Thoughts & Well Wishes

Masoud House | Jan 8, 2021
Tallu, it's been so long that I'm not sure you remember me. This is Masoud, from Advent's Youth Group. I am horribly saddened to reunite under such circumstances, but I am so happy to be able to connect with you at all.

I really cherish your impact on our group. You came to us at a time when we were going through much transition. You had to manage a variety of ages and needs (on top of teenager needs in general). And yet, you did it with patience, levity, positivity and love. As a teacher, you were a factor in how I managed and connected with my own youths.

I greatly appreciate who you were with us and what we all did. As you'll see, I was going through my memory box (of my most prized material things) and found your going away card, which, to this day, is one of the most impactful things I ever received. I also, to this day, still LOVE Run Lola Run, and really appreciate that you exposed us to different ideas, cultures and experiences during such an important time of our lives. I will continue to follow you here, and I will continue to send positivity your way. I love you and hope the best for you and your family.

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Jim Brooks | Dec 16, 2020
Happy, Happy birthday Tallu!! I give thanks for your presence in our universe. You bring us a tremendous joy just watching you negotiate the absurdities of sharing this planet with others. Your joy still holds and shines through. Much peace and continued joy to you. 
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Robyn Bles | Dec 5, 2020
Dear one,
I thought you'd like to know that Stella, my lovely golden from your family's litter, is doing well.  She's well beyond her lifespan as a golden - and her red golden fur is now flecked with gray.  But her white face shows the joyful wisdom of her years.  She has brought me so much joy, companionship, and hilariourty through the years.  I only have you to thank for this most beloved family member.  You are in my prayers.  Prayers of thanksgiving for the laughter and joy you continue to share, and the abundant generosity that you embody to this day.  Stella The Wonder Pup, sends you her best wag and belly rub.
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Brit Foster Rothstein | Oct 29, 2020
Dear Tallu--I have been writing to you in my thoughts since I found out about your diagnosis and every day I think: this will be the day that I will write to you. I haven't written sooner for a lot of reasons--first--and I am sure I'm not alone--your diagnosis has truly shaken me. I haven't seen you in person for years (decades?)--but I think about our times together in high school--surely we are still sitting in the deliciously humid room at Sewanne listening to you read the story of how your parents met and, thus, created you (I always remember the line, "I bite my flop of fingernail")? It must have just been moments ago that we were working on the next Beyond Hate project, or singing along with Mrs. Bohem at the Leadership Retreat. Still, I haven't seen you outside of social me in many moons.
You wouldn't know that every time I see a forsythia I think about the pregnancy loss that you marked by planting that vibrant spray of yellow to meet you each spring. You wouldn't know that I always think of you when I hear "The Wood Song" because you started that song in a Facebook post and so many people added the remaining lyrics at a time when we needed to be reminded of those words. You also don't know that I--even as someone who feels eyes-wide open about the absolute unfairness of life--pretty much howled with desperate grief for you when I read about your diagnosis. You wouldn't know that weeks after learning about your illness, I sat watching my 9-year-old son, Rhys, sit on the edge of the bathtub while my eyes poured tears of anger and despair at the thought that you might not be given the same chance to watch your beautiful boy become the age where his features are an intricate blend of his past-baby self and his future-man self. You wouldn't know that when I run on my treadmill I fix my gaze on a dark spot of wall in the half-lit room and imagine that I can send energy from my legs to your brain. That as I run and push I picture the particles of strength moving from my home in North Carolina to your home in Nashville--that I hope they can somehow make you feel the power of the love that surrounds you--from those in your daily life and those who have known you only days. You also wouldn't know that on the day you posted your journal entry about your dad, I was wrestling with the same issues with some of those closest to me. I don't know how to reconcile any of those ideas and thoughts and understandings of the people I love and the beliefs that are at my core--I don't know what to do when those things don't match up. I loved your answer: love. That's basically what my sister said to me when we spoke on this topic earlier that day, she said, "If you had to go through chemotherapy, would you want this person there with you? If the answer is, 'Yes' then you can figure the other stuff out."

You wouldn't know that another reason that I haven't written you is because I don't want you to have to spend one minute listening to or doing anything that doesn't totally nourish you right now. I see through your journal entries that you are making both decisions about preparing dinner and navigating treatment of a pernicious disease--your time, always, but especially now, is so insanely precious. Today, though, when you shared about what you are facing in terms of your care, and you asked for this space to be a place for you to just be--I knew today would be the day I would write to you. I have wanted to give you something since I heard about your tumor--but what could I offer? Today, in your words, I saw an answer to what I and all of us can give you: this space to be your full self without any agenda or expectation. You've asked for that--which is another incredible lesson you are showing all of us--Ask for what you need! Tell people how you feel! I know I am not alone in knowing that your life is impacting my life. Your eventual death is impacting my eventual death and how I approach each day. After reading your post today about your seizure I thought, "I have to write to Tallu today--what if something terrible happens quickly and she wouldn't be able to know I'd been thinking of her." Then I literally laughed out loud at myself--of course, something could happen to you, but it could happen to me, too--your illness, especially against the backdrop of a pandemic, has shown us all that we have NO clue what's coming. How ridiculous that I would assume I have time to write you, but you might not have time to hear from me. So, in this exact minute that we are sharing--and in all of the minutes that we all share from here on--please know that you are both "held and free," as Glennon Doyle would say. We see you and we will create space for you today and always.
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Reagan (Baydoun) Ruedig | Oct 7, 2020
Dear Tallu,
You know that you have brought joy to pretty much any one you have touched. At least, I hope you know this. This is why you have such a huge support network, and a vast amount of prayers coming your way. 
I was devastated to hear of your diagnosis this summer, and it rocked me in many ways. Shortly thereafter I got my own diagnosis of breast cancer (on both sides - I'm in the 1%!). Though it was shocking and terrifying, a part of me also felt lucky. I have a cancer that is totally treatable. I'm going to be fine; I never once doubted it. But it made me all the more devastated for you, and the difficulty of the cancer that you have was made starker in contrast. 
Your writing is so beautiful and cutting. The preciousness of our children. Our desire to be there for them. I know every bit of it. 
The imbalance of how one feels verses how our bodies actually are - this is what I also relate to. I have always been active, always eaten well, always taken good care of myself! How did I develop 2 cancers at age 40? (Our breasts are biologically separate.) I felt totally normal, healthy, active. It's not fair. 
Thank you for writing about hope. Hope is so essential. I have so much hope for you and your family. I have hope that we will all get through 2020 and find better times on the other side. And I pray that you get many more years with your beautiful family. 
Sending you massive amounts of love (and hope)!
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Leann Barron | Jul 20, 2020
Darling Tallu, I have been blessed to be a close recipient of your light since you were born.  You continue to be a blessing to Jay and me, cousin Lillie and Daniel, and the little girls.  We are so very thankful for you and sending HUGE healing prayers and love to you as you set out on this unexpected journey.  We are here to provide any support to the family in the way of babysitting, garden watering, little errands that we can do for you Robbie and the children.  it's easy for us to run over to the house.  we are just a text or a phone call away. We love you and treasure you so much.  love to beautiful Sarah Tallu, Thom and your brothers.  we are here for you!  Leann and Jay.  xoxoxoxox
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