Saturday, January 15, 2011

Terye and the Gift of "Been There, Done That"

I met Terye because, in 1999, I played Mary the mother of Jesus in the Christ United Methodist Church Christmas play.  I was pregnant with Cade, who was born 9 lb 5 oz in January; therefore, I had the "great with child" thing down pat, at least.  In 1999, the youngest baby in the church was Terye's son Cody, so he was assigned the role of Baby Jesus.

I met Cody and Terye on the night of dress rehearsal.  Terye is vivacious with a hearty laugh, and I was drawn to her right away.  She asked if my soon-to-be-born Cade needed anything, and I told her he had everything he could possibly need or want aside from bedding for the bassinet I had purchased at a yard sale.  She said she had bassinet bedding, as a matter of fact, and would be happy for Cade to have it, along with some clothes Cody had outgrown.  So Terye and I fell into a friendship, and--after Cade was born--Cade and I spent many happy afternoons with Cody and Terye. 

Terye and her family lived in a farmhouse on a gravel road in Shenandoah that I called, with affection, "Sleepy Hollow" because trees hugged it on both sides, and because a black, train trestle hung above it; still, the house itself was cozy and warm with Terye's parents Joe and Jan; Terye and Cody; Grandma Elsie the organist, who lived in the mother-in-law suite; dog Tequila and parrot Jasmine; and a million toy tractors.  Cade and I made ourselves at home to the point that I knew my way around the refrigerator and laid claim to a vintage, pink aluminum tumbler that I pulled from a kitchen cupboard on every visit.  Sometimes, Terye and I walked Sleepy Hollow with the boys in strollers; other times, I slipped over to the farmhouse, alone, for "girl time" with Terye.

Unfortunately, in 2001, when Cade was about eighteen months old, my ex-husband was transferred from Harrisonburg to Richmond, which pretty much marked the end of Cade's and my time in Sleepy Hollow.

Cody, Terye's Dad Joe, and Cade (<--Charleigh looks just like him!!!)

I moved away, but Terye never let me go, and she is one of very few friends in Shenandoah with whom I have remained in touch.  I struggle in telling the rest of Terye's and my story because it includes so much suffering (significantly more in her life than mine).  I can tell you that Terye's son Cody and her dad Joe died separately, suddenly, accidentally.  Also that Terye has battled cancer.  A part of me gets mired in these horrors, sometimes, but--although they have impacted my friend, of course!--they do not define Terye, and they do not define my friendship with her.

Terye is my friend because--even before her above-mentioned difficulties--she had the gift of "been there, done that."  My friend Gabriela's dad used to say: "Cuando tu vas, yo ya vengo." Gabby complains that this phrase translates poorly as: "When you are going, I am already on my way back,"  but the essence is: "You can't fool me; I'm two steps ahead of you."  That's Terye.  She's heard and seen it all and done most of it.  She's unshockable, unflappable, non-judgmental.  If I were burdened by a deep, dark secret, I would whisper it in Terye's ear, and she would offer immediate assistance in the form of a prayer.  Or a hit man.

Terye is fiercely loyal, big- and tender-hearted, and deeply creative.  She can design and make jewelry, sing, paint, write poetry, and bake and decorate cake, and I'm sure she has other creative talents of which I'm unaware.  I know God has a special plan for her life, and, in my mind, Terye is Phoenix.  She rises with more beauty, brilliance, and strength than she had before the flames.  She sings; she soars.  She is Job, who clings to his faith when everything else is taken, and subsequently experiences favor and reward from God.  So I offer up a prayer, and--after you read it--I invite you to pray the same on behalf of my friend.

Dear Heavenly Father: Thank You for Terye and the person You created her to be.  I ask that You cup her in Your right hand and cover her with Your left.  Your Word says, Father, that You will work all things to our good if we love You and are called according to Your purpose.  I claim this promise on Terye's behalf and ask that You continue to work in her life, draw her ever closer to You, and make her path clear.  If it is Your will, Father, I ask that You heal Terye in every respect.  Thank You for loving us and for being awake and helping even when we close our eyes to sleep.  In Your name I pray, Amen.

Love you, Terye.


  1. :) Brandee you never cease to amaze me and thanks for including me in your blog. Oh yes together we have suffered much, cried many tears and laughed loudly. Someone asked me the other day if I could change my life would I? Ahhh there are a few people I would like to delete (insert hit man here..LOL) but for all intense purposes no I wouldn't change's made me the person I am with all my weaknesses and strengths. I know through my experience I can and will help others through their ups and downs, be it chemo, the death of a child or parent or just learning to sit with yourself in the silence...its was truly hard to love God after so much has been put on my shoulders for a while. The good thing he is never gives up on you and he gives you people and friends in your life to help you along the way. I am so glad I have had you along my way...thank you for cookies, sharing secrets over tea in your pink cup and prayers you say for me. I love you!

  2. Amen.

    I think I like this one best of all, because I don't know Terye like I do your other subjects.

    But now, I do.

    Thanks for sharing. Prayer for Terye, ascending now.