Adrian: Epic Fail
I had prepared the following to read, and managed to get through all of about 5 words when my voice switched from unsteady to full-on cry (fortunately Evelyn stepped up and read it in my stead):
One year ago today, our hopes and dreams flew out the window, to be replaced with one hope—one dream: survival. That day began with Amanda’s fierce determination that NOTHING SERIOUS WAS WRONG. Then she nearly collapsed in the shower, and began losing her vision.
One year ago today, I took my wife—very much against her will—to the hospital, where blood tests revealed severe anemia. Late that night a hemotologist gave the first whispery notions of what might be wrong, that nothing simple and mundane lay in her future.
One year ago today, our lives were shattered. How fitting, then, that today we begin to pick up the pieces.
Amanda would not want us to mourn her death, but to celebrate her life. If she saw any of us crying, she’d tell us to stop being so maudlin. She carried a print of the scripture that graces the cover of your programs with her everywhere, and never gave up hope that with the right doctors, the right treatment, and God’s grace, she might yet overcome her disease, and soar on eagle’s wings.
And because of His grace, she has overcome her disease, and is soaring higher than ever eagles dared. And we, her friends, family, and loved-ones, got 354 gifts: days of borrowed time, filled with hugs, rich discussions, insight into what it means to be a mother with terminal disease, and through it all a faithful servant of God.
Her forthright nature and determination to share every element of her treatment have inspired hundreds to donate blood, sign up for bone-marrow donations, become organ donors, and contribute financially to ending this horrible disease.
Amanda did not lay down and let go of her dreams to be with her son. She fought, often against her own sense of prudence, for more time, for new treatments, for life. She wanted Alastair to grow up knowing that she never gave up.
She never abandoned her hobbies, devoting hundreds of hours to a reading competition, to keeping abreast of movies and entertainment news, and making her environs, both in and out of the hospitals, as welcoming and comforting to a little boy as possible. Never did she say, “Woe is me”.
I leave you with a couple of quotes from her blog, ones that I think capture her spirit and grace.
Five days into her first round of chemo, she posted “Yesterday morning was a little rough on this girlie. That nagging, biting fear set in, the one I've managed to keep relatively at bay since being transported to LeukemiaTown. Something compelled me to devour all this printed information on AML that the doctors gave me when I first came, and subsequently I frightened the living bazoobas out of myself.
So I wandered around my room for some time in a weepy daze, contemplating my own mortality. We all gotta go sometime, but it's some hard funky stuff to actually have the possibility that you might very well kick the bucket soon laid out before you like some sort of gruesome buffet. Then I got over myself.”*
Later, in reference to a surprising number of leukemia diagnoses in medical dramas and movies last Spring, she had this to say: “I'm telling you folks; leukemia is the new black. It's the hot disease for the season. What can I say; I've always been ahead of the trend.”
Everyone else spoke very well, and the whole thing lasted just under an hour. I am sorry to everyone I didn't get to speak to, and want to re-iterate my thanks to all who came, all who came back to the house afterward, and all who helped put this beautiful tribute together.
*Ok, so that one was heavily redacted for reading at church.