Tommy Sisson, memorial and postscript

Tommy Sisson 

Elaine Morris celebrates the life of a friend, Tommy Sisson


Remember when Tommy was going through his cancer and came back to my house for his final few days?  Well, after he passed away, we began planning his Memorial party instead of a funeral... just like he wanted.  I didn't want a typical "sign in book", so I bought a really nice leather bound journal for people to write in.  Stories, memories... whatever.  His sister, Anne and his brother, Ron wanted me to be the first entry in the journal.  That's what I'll send to you.  Ever so often, I write something else for the journal... kinda like talking to Tommy and helps me deal with him not being around to be the pain in my ass he was for 25+ years.  I'll also send you what I wrote for the 'party', just so you can read it.  I knew I couldn't read it in front of 150 people without totally loosing it, so I asked Trish Schmidt (at the last minute... the day OF the party) if SHE would read it for me.  She of course agreed.  Everyone knew the story of Tommy and I, so there wasn't a dry eye in the place.  After the party was over, I had several family members ask if I could send them a copy of it.  That was a very difficult day....  But...

Tommy Sisson
4-28-57 to 7-29-09 

 

Tommy Sisson



(Elaine's Journal Entry)

I’ve loved you for twenty five years, I’ll love you till my last breath.  The first five, I saw you every day.  The next twenty, I spoke with you almost weekly. Occasionally, you’d disappear, I’d worry.  I knew when you needed to recharge or try to figure out your life, you’d come back to your “safe place”.  You knew you were always welcomed with open arms, nothing was expected from you.  You could be yourself.  I’ll never forget the day we went to Emory for the oncologist appointment and he sent us down to the lab for the biopsy on your tongue.  I KNEW it would be OK, so I wasn’t worried.  You had a bad feeling.  Ten minutes after the test was done, the results were in.  It wasn’t what we wanted to hear.  I’ll never forget the look in your eyes.  I wanted to hold you, never let you go.  The next three years were so strange… like living someone else’s life.  I knew you were sick, but I knew I couldn’t let you go.  You were going to win the battle and slay the monster.  We were able to go on a couple rides, one long one… The Trail of Tears was the last long ride you were able to do, you had SUCH a good time.  You even met the real Santa Clause on that ride.  Time went by and I could see you become so frail, but I didn’t know ‘the time’ was getting closer so fast.  Then you began to have problems and the reality of what was going on began to set in.  I still thought there was at least a year or two left.  So many things I had to tell you and it would take that long.  Anne met us at Dr. Dollars office.  I thought he would tell us they would DO something that would help your breathing, but what he told us was the beginning of an experience only you could give us.  That was on a Friday.  We went back to your “safe place”, for what was suppose to be a couple days and to get hospice set up.  A little more than four days later, you left us.  It was a struggle for you, Tombo, but the last thirty minutes were worth every minute of the twenty five years you were in my life.  The peace you found at the end of your journey answered the one question I had been asking for twenty years.  Thank you for coming home to your “safe place” and allowing me to have this very special time with you.  I know Mom met you in our room and took you to a place where you could have peace, joy and have no pain.  I know you are always with me, but I miss seeing you and talking to you.  I guess I always will… BUT… I am so happy for you. 
 
RIP, my friend,
 
Elaine



Tommy Sisson



(Elaines's speech for Tommy's Memorial)

Let me begin by saying… you can tell a true friend when they agree to read something, out loud, in front of a bunch of people… before reading it through first.  I wanted to say a few words about Tombo but I also knew I could never get through it without making a blubbering fool of myself.  When I was thinking of people I could ask to do such a huge favor, I immediately thought of Trish.  The woman is a powerhouse!  Her love and her friendship are totally unconditional.  So… if SHE gets a little choked up, she’s just doing what I would have done (only she’s doing it in moderation).  With that being said…
 
I met Tommy on a Sunday afternoon, at Lake Jackson, twenty five years ago.  After a day of fun in the sun, I invited him to my house to grill some steaks that night.  He didn’t leave for almost five years.  We had so much fun and Tommy brought a lot of people into my life that I love to this day.  The timing wasn’t right for us, so he moved to Stockbridge and helped me find a house in Dacula.  After that we both went on our own journeys, but would continue to stay in touch at least once a week and would see each other often.  Eventually, we both got busy with our own life stuff and the visits were less frequent.
 
As the years flew by, there would be times that Tommy needed to take a break from whatever was going on with him and he’d show up at my house.  He knew how to get in and knew he was always welcomed there, even if I wasn’t home.  I never knew how long he’d stay.  Sometimes a few hours… sometimes several days.  It didn’t matter.  All that mattered was he was there, where he was safe, loved and valued for who he was.  Nothing was expected from either one of us.  Tommy and I had been through so much over the years that the love we had for each other was totally unconditional.  We would be there for each other, no matter what.  But, the timing was never right.
 
One day he called and asked me if I could go with him to a Dr appointment, at Emory.  He said his throat had been feeling strange and he was refered to an oncologist.  We went… he had a biopsy… and the news wasn’t what we wanted to hear.  The Dr threw out all kinds of options but nothing made sense.  Then we went for a pizza and a beer.  It seemed like an eternity before he decided to begin treatment.  Most of you know that story.  The times that I was able to be with him during all this meant so much to me.  I knew what was ahead, but I also knew how hard headed Tommy was and I was sure he could beat this thing.  He fought it with all he had but was becoming so frail.  Still, I wouldn’t accept anything other than… he would win this battle.
 
Then things started to go wrong.  He was in the hospital twice in a months time and was getting so weak.  Anne was running herself ragged taking care of him, Ron was doing the same, taking care of the house, Tommys dogs and Tommy.  Sylvia and I were pitching in, trying to do whatever we could to help out.  Eventually, on a Thursday night, he agreed to come home to my house… his safe place.  The next day, Friday, he had an appointment with the cardiologist and it just made sense for us to be at my house then.  Again, the news wasn’t what we expected to hear.  Anne had to be out of town the next few days, so Tommy and I went back to my house… and hospice was called in.  Glen came by Friday night to visit with Tommy and his eyes just lit up.  He was so happy to hear a voice other than mine.  I could tell he was relieved when I said I was going to the store.

Saturday was hectic and slowly flew by, if that makes any sense.  Sunday, Trish showed up to check on us and she didn’t leave until Wednesday evening.  She took care of everything, so I could focus on Tommy.  THAT’S what I mean about her love and friendship being unconditional.  I never asked her to come over, much less stay and take care of things… she just did it.  Sunday afternoon, Sylvia came over and moved in for the duration.  You know Tommy would have crawled out the window if he could have.  But… because Sylvia and I finally met, we could help each other get through what was quickly coming and something we couldn’t stop.  Anne got back into town on Monday night (I think) and moved in as well.  Poor Tombo… he had four women taking care of him and he couldn’t even enjoy it.
 
I think it was Sunday, or maybe Monday, I had lost track of time by then… Gary came over.  I hadn’t seen him in YEARS and he was a true God send.  He went back to see Tombo and it was like old buddies reuniting.  At one point, Tommy even talked to Gary.  It was only a few words, but powerful words.  Gary prayed with Tommy and had the chance to tell him so long and he’d see him later.  Shortly after that, everything started to do downhill fast and it was obvious Tommy wasn’t going to beat this monster.  He really had a tough time for what seemed forever, but with lots of prayers from a LOT of people… Tommy found that peace he had been fighting for. 
 
I’ve told so many people that the last thirty minutes of Tombos life was worth every minute of the past twenty five years.  So many times I had told Anne and Ron, “I’m finished!  I’m done!  No more of Tommy!”  But I could never shut him out… and I had no idea why I couldn’t just shut that door.  The last thirty minutes was the reason.  The timing was finally right!  In that last thirty minutes so many questions were answered.  He was finally at peace.  He was finally pain free.  His face was so relaxed, so peaceful… he looked happy.  As Tombos breathing slowed down, as he relaxed more and more and he looked so content… Trish asked him, “Tommy, what do you see?”  He replied, “Momma.”  That was it.  We knew everything was good.  Just a couple more minutes and breaths and Tombo was in the arms of his momma. 
 
Those few days Anne, Trish, Sylia and myself spent together taking care of the man we all loved, changed all of us in a way that’s hard to explain.  It’s one of those “You had to be there” things.  Only Tombo could pull off something like this.  I’m so grateful to him, Anne and Ron for this opportunity.  I also want to express my sincere condolences to all of Tommy’s family for your loss.  He was an amazing person that touched many.  Robert and Tammy… I know how much Tommy loved you guys and I want to thank you for being there for him.  Even after he left us, you guys were there pitching in, helping do whatever needed to be done.  Sylvia… treasure the time you had with Tommy.  Know that he loved you and don’t let anything diminish what you had with him.
 
Tombo… what can I say other than I love you and thank you for giving me the answers I needed.  I miss you so much, but I’m so thankful you are finally at peace and have the joy you so deserve.  You will always be with me in my heart.  Give Mom a big hug for me, I still miss her.  Rest in peace my dear friend…..


Tommy Sisson
4-28-57 to 7-29-09 


Elaine Morris
Dacula, GA March, 2010

Tommy Sisson, postscript




1994 Honda Shadow 100 Ace

Well, Tombo got me again. I have to laugh. When I wanted to start riding again, Tommy tried to give me his 1994 Honda Shadow Ace 1100. It had been sitting in his shed, not being ridden, since he got his Harley. It had probably been sitting for 6-7 years, tires dry rotted, fluids all gummed up... but I said, "Thanks, but no thanks. I want to buy my own." It was that stubborn, "I don't want to be obligated" thing. Silly, since Tombo and I had the relationship we had, but you know me.
 
So he let Justin use the bike for three years. Justin did all the stuff the bike needed. New tires etc. Well, as you know, Tommy passed away and Tommy's sis and bro have now given the Ace to me.
 
It's absolutely beautiful, but I still prefer my Aero. It's such a different ride, mainly due to technology being so much better now I have a friend that knows Hondas inside and out, so I'll take it to him to give it the once over, just to make sure everything is good. Justin had new tires put on a few months ago, as well as all fluids changed and new cables. I can't afford to 'make it my own', so I'll probably leave it as if it is (all original) and just ride it locally. I found engine guards on sale but I just don't have the extra cash to do anything to it. When I do, the guards will be the first thing.

I was going to give it to Justin, but he has decided the bike did not 'fit' him and did not want to make any changes to Tommy's bike, so I'm keeping it. This will be the 'family bike' so Justin will still have a ride. I said I just have to laugh, because after all these years, I DID end up with Tommy's bike.




1994 Honda Shadow 100 Ace




1994 Honda Shadow 100 Ace





1994 Honda Shadow 100 Ace


Elaine Morris
Dacula, GA April, 2010