."
    Elton John


  5. Hi, Sheila. This is my first visit to you guys' site. I was busy looking through the decor posts when I noticed this one. I read every word, and it touched me so, so deep. You really paid attention to and cherished this friendship. It's evident in your words. I am so very sorry that your wonderful friend had to leave this earth way too early. I am very happy, however, that for her time on this earth you two were able to share such a deep and loving friendship that will live on forever in your mind, words, and heart.