Saying Good-Bye

I recently wrote this tribute to share at my friend Amy’s memorial service. Amy was one month older than me and just celebrated her 28th birthday a few weeks before she died. She was in and out of the hospital for her entire life, and truly lived as if every day could be her last– fully & completely.  I want a life that is characterised by how I loved people. I am sure there will be more on this topic as I continue to process the loss of such a substantially influential person in my life, but for now, I would love to share this tribute:

Amy & Laura: Friends Forever

My name is Laura McCarthy, but my best friend knew me as Laurda Pendle. Our parents grew up together in Midland, Texas and Amy and I have shared life together for as long as I can remember.

I started to write the line, my favourite thing about Amy is- and when I looked up, I had written it 16 times. There are so many favourite things about Amy- her laugh, her sense of humour, the way she prompts you to tell everyone her favourite stories, her fashion sense, her love for good food with good friends- there’s nothing like a Chicken Lala, a birthday cake, or Chilis girls’ night shared with Amy— especially if you are drinking a Shirley Temple with it. Amy was known for having consecutive birthday cakes— because when you are around Amy, life is a celebration, and so we did.

Amy was so gracious. Amy lived with injections, blood draws, pills, IVs, wires, and surgeries-— but if you had a headache, Amy would compassionately empathise with you, and then recommend multiple suitable narcotics that would easily take care of it. I will never forget a nurse poking Amy so many times and still failing to secure an IV line. With a weak voice, swollen hand, and tired eyes, Amy called after the frustrated nurse and thanked her. She never forgot anyone who blessed her, recalling stories from years and years prior and reliving them often. In return, no one who has ever met Amy can forget her either. The girl is a Carrollton celebrity, just take her anywhere, and the “Hey Amy’s” are constant. I’ve met the most beautiful people through Amy.

Clothed in righteousness and Justice clothing, Amy had a passion for truth. She might have been my best friend, but the girl could not keep a secret. Maybe I should have warned Donna & John before I told Amy how babies were born— because the truth sayer in her just couldn’t hold it in, even around the dinner table. But more importantly than knowing all the celebrity gossip, Amy knew God’s truth. She knew Jesus created her, gave her a calling, and ordained her steps. She and I would talk for hours about what heaven might be like and how her beloved dogs, cousin, and grandparents would be there waiting for her.

Amy knew God intimately. She also knew that cleanliness was next to Godliness, and her favourite day of the week was the day the housekeeper came. A place for everything and everything in its place was absolutely her motto, and I believe that Amy is now in her place, safe, rejoicing, and undoubtedly singing and dancing with the one who created everything. I’m glad Amy and I had years of practice singing and dancing, and I hope somehow God has an appreciation for Michael Jackson, LeeAnn Rimes, Taylor Swift, and N*Sync. God promises there is no pain and no illness in heaven, but could he make an exception for Beiper Fever?

I cannot talk about Amy’s life without thanking Donna & John. You guys gave me a wonderful friend, fought endless medical and financial battles, advocated for her in school, created an awesome home which hosted hundreds of teenagers hungry for community and belonging— and well, pizza. You spent more days in the hospital than out of it some years, but by God’s strength, still pursued your own hobbies and interests, creating music that has blessed so many. You allowed all of us to walk with you in this journey, being vulnerable and honest about the struggles, but never bitter or angry. Against significant statistics, you stayed married and faithful to each other, and provided a beautiful example of marriage for me and so many others. Donna- you are truly a beautiful woman, inside and out. John- you are a man of integrity. Without both of your perseverance, prayer life, and selflessness, I have no doubt that Amy would have not enjoyed 28 years, and all the precious memories I hold dear to my heart would have been shortened.

I also would like to express my thankfulness for the community of people here, Amy’s village of nurses, therapists, friends, family members, boy crushes, Church family, Cheval’s members, and neighbours who came along side Donna and John, gave Amy the privilege to participate in amazing opportunities. Amy is unforgettable, and to her, you are unforgettable as well.

Amy is the only friend small enough for you lap, but too big for your heart. I’ll miss carrying her, listening to her brag about her nieces and her brother- bubby, watching 7th Heaven re-runs, sleep-overs, giggling at her hilarious anectdotes, and chatting endlessly, but I am comforted by her walk with Jesus and motivated by her pursuit of truth, graciousness, enthusiasm for life, and memorable smile. May you and I seek to leave things better than when we found them, both misplaced laundry and forgotten dishes, and misplaced and forgotten people. Thank you Amy for loving me as I am, teaching me to dance like no ones watching, and celebrate every day. So today, I celebrate you. Amen.

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