In Memory of Tanza, Dance!

The morning is cold, windy, gray.  It is June, and I still wait for summer to arrive here.  Not that there hasn’t been sun – there have been some incredibly beautiful (albeit cold) days.  Just this past Saturday, however the day was warm AND sunny. What a gift! A proper send off, I think, for my sister Tanza.   She and I share the love of warm and sun, and often we laughingly wondered what the heck we were doing here in gray, rainy Washington.purple wildflower

Even with all the rain, we did enjoy the spring here.  Tanza delighted in seeing different flowers and birds than what she’d known in Florida, and for me – well, I’ve lived in the desert so long I’d forgotten how many colors of flowers there can be.  I am continually astonished at the beauty around me – flowering trees and tulips and rhododendrons and bleeding hearts and lilacs and flowers I have no names for – an abundance of color and fragrance!

flyingTanza left here on Thursday.  I wish she could have stayed to feel the warmth of the sun on Saturday, but it was not to be. Instead, she flew free, dancing I believe with the lightness that can only come from leaving your body behind.  She once told me that the thing she loved most about dancing (her training was in classical ballet) were the high leaps. The sense of flying, stretching out her arms to the sky, leaving the ground, being free.  Living Large.

For all of her love of flying, she also loved the earth.  She helped our niece design her garden, and taught her how to plant so as to attract birds and butterflies.  She loved the trees, guardians of the land, and knew the devas that inhabit the growing things.  From ocean to ocean, she loved the water.   Atlantic ocean,  Pacific ocean, the Baltic Sea and more – in all her travels she found the water to be her home, and it fed her spirit.

I can’t imagine anyone living with more grace and beauty and love than my sister Tanza.  She was a dancer, an artist, always willing to step out on a new adventure, someone who cared deeply.  Even in her pain, she saw beauty, thought of others, cared for life.   She understood more than many that life is sacred, that life is love, that life should be lived, fully.  She lived her life in such a way that all who came in contact with her felt something special, and she leaves behind a legacy of love among many, many people.

DanceThese are her words:  “We are creative beings, so in memory of me… do not send flowers, but contribute to your favorite charity, or call your mom, or plant a garden.  In memory of me, I request that you light a candle to the angels, dance to your favorite song, write a poem, in short, be creative!  Plant a garden,  turn a pot,  do something you’ve always wanted to do.”

Today, in memory of Tanza, in memory of all those who have gone before us, in honor of all those you love, in honor of your life – Dance.  Do something you have always wanted to do.  Don’t put it off.  Live your life with full attention.  Love the sacredness in this life!  It is a gift to be here – honor that, and celebrate your very molecular existence.  We are, each of us, a miracle of Love.

~om shanti~

Lori Ruth Smith

Tanza Lorraine, aka Lori Ruth Smith
October 18, 1955 – June 2, 2011


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19 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What a tribute….wow! You said it all….”Do something you have always wanted to do. Don’t put it off. Live your life with full attention. Love the sacredness in this life! It is a gift to be here – honor that, and celebrate your very molecular existence.”

    Thank you Tanza….for imprinting forever in my mind…that life is indeed to be lived….without fear, without question, without a doubt.

    I will ALWAYS remember the love so obviously felt between you, AMY…..and your sister TANZA.

    With a smile and a wink,


    • Thank you Linda. And so we Live….. !

  2. Amy-

    A beautiful memorial to your sister. Thank you for sharing her life and it’s lessons with us.


    • Thanks Kathy – always a pleasure to hear from you too.

  3. I never met Tanza, but Jude is a good friend of mine and told me alot about her, her attitude, love for life and strength, I am happy to be a third party and to learn about a wonderful person/friend/family member and will hope to help carry on her vision for the future. May she finally be healthy in another world and rest in peace in her memory and lessons live on forever. I wish I had the opportunity to meet her in person but I feel I have… Deb Anthony

    • Deb – thank you for posting. I love seeing how her life has touched so many…. even those she did not meet in person!

  4. Thank you for sharing your sister with me. I never met her but thru your words, I feel her spirit. Brave, Free, generous, joyous, loving. At last she is free to dance and soar in the cosmos. How lucky she was to have you for a sister.
    Love and peace.

    • (hugs) Helen. You have been with me through this past year, and I so appreciate your spirit as well.

  5. What a beautiful tribute to your sister. From your words I could see her beauty and spirit. My she dance for ever in your heart. – Sharon

    • Thank you Sharon. She will dance on, and we will keep on laughing with her forever!

  6. Oh Amy, what a wonderful tribute to Tanza and what a wonderful soul you are. And love does live on, it will always be there. Hugs and love to you and all.


    • Thank you for your words. Hugs and big love right back at you, Ann.

  7. Amy – I love what you’ve written and the photos capture Tanza’s pure joy in movement. She seemed so wise about what it means to live an authentic life. That is rare. We at Sabai are all thinking of you Amy.

    • Thank Kristen. You know the joy of a dancer! 🙂

      And thanks to all of you at Sabai – you all have been with us both this past year, if only in consciousness, and I can’t tell you how much it has helped to think of the laughter in those yoga classes. You all are an amazing bunch of people, and I am fortunate to know you.

  8. Amy, thank you for being such an amazing sister to Tanza and, by virtue of your thoughts and postings, a friend to her friends who loved her so and will miss her always. Just goes to show that all that amazing love and beauty ran in her family! You are awesome…and Tanza…well, I think you said it all so perfectly! Her’s was an extraordinary, well-lived life, rich with so much that many of us never achieve, though we may live decades longer than she. We are blessed to have known her.

    • Kathie ~ and to you for being such an amazing friend. I will be in touch soon.

  9. […] My sister had cancer.  Metastatic, it moved into the bones.  In March, here in Washington State, my sister was admitted to hospice.  On June 2nd, 2011 she died, peacefully and surrounded by love.  You can read her last blog post here, and my own words in her honor here. […]

  10. Beautiful, heart-breaking, inspiring post. So sorry for your loss. You have made a very lovely tribute to your sister.

    • Thank you, Anne. Thank you for finding this post and bringing it to my attention today, almost 2 years later. It is good to come back and see it again.

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