Thank you to everyone who attended Amy’s memorial yesterday. It was such a beautiful day, and a perfect location to remember her. I was overwhelmed by the love and support, and I think she would have approved. (Though she probably would have thumped me for a few of the pictures I had displayed…)
I’m so grateful for everyone who helped with the planning and setup and all the rest.
It wasn’t a formal service, but more of a celebration and remembrance with family and friends and food. We were in one of the park’s largest pavilion areas, and we filled it to overflowing. One more sign of just how many people loved her.
Some of us took a little time to talk about Amy, sharing stories and memories and talking about how much she meant to us. I know there were others who wanted to speak, but were hurting too much. Amy would have been the first to hug you and tell you that’s all right too.
I asked my son how he felt after he got up to talk about his mama. He said it hurt to do, but it also felt good. I thought that summed the day up beautifully. It did hurt. It still does, and it will for a long time. But it felt good to be with people who loved her, and to remember and celebrate how amazing she was.
A few people asked me to share what I said at the beginning, so I’m copying that below.
All of our love and gratitude to all of you who’ve helped us through this past year, both in person and online. Your support helped a lot. Thank you.
For anyone I haven’t met yet, I’m Amy’s husband Jim.
There’s a saying I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, that shared grief is lessened, while shared joy is increased. That’s what we’d like to do today as we remember and celebrate Amy. Find support for our grief and pain, and share stories and good memories. And good food, of course.
So rather than a formal, structured service, we’re going to give anyone who wants a chance to say a few words about Amy. But I’m going first, because I have the microphone.
The problem is that I could talk about Amy for ages. We knew each other for about thirty years. We were friends and more for … most of that time. I feel lucky to have had her in my life for so long.
And I’m angry that we won’t have more time together. Like most of us here, I’m angry, and I’m hurting, and I’ve gone through a ridiculous number of tissues in these past weeks and months. There were so many things Amy and I still wanted to do. It’s not right, and it’s not fair.
But that’s not what I want to talk about today.
Amy was the kindest, most compassionate person I’ve ever known. It’s one of the many things I loved about her. She cared. She would do everything in her power to help people who were hurting, and to make people happy.
Last month, Grandma Cheryl had driven to Wisconsin to visit her sister Sandy. Things with Amy were starting to go downhill. We ended up calling Cheryl and saying maybe she should cut her visit short and come home today, a day earlier than planned.
I thought Amy was resting and not paying attention.
I was wrong.
After that phone call, I turned around and Amy was giving me The Look. She asked me, “What was that?”
I started to explain.
I don’t remember exactly the words Amy used, but the gist was something like, “Pick up that phone and tell my mama she can enjoy her visit with her sister. I’ll still be here tomorrow, and she needs some time away from this stupid hospital.”
Eight months of chemo and hospitalization and various complications, and there she was, worrying about her mother’s happiness.
She didn’t like to be the center of attention, and she didn’t like confrontation, but she was so protective of people. Fiercely protective. And if you needed her, she was always there.
She was the same way with her clients. She worked full-time as a child and family therapist at Community Mental Health. And because that wasn’t enough, she also worked with children and families at Guide to Personal Solutions.
And she was so good at it. This wasn’t her job; it was her passion. She cared about every one of her clients. I can’t tell you how many times I’d hear her pull into the garage after a long day, and then … nothing. Eventually, I’d go peek in the garage to see what was going on. Inevitably, I’d find her sitting in her van on the phone, talking to a client in crisis.
She didn’t get paid for all those extra hours, those late-night phone calls and texts with people who needed help. She did it because people were hurting, and she had the power to do something. To help them through a difficult time. To offer support and encouragement and suggestions.
Now, there were times when her generosity could become a problem. Every year around Christmas, we’d have the same conversations about budget and gifts. Every year, we’d have the same follow-up conversation where she’d say, “Honey?”
“I may have gone a little overboard again this year.”
“How much is ‘a little’?”
To which she would reply, “I love you.”
It was just who she was. Money wasn’t a priority. Making her family happy was.
I look at our kids, and I see that same kindness. Last week, in the midst of the hardest and the worst thing we’ve ever had to deal with, my daughter comes up the stairs late one night and heads for the door.
I asked her where she was off to. She told me a coworker was sick and needed to go to Urgent Care. Skylar was going to drive her and keep her company.
My son Jamie has started coming up to me sometimes and just saying, “You look sad. Do you need a hug?” The other night, as he was getting ready for bed, he told me, “You need to go to bed soon too, Daddy. You need your sleep to stay healthy.”
The worst time of our lives, and there are our children, taking care of other people who need help. I see her in both of you, and I’m so proud of you. Your mom is so proud of you.
I learned so much from Amy in the 30 years I knew her. Especially in the 15 years we were married. Not just the little stuff, like why 11:11 was the most magical time of the day or how to pronounce sauna. I learned about kindness and patience and compassion. She helped me to be a better father and a better husband and, I hope, a better human being.
She had that effect on the people around her. Simply by being her.
They say people live on in our memories, and that’s true. I think they also live on in our actions. I see her in the kindness and compassion of those who knew her. And I find myself trying harder to be kind. Not just because the world needs more of that, but because, if she is keeping an eye on me … I want to make her proud.
September 9, 2019 @ 10:01 am
Your words were beautiful. She sounds like a wonderful person. Thank you for sharing this.
September 9, 2019 @ 10:13 am
I didn’t know her and I don’t know you, but I cried a bit reading your words. She must have been a wonderful person.
Sending you and your loved ones best wishes and lots of strength and kind thoughts.
September 9, 2019 @ 10:13 am
My deepest condolences, Jim.
September 9, 2019 @ 10:14 am
That was beautiful, more than. I’m so sorry for your loss.
Kari aka Mom
September 9, 2019 @ 10:20 am
Jim, the service was beautiful! A beautiful tribute to a beautiful woman. Jamie’s words were perfect. It takes a lot of strength to be able to get up and speak at a memorial. I wrote pieces for both of my grandparents but couldn’t find the strength to read them. Now that the service is over, and some form of normalcy attempts to return, know that there are people here for you too. Allow Amy’s kindness lead you to the people you need to learn to live this next phase of life. She will be with you. The sun on a cloudy day, the rainbow after a storm, the memory that leaks out of your eye. I was once told that when a tear runs down your face it is your loved one sending you a message.
September 9, 2019 @ 10:44 am
What a beautiful tribute. She leaves a legacy so much larger than I’m sure she realized. My deepest condolences to you and your family, Jim.
September 9, 2019 @ 10:57 am
You do make her proud.
September 9, 2019 @ 10:58 am
Thanks Jim. I never met Amy, but I now I have through your words. Sending you all the love and hugs.
September 9, 2019 @ 11:38 am
It was people like Amy who helped me through my years-long recovery and rehabilitation from a traumatic brain injury. Such people are as rare as they are priceless, and the people who enable them to be so giving and strong for others are the same sort of unicorn. I think the thing that comforts me the most is that you said your children have adopted the best of their sweet mother. May that seed bloom into wholesome fruits they in turn can offer to others. Amy clearly lives on in all the people whose lives she’s touched and transformed.
September 9, 2019 @ 1:43 pm
She sounds like she was an amazing and wonderful person. I’m sorry I never had the chance to meet her; it would have enriched my life. I can see why you miss her and hope the memory of your time together will be a comfort.
Greg van Eekhout
September 9, 2019 @ 5:00 pm
Beautiful and eloquent words, Jim. Thank you for sharing them.
September 9, 2019 @ 6:32 pm
Beautifully said. This is a tough time for you; for a while, I suspect every memory will hurt, because it’s all just still that close. But in time… may these memories stay bright, and always with you. She sounds like a remarkable person.I am so sorry that you did not have all the time together that you so clearly wanted and deserved to have.
September 9, 2019 @ 6:36 pm
She sounds so much like my Robin, it hurts all over again to read this. Take care of yourself, and if you can’t do that then let the kids take care of you.
September 9, 2019 @ 7:33 pm
Thank you for posting this. You all are in my thoughts.
September 9, 2019 @ 11:25 pm
A beautiful tribute. Peace be upon her. And may you, your kids, and all her loved ones always be warmed by her afterglow.
September 11, 2019 @ 10:22 am
Sounds to me as if the weather and celebration of her life were (almost) as beautiful as her soul.
Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little
September 15, 2019 @ 2:55 am
There’s something both sad and joyful in hearing about someone who’s gone now who brought so much love and kindness into the world–I’m sorry I never met her, and the world is the less without her, but I’m glad she was here for all the people who’s lives she touched. Thank you for sharing your memories. Continuing to hold you and your family in my thoughts.
September 15, 2019 @ 4:30 am
I never met Amy, and now I’m sorry I didn’t.
September 20, 2019 @ 1:40 pm
Jim, I stopped by to see if there was any word on the next book in the Terminal series, but of course, stopped in my tracks when I saw the post about Amy’s memorial. Your remembrances of Amy are wonderful and I’m sorry she’s not there to keep on being the person you talked about. You and your family are in our thoughts.
Ernest, Esther, and the pack.
Pixel Scroll 9/14/19 We Are All In The Pixel, But Some Of Us Are Looking At The Scrolls | File 770
September 21, 2019 @ 2:45 am
[…] MEMORIAL. Jim C. Hines tweeted the link to his post about the Memorial held for his wife, Amy, on September 8, a touching and highly personal […]
Barbara 'Birdy' Cox-Diamond
September 22, 2019 @ 1:18 am
“11:11 was the most magical time of the day”
It is!!! (kyool when I find someone else who thinks that too)
October 20, 2019 @ 7:51 am
Sending you sympathy and respect and hope.