While I was obsessing about things that don’t matter, Amy died. Initial reports say she fell in the bathroom. Hit her head. Passed away.
I discovered this on Sunday night, hours after her memorial service had already ended. I’d just put the kids to bed and finally picked up my phone and clicked on Facebook. I was scrolling through my feed when I began seeing posts from people talking about Amy like she had died or something.
“No way Amy died,” I thought. “NO WAY. Too pretty, too sweet, too young.
“We had plans.”
We had plans.
But, Amy had died. DIED. And I didn’t even get to go to her service, because I’ve been obsessing about things that don’t matter.
Amy — such a great name for a Gen-X girl — was born in 1966. She loved Generation X, and was one of the first fans of this blog.
At times, it seems she was the only fan.
Exuberantly generous with compliments, they often arrived in the awkward stillness that every blogger endures after sharing a link to a post on social media. Her affirmations cut through the uncomfortable, virtual pause and paved the way for online, group interaction.
Amy was so sweet and genuine. She loved me, and she made me believe in myself. A little bit, anyway.
Hell. Amy has died.
Last night, I made chili for dinner. People should not eat chili in July. It’s totally stupid and wrong, and what was I thinking? As I salted my helping, I started to cry. Right there at the dinner table. Right there into my chili.
“All these people keep dying on the floor,” I said. “They all died alone on the floor.”
And, then I looked down at my chili and whispered to myself, “Am I gonna die on the floor?”
After my mother died, my daughter Juliette told me a story. She said when she found her that morning motionless on the floor, she became completely disoriented. It’s no good seeing a dead person. It’s much, much harder when it’s someone you love, and harder still if you’re not expecting it. In that tragic moment, my precious daughter turned to run out of the apartment she had shared with my mother for six months. Shocked by the discovery she’d made, she ran in the wrong direction and hit hard against a wall and bounced off of it.
There are always walls stopping us. Always floors catching us.
Amy and I had plans.
About a year ago, she came to Mass with us and she took Communion. We had such a wonderful time that day!
Five weeks ago, she left a note on the Facebook post below. She said she wanted to come with us again, and I just knew it was going to happen. I knew it needed to happen. But, I’ve been so drained with nothing left to give, and I kept forgetting, and now she’s gone.
AMY: So sweet….I need to build up the courage to go sit with your family at mass again. 💜
ME: That would be great. ❤
AMY: which time do you go? And you don’t mind if some crazy neighbor lady sits with your sweet family?
ME: 11 a.m. Please come! We would love to sit with you. ❤
Why is it so hard to live in the spirit and not the flesh? To resign from all the dry, bony obligations — the hooey-phooey-poppycock-bunk-drivel baloney — that drives and orders our numbered days? What will it take to run the race set out for us? Not the race to the prize, but the race to love? The race that might have carried me to Amy, arms open wide, embracing, saying,
Yes! Yes! We must go to Mass. Not next Sunday, but today. We must take Holy Communion right now. Let’s partake in the suffering of Christ together this very instant. Let’s say the Rosary together and pray 10,000 Novenas for all the secret miracles we need. For life, it is hard and time, it is short, and who knows what tomorrow might bring?
Alas, life is too ordered, too sterile, too composed for that. If we love madly and wildly, wholly and completely, if we love like Jesus loved, we’ll be far too perplexing for this world. Even too perplexing for its princes in varying shades of darkness.
And, so it is. We’re wired to hold back, not realizing this path to survival is actually a vortex that sucks us down and strips away our meaning and purpose. Makes a mockery of our one little life.
Amy did not expect me to run to her. It wasn’t like that. She wasn’t desperate. I was the desperate one; a friend on the fringe. So, on Sunday, when her real friends gathered to celebrate her life, I wasn’t there. I didn’t even know she was gone. But, that doesn’t mean I didn’t love her. I did.