Monday, August 25, 2014

A Final Road Trip

I imagine just about everyone will know by now, because she touched so many lives, but Tina Downey of the blog Life is Good passed away this weekend. You can get more information at her blog.

I know I won't be the only one thinking of her today. She was a kind person with a huge heart that did so much for others, even if it was just in supporting them or throwing them a friendly hello. Unfortunately, she was battling health issues the whole time. Even knowing that, I was stunned to hear of her passing. I never thought it could go so far.

By xlibber (Sunflower  Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Today I wanted to say goodbye to a friend I met through my blog, so what better way to honor her? We met as participants in the A-to-Z Challenge. Somehow (and I couldn't tell you exactly how), we started talking via a comment one or the other of us left on the other's blog. This conversation bloomed into the Post A-to-Z Road Trip, where we challenged each other to visit ALL the participants of that year's A-to-Z after it had completed.

We both liked a challenge.

I never would have done the Road Trip on my own. I might have gone and visited a bunch of the blogs I hadn't gotten to, but I sure wouldn't have issued a challenge to everyone else to do the same. I was a newbie blogger, who only found others and learned about blogging via that first A-to-Z (that I participated in--certainly not the first A-to-Z overall.)

But Tina was energetic, vivacious. She took hold of a goal and went for it with her all. She was organized and consistent. And we egged each other on, having a lot of fun in the process.

That little Road Trip got us noticed by Lee, and the next year we became part of the A-to-Z Challenge team. Why? Because Tina posted to them about our little mini-challenge. She was brave and brassy. She was a phenom.

We had even more fun working with that awesome team of folks, and we were able to continue our little Road Trip, which wasn't so little anymore. Through it all, she soldiered on, despite health issues that landed her in the hospital off and on, despite trouble breathing, and the misery that comes with that.

Most of all, she did so cheerfully, with no dip in the level of energy she dedicated to us and the challenge.

Courtesy of Saxo, Wikimedia Commons

When I announced to the A-to-Z team that my dad had been diagnosed with ALS, and that I was going through the CNA certification process so I would be better equipped to care for him when the time came, she told me about her dad, who had Parkinson's. And though we'd been talking via email for awhile, we were now able to give each other support and share the understanding of something that was hard for other people to empathize with. What other people didn't know how to respond to (despite wanting to be able to), we knew what to say and how it felt.

I suspect she would have known just what to say whether she was in that situation or not, though, because that's just the type of person she was. She wasn't afraid to speak, to support, to be honest.

Though I never got to meet her in person, despite living only about 90 minutes from each other, she was a great friend to me, and I hope I gave her just a little bit of that back. Our plans to meet were derailed by various things, the last time because I was sick with a fever and she was back in the hospital. I'm sad we never had the chance to meet in person, but I'm glad I got to know her for awhile, and that I had the honor of calling her a friend.

May you find your Muse among the sunflowers.


  1. Bold and brassy - that was Tina. Tina was never afraid to be heard.
    Glad you and Tina were able to connect in so many ways.
    I am going to miss her so bad...

  2. That was a beautiful post, Shannon. Tina would have loved it. I'm sure she's watching over you now. Just remember, you can still talk to her when you need support. She'll be there for you, even if you can't see her. That's just who she was.

  3. I know she would have loved your tribute. It was such sad news.

  4. Very lovely sentiment. During my first A-Z in 2011 I had some questions and she emailed me and helped me. She was always a constant contributor to the A-Z blog, the A-Z Road Trip and Alex's Monthly ISWG Group.

  5. This is such a wonderful tribute to Tina. So, so sad about her passing.

  6. I didn't know Tina but your tribute made me wish I had. I'm sorry you lost a friend, Shannon. Hugs to you.

  7. That is so sad that a great person was called away. :/
    Bravo for remembering her with this post.

  8. What a wonderful tribute for a person that gave and received so much. I wish I'd known her better.

  9. Your sunflowers are perfect, Shannon. Sorry you two never met, but it seems like you shared a lot together that was fun for the both of you.

  10. Shannon, that was a wonderful tribute to Tina. I'm sorry that you were never able to meet in person.

  11. It's a blessing that you and Tina were able to connect with each other in support of one another's experiences with health complications of yourselves and your loved ones. She was a force like no other and I will miss her, like so many of us. This is a wonderful tribute to the woman who now rests among the field of sunflowers.