October 28, 2008

Aloha - Tom Whittaker

As of Friday Oct. 24th @ approximately 7 pm, we have a new angel watching over us! Tom went peacefully into Heaven's gates as Anne guided him through. It was very important to Anne that those who knew Tom and loved him, knew just how peaceful his passing was. She asked me to share the experience with you, and it's taken me all day to sit and compose my thoughts. But please understand, these are thoughts she has relayed to me... I believe it is her hope that you will receive them as a gift... I know I did. She is truly amazing.

After 3-1/2 days of being in a deep sleep, Anne lay next to Tom, holding him and talking to him, and joking a little on the side. She was telling him that it was o.k. for him to go; that everything was going to be alright... but, that since she really wanted to be the one to be there with him when he went, that now would be a good time. With his eyes still shut tight "like a sleeping kitten", she told him she was going to count and he could go... with her hand on his chest, she counted slowly... " K, ready? 1... 2... 3... You silly, you didn't go" was her first response. Staying with him until mid-day, she left him to go see Caity and Kelsey off to their away-football game, and to walk the new dog along the beach in Carpinteria. She had told Tom she would be back to see him later, "about 6:30 - 6:45", telling him she loved him, she left him, sleeping.

Almost going home to change after her walk, she decided to get on the freeway instead and head back up to Sarah House. Walking into the room with her new dog Oliver in her arms, she looked at Tom and saw that he was looking right at her with one eye open. Understanding what he had done for her, she set Oliver down to "coach" Tom to his finish line telling him to "keep going", that his mom and her mom were right there waiting for him... "keep going... it's o.k... go... you're doing it..." and with his third and final breath, he was Home. She called me from the room and sounded elated and in disbelief, but in a good way... could I believe it?... he had waited for her!... and he went exactly how they had hoped!... with her and no one else, absolutely no pain, absolutely nothing but Peace. And did I want to come up... which I know in our language, that meant she wanted me there and right then, there was no other place I'd rather be. She assured me not to rush... my sweet friend. Stopping briefly for some yellow roses, and a chocolate bar, I made my way to Sarah House blasting MercyMe's "I Can Only Imagine". I found Anne in the kitchen making herself a cup of tea. We embraced and her smile assured me again that have one of thee most beautiful friends in the universe. It was a remarkable experience for me because I was able to grasp the beauty of death... I know it probably sounds strange. I can't explain it, but I truly feel I was given a final gift from this whole TomStrong journey...

Telling the girls that night was the hardest part for Anne. We all sat around the Living Room, sharing the experience, remembering, and feeling the warmth.

A Celebration of Tom's life will be held at Lion's Club Park, 6197 Casitas Pass Road, Carpinteria; Sunday, November 16th @ 1:30 pm.
There will be no services... just a trip to Hawaii planned for June 2009.

Aloha, and peace to all,

Andi Duffield