I took this picture of my cousin, Tawnya Lynn Albertson, just a couple of months ago, on the 4th of July. Tawnya went in the hospital just a few days after this picture was taken. Tawnya went home to be with Jesus last Friday afternoon, September 11th. She didn't feel good the day I took this picture, but she smiled for me anyway, and that SMILE sums up her life.
Tawnya had Muscular Dystrophy. She walked as a toddler, but the disease weakened her muscles and by the time she was 3 she was in a wheelchair. As the years went by, the disease also took from her the use of her arms, and, eventually, she could only move her fingers just enough to guide her wheelchair. But it couldn't take her spirit, or her determination, or her will to live.
Tawnya was the most truly GOOD person I have ever had the privilege of knowing. In spite of unbelievable physical challenges, and almost constant pain these last few months, Tawnya ALWAYS had a smile on her face. She laughed, she joked, she made everyone feel special. Tawnya never focused on what she couldn't do, she focused on what she could do. Tawnya never wanted sympathy, she wanted to be loved, so she could give love in return.
Tawnya loved music and had met nearly every star in country music. Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, Alabama, Vince Gill, Tawnya had her picture taken with all of them. Tawnya was a poster child for the Muscular Dystrophy Association because she wanted to help others.
But most of all, Tawnya loved her mother, my Aunt Kathy, with a love that is beyond description.
Tawnya WILLED herself to live longer than the doctors ever expected because she worried what would happen to her mother when she was gone. My Aunt Kathy lost her son, Troy, who also had MD just a few weeks after his 18th birthday in 1987. Kathy lost her husband, Bill, in 2003. So, you see, Tawnya and Kathy depended on each other, they leaned on each other. Kathy was Tawnya's legs and arms, and Tawnya was Kathy's strength.
My heart is broken, and I will miss Tawnya every single day. But because Tawnya had accepted Jesus as her Savior, and I have accepted Jesus as my Savior, I KNOW that I will see her again in heaven, for eternity. Today, Tawnya is perfect, healed in Jesus name. My life is richer for having had the privilege of being a part of her life.
I miss you Tawnya Lynn, and I love you, and I will see you again.