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


19 comments:

Anonymous said...

You have all been an inspiration to me during the years that I have known your family. The sweetness of Tom's passing is an amazing gift that you will be humbled by for the rest of your life. I know that he will always be there for you and will be the one there with open arms at some future time when you will once again be together. You and the girls are companions that fit perfectly with the inspiring person that Tom was and continues to be. May you be blessed with support and comfort and reassurance of love and caring that is there for you always and exceeds anything that you can imagine!

Anonymous said...

God Bless Tom, May Heaven's cyclists welcome you with open arms, and a challenging ride.

It was such an honor to have known you, and although I can count the number of times we met and rode together, I will never forget your courage, humor, and positive outlook.

I still see you standing outside Bikesmiths, with your brother and amazing girls.

Watch over our beautiful baby son and teach him how to ride. Iman died July 6th the day of your last post.

Until we meet again,

Tomstrong

Hugh & Funmi

Anonymous said...

Anne,
I was thinking about all of you and praying for Tom and your family on Monday morning being unaware of Tom's passing on Friday. I will continue to lift you and your girls up for strength and comfort from our Lord and savior.

Anonymous said...

Anne would like you to know that Tom's obituary can be viewed online at www.coastalview.com It's on pages 10-11 in the October 30th, 2008 issue. Since the cost to run it in the Santa Barbara News Press was going to cost over $1800. (!) she opted out! Also, If you're planning on coming to Tom's celebration, she'd like people to wear yellow...or the famous "TomStrong" t-shirt! thanks.

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Anonymous said...

Thinking of you & not understanding why you ? It's just so unfair.

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Anonymous said...

Still thinking of you buddy. Gone but never forgotten.

McLarnon Family

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