Emily Sybert, Amy’s niece, wrote this paper for her English class about her Aunt Amy. She also shared it with us at Amy’s celebration of life service.
Good memories are something that most of us will cherish for a lifetime. Recalling a certain fragrance, favorite song, or meal can unlock those doors to the past. Life is full of many challenges that are thrust upon you each day, each one different, but as in every circumstance a person must work through his or her obstacles and have faith that they will indeed make it to a safe haven on the other side. We are all uniquely crafted in God’s image, and each of us has a story to tell. This is my story and recollection of my beloved Aunt Amy.
When I think of days past when my family would go to visit my aunt Amy, her husband Don and their little boy Theo (short for Theodore, my grandpa’s name) the home was always filled with the laughter, and sounds of conversations from many of family and close friends. We would spend many a summer days down by their lake or taking a pontoon boat ride out to a favorite spot where lots of boaters anchored, and where we could jump in and enjoy the cool splash of the water caressing our bodies. July 4th parties were amazing. Not only was it Independence Day, but it was also the anniversary of my aunt and uncle’s marriage, so uncle Don always had many fireworks to enjoy that lit up the night sky with such brilliance. Did I mention the smores? They were so delightful, amazingly yummy as you bit into the crunchy, gooey marshmallow and chocolate center. Everyone wanted one. Moreover, the birthday parties for my little cousin were likened unto being at the reptile exhibit at the Detroit Zoo. Theo, my little cousin has always had an affinity with slimy snakes, frogs and the like. My aunt would always be adding another reptilian to Theo’s aquarium, which he absolutely loved. On occasion, I was fortunate enough to witness powdered covered crickets being fed to Theo’s frogs. Indeed, my aunt Amy knew how to throw a great birthday party, and the bigger the better; more people that is. A blue stone plaque is attached beside the front door post to their home that is engraved with the words “remember to welcome strangers on occasion, by doing so you may have entertained angels unaware”, a verse taken right out of the Bible in the book of Hebrews. These are the memories that I choose to tuck away in my secret place.
Now there is a chill in the air as I contemplate walking through her home, a sudden rush of sadness sweeps over me. A barrage of sad feelings, rushing toward me with great intensity, has now assaulted the fond memories that have been hidden in that secret place. You see, my aunt Amy went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, May 6th. The cancer that she had been battling for the last 16 months finally got the best of her. She was certainly too young, only 43, and left behind her husband, son, sisters, and many more family and friends that will always cherish a part of her in their hearts. I will be able to move past this sad day. With the help of my Lord and savior, Jesus will take my hand and those of others, and will walk with us sending us His peace and comfort which passes all human understanding. He will begin to restore that sacred place in my heart over the weeks and months to come, so that someday I might be able to share with others the legacy of Amy and God’s healing power of restoration.