This weekend I learned of a neighbor’s passing. On April 30, Thomas Victor Terry died in his home at the age of 83. I will miss him.
The first time I met Tom was over twenty years ago. I was the mother of a young child then and Tom walked over to introduce himself. He told me he heard our son playing in the yard and enjoyed our son’s laughter. Tom invited us to come over any time we wanted to use his pool. He said he did not get in it anymore but loved when the neighborhood children did. We took Tom up on his offer and have enjoyed his pool ever since.
More than his pool, I enjoyed getting to know Tom. He was a natural storyteller. He regaled me and my family with stories of growing up at Holston Home for Children where his mother served as a “house mother.” It was at Holston Home that Tom met the love of his love, Louise, who later married him and bore Tom three sons. Tom once told me he had the pool and the beautiful gardens built just for Louise’s enjoyment.
Tom was an avid reader as am I. It was fun to sit poolside with Tom and discuss books and ideas. I remember being impressed with Tom’s breadth of knowledge and his willingness to examine uncomfortable issues such as racism and sexism. I suspect Tom’s experiences while stationed in Mississippi strongly influenced his anti-racism stance. Some of the stories he shared were horrific accounts of discrimination and violence, and clearly, made an impression.
Local folks may have seen Tom Terry on Daytime Tri-Cities last spring when he received the first Happygram for his volunteer work at Crumley House, a brain injury rehabilitation center. Tom would go to Crumley House every week to share his love of poetry with the residents. He would encourage the residents to write their own poetry and frequently told me how wonderful their poetry was.
Tom was a huge supporter of Shakti in the Mountains. He frequently made donations to the Little Free Pantry and bought the original Sam’s Club Membership so I could get good deals on food. Tom attended Shakti celebrations and often referred people to the center. Tom’s last communication with me was to find a time to introduce me to Daytime Tri-Cities. He wanted to get me an interview so “more people would know about Shakti.”
I am sad I did not get to say good-bye and let Tom know how much he meant to me. I will remember Tom for his stories and his innate kindness. In honor of Tom, I wish to share one of his poems.
GARDENING by Tom Terry
A hymn to hope
Some of the seeds planted tentatively in the fall
Have not come up
They lie stillborn
Somewhere beneath the soil. Decaying.
But others. The stronger and better ones
Have pushed up thru the layers of rocks and soil
To stand there in the cold spring air
That’s the way it is with growing things.
Never knowing at the start
Which will make it
And which will fail.
But the thing to hold fast to,
And never relent on,
Is to stand in your faith
And simply sowing
Kim Bushore-Maki is a soul-driven entrepreneur who understands the undeniable urge to create a business and a life filled with meaning and purpose. Her vision of opening a center where women could heal and grow led her to open Shakti in the Mountains in Johnson City, Tennessee: a place where the creative, feminine energy is nurtured and valued.
Since 2010, Kim continues to build and to support a healthy, vibrant community and now guides retreats, teaches yoga, and provides one-on-one services for women who want an immersion experience into the life-affirming, Shakti energy.
Kim’s training as a therapist and yoga teacher allows her to safely and compassionately guide women on a heart-centered journey to Self, where women re-connect with their beautiful, authentic spirit.
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