My newsletter is a no-fuss monthly missive of the things, people and places that inspire me, make me think and bring a smile. The content is usually exclusive to the people on my list. This month is a very personal special edition that I want to share with everyone.
This special edition of the newsletter is a celebration of wisdom, strength, grace, curiosity and wonder – a few of the qualities embodied by my friend Tamara.
I’ve been carrying your purse. It makes me feel closer to you.
I was at Lowe’s today looking at cabinet hardware. Please forgive my choices. You know I haven’t made a paint or design decision without your input in 20 years. I’ll never have your impeccable eye for design.
Oh, how many nights did I sleep on your sofa over the last two years, waking up to Lark’s persistent nudges? (She’s the best alarm clock.) I will never praise your illness, but I will be forever grateful for the opportunity of time it gave us. As my life fell apart around me your life slowed down, and together we acknowledged the divine timing of it all.
From the outside, it looked like I was taking care of you, but we know the truth. You and your home were my sanctuary. On the days it felt like I couldn’t breathe you were my lifeline.
I know I’ve not yet begun to truly feel the impact of your passing. In time, my heart will break a million times over. I’ll shed countless tears. I will ache for one more conversation.
And I will give praise for the pain because it stands as a testament to our friendship, to decades of shared adventures, and to the love of soul sisters.
I know you have my back – soaring with the angels and hanging with “the gang.”
All my love,
TAMARA ANNE GUNTER
February 27, 1971 - May 19, 2019
Tamara Anne Gunter, 48, born in Phoenix, Arizona, grew up chasing fireflies and photos in Austin, Texas, where she lived with two Golden Retrievers underfoot. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design from Arizona State University, she worked in the creative field as graphic designer, art director for Sirius Publishing and brand identity manager for 21 years at Tivoli and IBM. While the focus of her advancing career with IBM centered on global marketing and technology, her art and heart remained in travel photography. Tamara’s photographic work was shaped by her design discipline and ethos. Her artistic point of view was stirred by her grandparents’ humanitarian work abroad and cultivated through her own journeys from Cape Town to Sichuan to Cappadocia and beyond. As a fine art photographer, Tamara explored manifestations of solitude and the culture and character that is born of landscape. It is the Spirit of Place that compelled her.
In spite of a terminal diagnosis that gave her too few years to live, Tamara filled the last 15 years of her life with travels, her career, her adoring Goldens, family, and friends. With pen in hand, she checked off bucket lists, to do lists, estate lists, and beyond. She passed from this world, surrounded by her loving family and friends, as she wished, in her home. The only box left unchecked. . .obituary. The item was given to me and, as her loving Mother, I was honored to check the last box for her.
Tamara is survived by her father, Thomas G. Gunter and wife Donna, mother Elizabeth Anne Boykin, brother Thomas A. Gunter, niece and nephews Thomas Allen, Ava Delaine, and Forrest Calvin Gunter and step-sister Shannon Fralick, and a host of precious family and friends. It was Tamara’s request that memorials be made to Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation and Gold Ribbon Rescue. If you are interested in furthering Tamara’s legacy, see her photography books at tamaragunter.com.
And now it is time for Tamara to have the last word: I have planned a most secret and special Celebration of Life. It will be a delightful, euphoric celebration. I am excited and look forward to reuniting with our family and loved ones who have passed. I suspect that they will join me in being with you in spirit at this celebration.
Written by Anne Boykin
Tres Amigas. Our Last Hurrah.