Two nights ago, I lost a dear friend. I met Amy when I was 18 and she was 26. Her husband had just been hired as the worship pastor at the church I had just started attending with Jake. Shortly after they moved here, Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer. I really didn't know her that well, but knew that I wanted to/was able to help in some way and I started babysitting for their little one year-old, Katelyn, while Amy and Josh went to her appointments. Who knew at that time what she would become for me?
Seven years later, I'm in the hospital with the twins who are about to come early at 24 weeks. The fear and worry that encased me was paramount. In the midst of doctors and medicines and everyone's well wishes from afar, I was drowning in the idea of losing my babies and the grief that would ensue. I shut down. Right or wrong, I felt like no one I knew understood what I was feeling so I would keep it all to myself instead.
Amy delivered her twin girls early and even lost one of them right away. When she found out what was going on with us three hours away, she started emailing me almost every day. She was the one person I felt I could be myself with. Many of my emails would have been tear-stained had they been on paper. Many were venting. Many were filled with jokes and fun crafts to occupy my time in the hospital. Some of those craft ideas I used in the girls' nursery. She wrote me ahead of time, letting me know what to expect once the twins were born, how I could bond with them and that everything I was feeling was normal. I can't tell you how nice that was when I felt I had to play a part for the many other people that pranced around saying, "I know they'll be fine" when I felt like a failure for even having them here so early in the first place!
Amy inspired me to write. The whole reason I even have this blog is because of Amy. She gave me the idea to write about what was happening and then even designed my blog about the twins. I am so thankful to her for being my earthly rock during that time. I could confide in her like no one else at the time, even Jake. She was there, encouraging and lighting the way with her love and support for the both of us. She understood how your marriage takes a hard hit when stress levels hit the ceiling. She understood the depression that comes after your babies are born too early and you can't bond with them. She understood the helplessness and helped turn it into hopefulness. She really is such a huge part of me making it through that time, not only in one piece, but better than I was before. God used her greatly.
The incredible thing is, I know she did this for so many people besides me. In her almost nine years of fighting cancer, she gave hope and love to so many. Whether it was through her circle of friends who were also battling cancer, the other pastor's wives in the church, or just a bunch of us watching her from afar as her faith remained strong through it all.
One of the last times I got together with Amy was in Illinois at a Best Brands Resale. We met at the Starbucks by her hotel and had such a great visit laughing at funny stories about our kids and talking about food and shopping. It was so lighthearted and carefree and just...wonderful.
We will miss her here and I ask for prayers for her husband and especially her two little girls. They will miss their mommy for sure. I'm so thankful for the truth that she is in Heaven and is completely cancer free now. It's been a battle she has been fighting for so long and now she can reign victorious with Jesus. Praise God.