Strength to conquer tomorrow: Heartland mother digs deep to face biggest challenge yet

You never know how strong you really are until life throws some unexpected punches your way.
Updated: Sep. 1, 2020 at 9:45 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - If you look up the word, “strength” you’ll find lots of definitions. One of them says, “being physically strong.”

Tamatha Crowson is the picture of that, but lately she’s had to tap a deep inner strength that she didn’t even know she had.

“I’m seeing things in a whole new perspective,” said Tamatha Crowson. “The little things don’t stress me out, even the big things don’t stress me out because it’s all really insignificant.”

Working out has been a part of Tamatha’s life for as long as she can remember

She is currently the fitness director at 180 Fitness in Cape Girardeau.

Tamatha spends a lot of time training others, but also focuses on pushing herself.

“It’s been about four years that I’ve been as serious as I am now,” said Crowson.

She has entered competitions that require a lot of discipline, as she takes her body to new levels of muscularity and leanness.

“It’s really helped me in all areas of my life to see that something I thought was going to be so hard and impossible was actually possible,” said Crowson.

In a way, that helped to prepare the mother of two for the toughest challenge she has ever had to face.

“Losing Blake was by far, hands down the hardest thing I ever will have gone through,” said Crowson. “No parent wants to imagine this is what they will go through.”

Her son Blake was 18.

In late April, he died in a car crash.

“There were no other vehicles involved,” said Crowson. “He drove off the road into a big rocky ditch at 75 mph without braking.”

She knew he was going through some struggles, but had no idea things had spiraled that far out of control.

Tamatha hopes her pain serves as a wake up call to others.

“Even if you think your kid is okay, it’s important to know for sure,” said Crowson.

Not long after the tragedy, Tamatha found herself back at the gym...her comfort zone.

She is fighting through the only way she knows how.

“The pain reminds me of what I lost, and what I lost was a huge part of my life,” said Crowson. “Part of life is loss and someone told me grief is the cost of love.”

Even in that grief, a big part of her job is to encourage and uplift others, like Jessica Harrison.

Harrison became a trainer because of Tamatha’s influence.

“To Tamatha, thank you for one teaching me how to do that,” said Jessica Harrison. “And, thank you for pouring your heart, and your soul, and your everything into everything you do every single day.”

Tamatha has trained countless people over the years, helping them to transform and become their best.

“We’re a family outside of those workouts,” said Amy McElroy.

McElroy is one of those clients, and is happy to now be there for the trainer who has encouraged her.

“The fact that we could be a little bit of uplifting love and help to her, because she does that for everyone else,” said McElroy. “Any little bit we can do to help.”

“You get used to being on one side of the coin, and when it’s flipped, it’s little’s a lot humbling,” said Crowson.

The community is also supporting her in a big way.

She is currently in a contest to become Ms. Health and Fitness, where the winner gets to be on the cover of Muscle and Fitness Hers

Tamatha said one reason she is doing it is to encourage others to do things that scare them.

“Because it’s my belief that when you that do become a well rounded person, your life is richer, you gain skills and experience and a lot of self confidence,” said Crowson.

The winner also receives $20,000.

Tamatha said she would donate some of that money to help students with the same passion as her son.

He was a percussionist, and some of the winnings would fund drum corps trips for students, like Blake.

“He threw himself wholeheartedly into everything he did,” said Crowson.

Which is why she plans to do the same going forward.

Every time she looks down at her hand, Tamatha sees her tattoo that reads, “Breathe.”

It’s the same tattoo her son, Blake, got not too long before he died.

She said he got it because percussion directors would often remind the kids to breathe when they were making mistakes while playing.

Blake had the word inked on his hand to remind himself to relax.

Tamatha said when Blake’s brother went to get the same tattoo he asked the same artist to make it exactly like his brother’s.

The artist said Blake didn’t want the lettering to be perfect. He was adamant, Tamatha said, that the artist make deliberate mistakes to illustrate how life isn’t perfect, and we are to embrace mistakes as a reminder that we can always be better.

Blake’s family, friends and members of the community have now embraced that word.

“It’s a reminder to me that when I get really, really sad that all I have to do in that moment is just breathe,” said Crowson.

Even with her eyes clouded with tears, her focus is even more clear today.

She wants to be the best mother she can be to her other son, the best trainer to her clients, and in the best shape of her life.

All with her son’s memory guiding her along the way.

“I want to enjoy what’s happening at the moment, and live for today,” said Crowson.

For a link to the site where you too can vote for Tamatha in the Ms Health and Fitness contest, click here.

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