Sunday, January 6, 2008


Death of the body comes to all of us at some time in our lives. After all, the price of sin is death. Unfortunately, death has come to a loved one all too quickly.

Some of you may have met her at my wedding. She was a bridesmaid, walked down 3rd. She was Amanda. Amanda was 24. Amanda had potential. She had so much to live for, a family who loved her deeply, including an extended family who felt she was more of a sister than a cousin. A boyfriend who also loved her. She would have married and had many children. Now I know that you always see these things mentioned with the death of one so young, but it is so true. Amanda committed suicide after a 4 year struggle with addiction to prescription medication.

I remember the good times with her. I remember the trip to Manistee, where I swear my Uncle must have hated us! :) If the truth be told though, I think he enjoyed the torture we put him through. “Are we there yet? What time is it? I have to go to the bathroom!” There were 6 phrases that we repeated ad nauseum for probably an hour. One for each kid. Yes, my uncle took 6 children, all under the age of 10, I believe, on a road trip by himself. Boy was he brave.

I remember the Christmas trips, where we stuck together almost like glue. We were the only two girls after all, out of what was at the time, 7 grandchildren. We were seriously outnumbered! Lauren joined us later and it was a few years before she was able to enter into the games with the girls.

I remember the playing Barbies! Neither one of us could give up our childhood toys until we were well into the teenage years!

Then things changed. I first noticed it when I was 21, she would have been almost 18, or maybe she was 18. It may have been the addiction, it may have simply been a personality conflict, I don't know. I just remember the sudden change in personality towards me. Lauren was 12 by then, and it was suddenly Amanda and Lauren, with me as a third wheel. Which, if I think about it, was only natural. I was about to enter into the adult world, I was no longer a child, I was about to enter an entirely different part of my life.

It saddens me that we drifted apart, for whatever reason. We may have had our differences, but she was family, and no matter what, I would have fought for her. The Amanda I knew in the early years is not the same Amanda who showed during our last few encounters.

I find anger to be a comfort. The anger masks the pain. The anger keeps my shoulders back and my chin up. The anger gives me the blind determination to never put myself in a situation where I will ever cause my family this much pain. If you are considering suicide as a way out, wake up. Be real. Do you really believe that the people in your life think they would be better off without you? Do you know what suicide says to those who are left behind? That you didn't care enough about them to fight for your life, to stick around, to love and to be loved by them. Life is not all about you. And death is not all about you.

Be wary of drugs, all of them. They all have their evil. Watch your children, watch your friends. I can only pray as Andrew and I look at starting our family that God will watch over our children and keep them from the evils of this world. I pray that our children will be born with a strong sense of self, a strong will (yes mom, I want them to be stubborn and willful, after all it served me well, even if I will have to fight them tooth and nail).

I'll leave you with these parting words, taken from the cover of her funeral bulletin, which I can only find myself wishing that Amanda had taken them to heart:

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future. And life is worth the living, just because He lives.

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