Saturday, June 07, 2008

Sunday Scribbling - "My Night"



My real career began when I won the Apple Computer contract for my company. I had finally made it in a male dominated industry making really good money. The account was a 2 million dollar a year money maker so my company insisted on a seasoned account representative to handle my account. Apple Computer had wanted me instead so I was to be their account manager and my bosses had to comply. I had no experience in handling an account of this size but I gave it my all.

Not long after being awarded the job I was diagnosed with MS but my symptoms were slight and I hid them well. As i began to progress it became harder and harder to hide the fatigue and scabs from falling. My sales assistant, partner and good friend covered for me time and time again during those four years. I was a single mom and had to push through it all to keep my income. That third year I was forced to use a cane but assured my bosses that I could do my job with MS and I did.


When I got the news that I had ALS and not MS I knew that I had to retire. The doctors had given me a few years yet to live and I wanted to spend it with my girl's. My bosses understood and requested that I attend the company's year end hoopla so I could say my goodbye's to the other branches. It would be in the grand ballroom of The Hyatt Regency in San Francisco with about 500 people in attendance.


I didn't want to go because I had nothing to wear, no date and an ugly green walker (many had never seen me with it). I found a dress, grabbed a guy friend as a date and off we went. It was packed as we sat down to dinner purposely finding a spot in the back. After dinner the CEO of the company began his fiscal speech as I was finishing off my dessert. Then I froze in my seat as I heard my name.


Many in the room did not know of my new diagnosis or my retirement as my story was being revealed. My heart was racing as I slouched down in my chair not daring to look up at the many faces. The speech turned from my leaving to my accomplishments and I realized that in my short four years as an account manager I had really earned their respect.


The CEO ended his speech with how much I would be missed as everyone in the room stood up in applause. The crowd began to part, still applauding, as the CEO came down from the podium to present me with a dozen red roses. My knees were shaking as someone helped me to my feet, my face becoming beet red. I have never felt such a rush of emotion as I did that night looking into the endless sea of faces. It felt like I was receiving an Oscar as the ALS left my mind leaving me smiling from ear to ear.


When the speech ended I had a line of people wanting to say goodbye. The ALS slowly crept back in my mind as I saw the looks in their face's. I kept focused on not going into the ugly cry as people struggled and choked on their word's. The faces and hugs became a blur. My date instinctively knew what to do. He grabbed my walker and lead me to the dance floor. He parked it out of the way as we danced a slow song allowing me to catch my breath.


It was a night that I will never forget and job that I hated to leave.




The best night of course was my sunset Kauai wedding but on June 14th Tink is having a wedding celebration in blogland where you can share a wedding post. This post can be anything you want because it's in celebration of brides.


http://tinkerart.typepad.com/tinker_art/

24 comments:

gautami tripathy said...

Thanks for this very beautiful personal post. You know you always touch my heart!

nocturnal

kj said...

boy tammy, this post is so passionate and heartwarming i'm ready to cry. i am not at all surprised you earned respect in your work....and in your life.

i am listening to eva cassidy as i write this...'songbird'--it's alright...

i hope you are doing well and so happy you are surrounded in love!

:)

fearfullymade said...

Thanks for sharing this story Tammy. Really sounds like they gave you an awesome send off!

Beautiful Witch said...

What an amazing woman you are Tammy - what incredibly amounts of inner strength you have. I am glad they gave you a send off worthy of that strength.

Fledgling Poet said...

I have tears as I read this...what an incredibly moving recounting of a night that you obviously deserved for all your hard work. I'm glad you got the recognition and that you were made to realize how valuable you were to your co-workers. You are amazingly strong...

pepektheassassin said...

**Applause**

Tammie Lee said...

Tammy,
Your story has touched me deeply. Eyes tearing, heart celebrating and aching in different parts. Beautifully written.

Inland Empire Girl said...

You always demonsrate such perserverence and put others before you. What a touching story.

Nancy said...

Your story does not surprise me in the least...
of COURSE you were valued, appreciated and had a huge effect on everyone. You are STILL valued, appreciated and have an even bigger effect on everyone...especially me.

I love you,
Nancy

b said...

We can all see why you ARE held in such high regard...courage speaks for itself. Thank you for sharing your journey. We all love a wedding celebration, a celebration of today...to heck with tomorrow. It never arrives anyway!:)

b

Devil Mood said...

I can't imagine the mix of emotions that must have come over you then...what an emotional moment! I'm happy that at least you were given the recognition you deserved, despite the sadness of leaving a job that was so good for you.

Jennifer Hicks said...

thank you for sharing this truly stunning and emotional post about the high regard and respect you have earned. although it must be tough to feel your competence be masked by ALS, rest assured, it sounds like you have made your mark and have given your all to the world. Thanks for continuing to do that and be such an inspiring spark of lightness to us all...
xoxox

KG said...

Hey Tammy! I haven't visited in awhile and wanted to say hi. Your journey stories always inspire me. Getting and running that Apple account -- huge!!! And to do it on top of being a single mom and fighting your fight with ALS, well, you are a warrior. Thank you, as always, for sharing your story. Sending you good healing vibes! :)

paisley said...

now that sounds like something right out of a movie.. i cannot believe there was a dry eye in the house!!!!

Gill said...

You're one awesome woman Tammy! That was a beautiful, beautiful post, thanks for sharing.

texasblu said...

That's so wonderful! You were obviously deserving of such treatment too - you are a great lady!

daisies said...

wow honey, you know i am not all that surprised, your strength and passion always make me smile and give me hope for all of us .. xo

Geraldine said...

Tammy, Your writing is a gift to all of us. What a beautiful, touching story and about an incredible woman who's light shines so strongly.

Hugs to you dear. G

www.mypoeticpath.wordpress.com

Robin said...

What a beautiful, and obviously very much deserved, tribute.

*typing through tears*

Brian said...

It's hard to look in the mirror and like 'self' but when reflected in the light of other's love, sometimes you can understand what they see.

rohit said...

hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

you are fantastic!!!



god bless u dear

can we exchange our link

r u ready to do?

Giggles said...

You just know how to rip my heart out of my chest and leave it pounding in my hand! This is such a poignant story and I loved it but hated that you had leave something you love. But who knows you may never have met your dear husband!

Much love Sherrie

Tabor said...

Whenever I am a bit confused about my place in this space of my life, I know that I can count on your blog to give me perspective and make me ashamed of my petty issues! This blogland has been truly rewarding for me as I get to share time with some amazing people, such as yourself. We might never have had our paths cross otherwise.

paris parfait said...

A beautiful piece about a very special time in your life, Tammy! Thanks for sharing this story. And thanks for passing along the news about Tink's wedding celebration. I am so behind in everything, but now that the migraine has dissipated, must try to catch up. Hope yours has vanished as well! xoxox