When we were kids, I remember wondering what impact our lives would have on the world around us. All of my friends and I knew we wanted to be wives and mothers above everything else, but what else?
As we all began to get married, start school, graduate, start careers, start families, we began to lose touch with each other. Amy ended up married to a guy who I had never even met, and living in a state that I had never visited. I still remember crying at her wedding… One friend, Rachel had gotten married several years before any of the rest of us, and we had gotten used to the idea by then. But, at the time of Amy’s wedding to Brandon, I had just begun a courtship with my future husband, and I saw huge changes on the horizon for all of us.
Amy and Brandon had a sweet, cherubic little baby boy named Gary, and moved back to Missouri. I was excited at the prospect of being able to get to know each other again, as the families that we had become.
They hadn’t been back for very long, when they received devastating news. On July 2, 2006 Amy was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.
In Amy’s words:
I wholly believe my journey through leukemia began from the foundations of the earth. The Lord has had this fully written in His plan for my life. Though we will never know the exact moment a single cell of my DNA acquired a problem, the doctors feel my body has been under attack for months. As I look back, I see the many ways God has been preparing us for this — He has truly gone before, and for that I must be grateful.
Amy fought so bravely! She kept up with two blogs, one for the “public” with a lot of medical details, and one on her Bebo page, which was full of the details how this disease was affecting her, and her family in very real ways. Both were heartbreaking to read. She was so humorous and encouraging. Every time she wrote, I felt like she was the one encouraging all of us, and that I, for one, had nothing to offer her back.
On her Bebo blog, she wrote blog posts entitles things like: “Goin’ bald in style”, “Hey from A Cute Leukemia Patient”, and “Doctors are from Mars…Patients are from Venus”.
She happily shared all the ironic little details surrounding chemo, like the fact that, though the chemo had removed every hair from her head, including eyebrows, it kindly left the leg hair, so that she could still have the joy of shaving her legs.
She also let us in on facts that we had apparently been deceived about all of our lives.
…But the best example is probably crust. This new almost Vegan diet has me eating a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, lunch of choice for oncologist Dr. Doll, who is wholeheartedly Vegan. (Hey, if the cancer doctors are doing it, they probably have a reason.) Anyway, I stared at the sandwich and declared, “There isn’t any benefit to eating crust. It’s made out of the same stuff as the rest of the bread. It’s just darker because it was exposed to more heat in the oven. I’ve been lied to all my life.
The kicker? I said it in front of my mother. Yup, I am free as a bird these days and full of honesty. She admitted to lying to me all my life just to keep me from wasting food. End result? Crusts went in the trash and I stepped a little lighter the rest of the day.”
Of course there were many, many days spent fighting in the valleys, as the Wilhoite and Martin families struggled for Amy’s life. On those days, Amy and Brandon were just as encouraging. They never lost sight of the ultimate goal, or lost faith that God would see them through.
…So we ask for prayer. Prayer that the Lord might bring her once again back from death’s doorstep. Prayer that should God deem this the time to bring her ultimate healing and call her home that she will pass quickly and peacefully. Prayer that as the doctors keep asking me what to do that I’ll have the wisdom to make the right decisions. Prayer for the doctors as they come up with ideas to care for dear Amy.
On September 10th 2007, Amy was finally healed.
In Brandon’s words:
My dear beloved Amy has gone home to meet her Lord. Shortly after 4:00 PM on this, September 10th, 2007, she took her last sweet breath. Moments before, she leaned up to me, and with much effort, told me she loved me – and gave me a kiss through her oxygen mask.
As someone else said on another blog when their dear one passed away, I never knew one could be at so much peace and have such a broken heart at the same time.
I miss Amy today, but I am so grateful for the testimony that was her life here. I pray that when God sees fit to take me from this life, I would be able to leave it with the grace that Amy did.
I’m thinking and praying for Brandon, and his tiny, motherless little boy, as well as for Amy’s family, the Martin family. Surely they must miss their wife, mother and daughter terribly, but surely they are also confident that they will soon be with her again.