Thursday, June 20, 2013

In Memorium

Tabatha Leigh (Piszczyk) Johnson (1971-2013)

If you're reading this, it's because you either knew my wife or know me, which means, at least in some way, you know her.  That being the case, you've been made a better person.  Not by me, but by Tabby.  There are all different types of people in the world.  Selfish, selfless, kind or mean, but only the rarest of people make you better simply by virtue of having known them.  They are the type of people who make you proud of yourself, who give you a warm feeling whenever you enter their presence, whose laugh can brighten an otherwise dismal day.  Tabby was such a person.

If you never had the pleasure of meeting her in person, I grieve for you.  You never got to experience her laugh, her smile, her passion.  You never got to be hugged by her (and let me just say that even at the end, she was one of the best huggers on the planet).  You never got to feel was it was like to have your soul fed with love in the way that only she could.  Her friends were lifelong, and fiercely loyal, and for good reason.

Tabby never turned anyone away.  Never.  Misfits as, I'm sure, we all were when we met her, she greeted us all with a smile and a warm hug and treated us all as family.  Everyone, celebrities and normal people alike, remembered her.  Everyone loved her.

If you came to our house, there were always a few things you could depend on.  First, no one ever went away from our house hungry.  We might've not had much, but Tabby loved to cook and would cook up a storm for anyone who had emptiness in their tummies.  When we married, I weighed 142 pounds soaking wet and had 6% body fat.  I like to blame my weight gain on her cooking, but it was more than that.  It was contentment.  It was love.  It was comfort.

I tell the story often, to anyone who will listen, but I'm telling it again.  I first met Tabby in Junior High School.  I was dating her best friend at the time.  I lost track of her for about a decade, but found her again in Junior College.  I asked her out, and she turned me down flat.  At the time, she had a boyfriend.  It took me a whole year to get up the nerve to ask her out again, and that time she said yes.  Our first date was on Halloween, 1992.  I dressed as a drag queen (I make an ugly woman), she as a (beautiful) rodeo queen.  We were never apart after that.  By Thanksgiving of that same year, I'd asked her to marry me.  By Christmas, we told her parents, and by April, we were married.  Less than six months after our first date together, we were married.  And despite what many thought, we stood the test of time.  Twenty years we had.  Were they all great?  I'd be lying if I said they were.  But I would not change a single moment.  I wouldn't rewrite a single second.  Not one.  Not those times.

She is survived by our beautiful daughters, Anna and Zoe, her brothers Cameron and Aaron, her mom and dad Ruth and Don, her sister Althea, and by me.  To say that we are all devastated is an understatement.  To say that I will never fully recover would be laughable, were it not so true.

Whatever your faith, chances are you have some idea of an afterlife.  For Christians, it's Heaven.  For Pagans, it's Summerland.  Some call it Elysium, and others call it by names that do not fall easily from the lips.  No matter what your belief, wherever Tabatha is, it is paradise.  Not because our religion says so, or because of some prejudiced idea of where she would go, but simply by virtue of her being there.  No matter where she is, just because she is there, it becomes paradise.  She did it here on Earth.  I have no reason to believe she'd do otherwise elsewhere.

Look around and realize the truth of this statement:  Because you knew her, you are today a better person.  She made me a better person.  She believed in me, made me see myself as someone worth loving, and gave me the confidence and strength to do whatever I set my mind to.  Because I knew her, I am a better person.  I will always be grateful to her for making me into the man I am today.

Goodnight, Tabby.  I love you so very much.  I do not grieve for you, but for myself and for the rest of us who are left behind.  There is a great hole in my life where you were, an empty chair at my table.  I will not get over you.  I will always miss you.  And I envy those who you meet in the afterlife.  Even they will be made better people for having known you.