Life is not a straight line. It's a downpour of gifts, please – hold out your hand

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Precious Amy Ann

"Breathe.  Let go.  And remind yourself that this moment is the only one you know you have for sure."  ~Oprah Winfrey

I'm having one of those I-don't-know-how-to-begin kind of moments.  So much has happened in the last couple of weeks, so much that I don't have words for.  The photo above is of my beautiful sister-in-law, Amy, and my two little was taken less than two weeks ago, just three days before she passed away from complications of Pulmonary Hypertension.  She was just barely 43-years-old.

It doesn't seem like a coincidence that the post I wrote right before this one was entitled, "Don't Wait."  Here are a few words from that post...

We tell ourselves
there we will be another time to paint it
to write it, to sing it, to dance it—to be it
that tomorrow
will be a better day to open wider, to hold closer, to say
I love you.

I'm so very thankful we didn't wait to visit her on that Wednesday—even though that meant taking our girls out of school in the middle of their day and driving the hour and a half to Portland.  I'm so thankful that Lily (my little one on the right) didn't forget to bring the little hat she had knitted for Amy for her birthday and that we got to see the sweetness of her wearing it.   I'm so thankful we took this treasure-of-a picture, though a little on the blurry side, it’s the precious last we took of her.  I’m so thankful that my husband and I got to hold her close and say I love you three days before her body let go.  I’m so thankful that my little girls had many precious years with an aunt who fully adored them in her down-on-the-floor playful, silly, fun-loving way. 

As I read the words that are pouring in about Amy, there are things that are repeated over and over again—simple words about her beaming smile, her constant giving, her genuineness, the way she made everyone in the room laugh until their bellies hurt, how she always made people feel loved and appreciated, what a shining light she was. 

One of my most favorite memories of this precious woman is when, just moments after giving birth to my second little girl, she so tenderly massaged my feet.  I won’t ever forget this simple act of love, how she made me feel like a princess at a time when I may have otherwise felt just the opposite, how tuned in she was to know how to love me best in that moment.   And I think with such gratitude about how, years later, I got to return the favor while she sat in her hospital bed sick and tired and struggling for breath. 

I think about the sunny afternoon she piled my girls into her light blue Volkswagen bug and cruised around my mother-in-law’s backyard (she has a very big backyard), giggling and waving and honking the horn—what a sweet, simple memory this is, one that will continue to make us smile for a long long time.

I feel deeply blessed to have been your sister-in-law, Amy Ann.  Thank you for reminding me to breathe deeply, to love fully--to not wait.  The way you lived your life, the way you gave with the whole of yourself shows me with such simple clarity what matters.  I, like so many others lucky enough to know and love you, will forever carry you close.   Even though your body is no longer here, your spirit shines ever so bright—the precious gift that will forever & always keep on giving.  I love you so, sparkling one.

Beautiful, shining Amy on her 41st birthday celebration--just two years ago


  1. oh julia,
    amy passed...
    she was so beautiful!
    her face! blessed be!
    huge + tender hugs to you, dear friend.

  2. You have been in my heart, in my thoughts. Sending you so much love.

  3. Embracing you and your precious family, my dear friend. This is the most beautiful expression of love here. Loving you so much.

  4. that was precious, julia. xoxo kindy

  5. Julia,
    I’m sending you and your family much light and LOVE. Your words are a beautiful tribute to your precious Amy Ann.

  6. What lovely words you have gifted us with, the wonderful memories of a life well lived. I'm sending prayers of love to you and your family.

  7. It took me a long time to read through this post, there are so many tissues that I needed to reach for. What a beautiful, loving way to show Amy's life. Jules you are such an amazing soul to capture your sister in law in such a way. She will be truly missed and she was so lucky to have such a warm and giving family.
    Love you all so much,

  8. sending you love and light...i'm so sorry for your family's loss

  9. Thank you, each of you, for your love-soaked words...they are the warmest, coziest blanket for me right now.

    Sending love back your way...

  10. Dear Julia,

    Thank you for such a beautiful, heartfelt post and for sharing the ways in which Amy Ann touched your life and the lives of so many more.

    There is incredible power in telling someone that we love them before they move on. It requires strength and humility in equal measure.

    We are moved that you got to tell Amy Ann that you love her and took full advantage of the opportunity to repay her favour of many years ago by massaging her feet. There is something sacred about that.

    Go gently at this tender time.

    Sending love across the ocean,
    Elloa and Nige xxx

  11. Oh, Julia, I am so, so sorry to hear of your family's sorrow and the loss of your precious Amy Ann. Your words, your memories shine with the love of remembering one so dear -- what a tender, joyful remembrance. May you feel loved and upheld right now, precious Julia. I'm so sorry and am sending much love.

  12. I am so sorry to hear about Amy's passing away. She was an awesome lady.
    Shaheena Faisal

  13. I have been thinking of you extra and sending so much love your way. This was such a beautiful post to clearly a beautiful soul. I am so sorry. XOXOXOXOXO

  14. so much love to you and yours
    I am so sorry for this loss and so grateful for you sharing this reminder of living each moment
    thank you
    and thank you also for sharing the spirit of Amy with us, she will indeed live on!

  15. There are not enough words to express my gratitude for each of you beauties. From all the little parts of me, thank you.

  16. Thanks for this, Julia. Amy was my friend, co-conspirator, inspiration, and so much more, for 33 years. She loved your girls so much and talked about them with a lot of pride. Thanks for sharing her memory with new people. May it live forever.


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♥ Julia