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Category Archives: Tammie’s Story: Child Loss and Suicide

Our Journey For Joshua

Our Journey For Joshua

Once again, it is my great delight to share a piece from Tammie Wommack’s beautiful heart here at Espressos of Faith. Tammie lost her son Joshua in 2008 to suicide. Ever since, she and her husband Rick have been slowly healing and are passionate about sharing their journey, hope, and paths to finding peace and joy again with other grieving families. They are also fiercely committed to suicide prevention. Their story is an amazingly redemptive one. I hope your heart is encouraged and loved on by her sincere words.

Tammie and I first crossed paths in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, where we were both living at the time, rocked by different circumstances in each of our lives. God has reconnected us, and I’m so thankful for her courage, vulnerability, and willingness to be used by God to help others. May God continue to bless you, Tammie (and Rick)!

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As Rick and I travel around this beautiful country, moving from one destination to the next, we eventually find ourselves heading back to Clarksville, Tennessee, for many reasons: our precious grandchildren who keep us young, our friends who have been a lifeline and anchor for us on this grief journey, business matters that must be taken care of so we can stay on the road, doctor appointments, etc.

Our arrival to Clarksville is always mixed with so many different emotions. My heart, mind, body, and soul begin to prepare days before we get to what I call the “Joshua Zone.” I brace myself for the overwhelming rush of emotions that I know I will experience.

Grief is truly a very rough and long roller coaster ride. For me, the emotions are always followed by the temptation to drink alcohol so that I cannot feel that rush of emotions I know await me as I enter the city limits. I feel like I have to be constantly on guard.

The length of time we stay and the number of our visits has varied over the years, but the feelings are still just as strong now as they were the first time we had to travel back there after Joshua died. It seems I am never really able to let my guard down until we are heading out of the city of Clarksville, Tennessee.

While I write about my grief often, I don’t always talk about my temptation to Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Where Is God When Your Child Dies?

Where Is God When Your Child DiesToday, I am very excited to once again feature guest blogger Tammie Wommack. She is a dear friend of mine and has regularly contributed to a series on Espressos of Faith: Guest Bloggers: Sharing More Stories of Hope and Courage.

Her continuing message of hope, healing, and even joy as she wades through the wreckage of losing her son in 2008 ministers and encourages in such significant ways. I’ve decided to dedicate an entire category to her story: Tammie’s Story: Child Loss and Suicide. My heart’s desire is that others in pain discover Tammie’s story and find healing in her words.

Yesterday was the 7th anniversary since her son Joshua left this world. I met Tammie right as these walls in her life came crashing down. God’s purposes for Tammie continue to be lived out as she and her husband Rick submit to being willing vessels of healing and ministry to others. The road has not been easy, but I love that Tammie asks the hard questions—the ones nobody wants to admit they ask—and she does it in writing for all of us to see how she works through them and how her faith informs her with an inexplicable peace amidst an unimaginable sorrow.

We post this blog today in honor of Joshua and all who suffer with suicidal thoughts. The internal battle is real, and the devastation they leave behind is significant. They are not forgotten. We also post this today to reach the hurting family members trying to make their way. May your pain find a voice in Tammie’s honest and vulnerable words, and may you know the healing balm she has found in her faith in Christ.

And now, here’s Tammie. May her words bring you peace, encourage faith in Christ, and/or offer a breath of help to your shared journey of repairing shattered hearts. Feel free to leave her a comment. She wants to connect with you. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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The Last Goodbye

The Last GoodbyeEspressos of Faith is excited to have Tammie Wommack back in our continued series on “Stories of Hope, Healing, and Courage.” Tammie has joined us several times to share her journey from the incredible pain of losing her son Joshua to finding moments of hope, healing, and even joy again.

What I love about my friend Tammie is that she is not afraid to be raw and real. She wants to take parents who have lost a child through the real phases of healing, letting them know that their experiences/feelings are normal, they aren’t alone, and peace can be found despite the ongoing ache left when a child is no longer here. I have been on the other end of this—the desperation of depression—and because her story ran parallel to my own and I knew her when her loss was new and raw and I was lost and broken, I believe she can truly minister to those left behind grieving with her beautiful words of encouragement. Our stories coincided in 2008 in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and through God’s grace and despite moving away to different locations, we are still heart-connected.

Please share this with anyone you know who needs her words as a soothing balm, and feel free to leave a comment for Tammie. She would love to connect with you. She is making a deliberate choice to live in intentional ministry. Please feel free to reference her other articles at the end of this blog as well as the resources (suicide hotline) listed there.

And now, here’s Tammie…. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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What Your Mom Really Wants for Mother’s Day

What Your Mom Really Wants for Mother's DayJust as I was wondering: “What will I write for Mother’s Day?” my friend Tammie Wommack sent me a message that she wrote a piece communicating what her heart wants to say to children and mothers out there about what’s really important on this Hallmark holiday. You see, Tammie has known the incredible grief of losing a child, and as her head comes up from feeling shoved under the water for so long to catch some air, her perspective brings tremendous clarity. As I was about to get this piece up on the blog site, Tammie messaged me one more time with her overriding heart’s cry:

“Moms want their kids to let them know how they’re doing as a mom. I so wanted reassurance when Joshua died that I had been a good Mom.”

I’m so grateful God put this on Tammie’s heart this Mother’s Day. She has allowed herself to be a vessel to bring hope, love, and strength to others on what is surely a painful holiday. I just love that she is willing to serve us through her very difficult walk in life.

[Please know that Tammie and I both recognize that not every mother has been who she needed to be with the call on her life to nurture a child. We know that some women out there miss their mothers who have already passed from this life. We acknowledge that some women are yearning to be moms and have their dreams yet unfulfilled. Some ladies may be waiting for rebellious children to show their appreciation, and it looks to be a long wait. While we acknowledge these very real and difficult situations, we also agree that there are other women in our lives whom God gives us who could benefit from Tammie’s “make the time count now and show your love” message. If Mom (or being a mom) isn’t your reference point, may I suggest you read this with an influential person in your life in mind. I just know you’ll be blessed. And if you’ve known the incredible heartache of losing Mom or a child, take some peace, healing, and comfort from what Tammie has to say. It’s for all of us, really.]

And here again, amazing us with her joy and deeply rooted wisdom, is Tammie…

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Let God Be Your Handhold to Joy

I had a silent prayer on my heart this week. I had about three topics in my head to write about but no time to write them. And then in came this blog from my sweet friend Tammie. I had literally just tweeted a former blog of hers about joy 30 seconds before her message arrived in my in-box. What provision! Right on time!

Tammie has contributed several times to Espressos of Faith this year. I consider her part of the blog team. I believe so much in what she writes about that I have given her blog topics a board on my Pinterest page and regularly remind people on social media of her articles. She writes to bring hope, healing, and joy to those with child loss of any kind, sharing her particular journey of loss (to suicide), but what she writes is for all of us—because there is always someone out there hurting who needs us, and because we all know pain, sorrow, and despair from time to time. Tammie is an incredible encourager who wants to honor the life of her son Joshua by ministering to and loving on hurting hearts out there. She is an amazing vessel used by God to reach some of the most painful places a parent could ever go.

If this touches you, please leave a comment for Tammie. She genuinely wants to connect with you. And feel free to share, tweet, and pin her encouragement so others can read about finding joy again too.

Here’s Tammie…
Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Why Grieving Mothers Find Comfort in a Tattoo

Why Grieving Mothers Find Comfort in a Tattoo
I am so thrilled to be able to once again feature my sweet friend Tammie here at Espressos of Faith. Tammie’s life first touched mine when we both resided on the tiny island of Kwajalein in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. During that time, Tammie and her husband Rick experienced unfathomable loss, and ever since, their lives have been on an amazing trajectory to healing, hope, and even joy again! Life will never be the same, and Tammie is extremely honest about their painful journey; she readily admits that some days are extremely difficult. But she has found purpose again, and her heart beats to bring healing to other grieving parents. She wants to share how she and her husband are finding their way again. In the process, Tammie and Rick made a choice to forfeit regular income and steady jobs to travel around the country volunteering, giving back to others in celebration of the life of their son. As passionate as they are about suicide prevention, they are equally driven to love those left behind as they open up their lives to us, sharing their source of love, comfort, hope, and promise.

Without further introduction, here’s Tammie…

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For those who are asking if that is really my tattoo: Yes, it’s true.

“What are you thinking? You are not the kind of person who would get a tattoo.”

“You have to be kidding! That is not your style.”

“You know what people think about tattoos? You will be judged as soon as they see it.”

“Well, if it will make you happy, then do it—but I would never do it.”

These are some of the responses I received when I shared my desire to get a tattoo as a tribute to my son Joshua. They were all very kind in the way that they said it, and I truly knew that they were trying to comprehend something that was just outside all of our comfort zones.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Would You Do Anything to End the Pain of Grief? Even Give Up Loving Memories?

Would You Do Anything to End the Pain of GriefToday’s blog post has a special place in my heart, mostly because my guest blogger, Tammie Wommack, hurts for the grieving. She knows what it is like to get through extreme pain during the holidays.

Why?

Because Tammie’s story is one of unfathomable heartache and grief—the kind that can knock you over, hold you down under water, and threaten to never let you breathe again. And because she has found a way to breathe again—she has discovered the airhole through which to draw life, breath, and oxygen out of her very changed world, her “new normal”—her heart is to help others do the same.

Tammie wants to reach into the hearts of those experiencing the significant pain of loss and bring them hope and encouragement during the time of year when families gather but some loved ones are noticeably missing at the table or celebration. She fully understands how incredibly difficult that is to face. If this is you, I hope you can feel her heart not only beating with yours here but that you can tangibly grasp the hope, ministry, and nourishment her heart is trying to communicate to yours—that you can start to find or rediscover that airhole.

She previously shared parts of her experiences here at Espressos of Faith in “Honoring Josh: A Mother’s Heart in the Aftermath of Suicide” and “Journey to Joy: How Giving Back Brings Hope and Healing to Hurting Hearts.”

Today, Tammie both asks and answers the question:

Would you do anything to end the pain of grief, even give up the loving memories?

Blessings!
Bonnie Lyn Smith, author of Not Just on Sundays

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As I have been reliving beautiful memories of our time as a family during Christmas, especially now as we are surrounded by Christmas every day in the tree lot where we are currently working, it occurred to me how much power those memories have and how much more I cherish those moments in time than I did when they were happening to me. We are never fully aware of how much of an impact something is going to have on our lives when it is actually happening, but we are given the gift of those memories forever.

This brought me to this question about my grief and the loss of my son Joshua:

Would I trade the memories in order to spare myself the grief?

Grief is such a tough aspect of living, yet it is always going to be inevitable. Some people choose not to love or have friends so that they do not have to experience the pain of loss. But to avoid grief, you would truly have to give up something worse: no beautiful memories of all the wonderful times together—memories that help you relive the joy and love you had with people.

The answer for me is:

NO!!!!

I am so thankful that I have those beautiful moments that I can recall whenever I need to, and I need to—often. Times of fun, laughter, things he did and said: Sure, some of those are sad, but most are so special. Memories are a rare gift that God has allowed us to have while we live our lives here on earth, and having them is a priceless treasure.

This Christmas season, my husband Rick and I were given a gift that no money could ever buy: time with our oldest son, Brian. We created new memories that will always be with us of time spent working together at the tree lot. We also were able to relive old memories of his childhood and enjoying Thanksgiving. We also experienced some real healing time to all share our thoughts and memories of Joshua. It also gave us a glimpse of the wonderful man Brian has turned out to be—a gift that not all parents are privileged to receive. In some ways, it has allowed all of us to gain some closure and move to an even better place in our grieving process. And as a Mom who lost a child to suicide, it was so comforting to hear and see how much our parenting made an impact on him and to have him tell us that we were truly good parents.

So this Christmas Season, create some memories and relive the past as you can. They are all gifts from God, and if we are not careful, we will let them slip by unnoticed.

If you are grieving, use this time to help someone else. If you are involved in family disputes, forgive whatever it is and choose to show God’s love.

Time is so unforgiving.

How we use it is up to us.

You never know what the future holds, only that God is in control.

God gave us the ultimate sacrifice in His Son Jesus Christ—a gift so awesome that nothing we do in our lives could ever repay.

And the truth is we don’t have to. God is not looking for us to repay Him through works and deeds. He is looking for us to have a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ and to treat others as we would like to be treated.

Merry Christmas and Much Love in Christ,
Tammie

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Feel free to leave comments to share, connect with, or encourage Tammie. The message she wants to send is: You are not alone, she understands, and you are deeply loved. Make every moment count. Memories are such a treasure, and making new ones with loved ones still here is a precious gift not to be wasted, even in the midst of deep grief.

A great resource for suicide prevention is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

To find out more about Tammie and Rick, you can read part of their story at http://www.gofundme.com/Giving-Back-For-Joshua.

This blog has also been shared at any link highlighted here: Mom 2 Mom Monday Link-Up, Make a Difference Mondays, Pick Your Pin Tuesday, Women With Intention Wednesdays, Grace & Truth, A Little R & R, RaRa Link-Up, Me, Coffee & Jesus, Dance With Jesus, Blessing Counters, Coffee & Conversation, Saturday Soiree, Tell His Story, Find Stability, So Much at Home, Faith-Filled Fridays, Reflect His Love and Glory Link-Up, Bonbon ‘n Coffee Linkup, and Christian Mommy Blogger.

 

 

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