Tammy’s Story

Her world was shifting. Brain cancer, the doctor had told them. She almost couldn’t believe the news. Her husband, a veteran, had been diagnosed with brain cancer, and within weeks, had passed away. She should be sad, she told herself. However, this former-teacher-turned-homemaker had been asked to quit her job, stay home, and take care of the house. She was on time limits any time she ran an errand and the feeling of being controlled was completely oppressing. So, sad? No. More like relief. But, what do you do when you’ve been a homemaker for the last several years, there’s no health insurance money to fall back on, and now you’re being evicted from the house that you’ve been renting? These were the questions that Tammy needed to answer, and quickly.

She had nowhere to go. As soon as the landlord caught wind of her husband’s passing, and knowing that he was their provider, she was served an eviction notice as soon as the payment was late. Fortunately, her daughter took her in for a short time while she was sorting everything out. Despite Tammy’s master’s degree in education administration and bachelor’s degree in elementary education, plus 20 years of teaching under her belt, Tammy was hard-pressed to find work. She couldn’t go back into the education field because she needed to be re-certified, having been out of teaching for so long. Unfortunately, that cost money, which she didn’t have. She was overqualified for most other jobs. Where you would think a dazzling resume like that would be a good thing, when it comes to factory work or even fast food, it was not. She was between a rock and a hard place.

Then she reconnected with an old friend. They were hanging out all the time and having a blast; it was the best she’d felt in years. Her natural extrovert personality was suddenly brightened by finally having the friendship of someone besides her husband. Her friend’s health issues were a huge concern though. She wanted to help, so she tried to get him to eat healthier and be more active, but it wasn’t working. One day, he knew something wasn’t right, and he knew he needed to get to a doctor. He decided to drive himself but had a stroke on the way there and crashed his car into a ditch. When police arrived on scene, they rushed him to the hospital. Tammy was by his side, but within 3 days, he had passed away. She was devastated. First her husband, then her friend. The hurt and grief was more than she could bear. So, she withdrew. She closed off the world, closed off herself, and closed off her heart, not letting anyone else back in for fear of the pain of losing someone else. She wasn’t working, she was drinking, and things at home were getting rocky.

Not sure what else to do for her, her daughter brought her to Gospel Rescue Mission. Since being here, Tammy has opened her heart up a little, just enough for some of our women to get through Tammy’s wall. “I was able to find me again,” she said about coming to GRM. “There’s something healing about being around other people that can share their stories, especially when they’re based on Bible verses.” What’s Tammy’s favorite verse? Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” And she’s finally starting to look at life with this in the back of her mind. She has a great relationship with her daughter now, she got her re-certification to teach, and she’s back on the job hunt. Tammy is working towards a better life for herself, and while she’s not where she needs to be, she is trying to get there.