As happens every year about this time, we all think about New Year’s resolutions. Maybe we want to lose weight, or kick a bad habit, or budget better, or exercise more. For us, it has been a terribly difficult year – but we’ve also learned a lot about ourselves, about our communities, and about life in general. Over the past 10 days since Amber’s wake and funeral, we’ve had some time to reflect a bit, and came to a realization of what we need to do better in 2019.
The support we have received over the course of this journey has been incredible. Thank you to everyone that has thought about or prayed for Amber and for us, sent notes, messages, letters, packages, food, made phone calls, talked with us, or attended the wake or funeral. Truly, we are humbled by the love we’ve felt.
One thing that really struck us, though, was just how often people mentioned this blog. When we first started this blog, it was simply a way for Caron and me to spend less time sending out updates to everyone about how Amber was doing. We really only expected a few close friends and family to follow the blog, but even with that expectation, it was still uncomfortable for Caron and me to write. We are very private people, and the thought of sharing these details in writing was a bit scary.
But sharing the story became therapeutic for us, and the blog also became part of our support process as people reached out through the blog, or knew what we were going through because they read the blog and offered us assistance.
And this is where our recent realization comes in. As uncomfortable as it was, making our story public helped bring us much support. But we realize that many people going through difficult times suffer silently, and so do not receive the volume or quality of support that we received.
And so, this brings us to our resolution for 2019 – we will strive to be more aware when people around us are experiencing tragedies, difficulties, challenges, and try to find ways to support them as we have been supported, even if it is something as minor (but incredibly valuable) as a note or a hug to let them know they are being thought about.
Over the past few weeks, multiple people have shared touching stories with us where Amber teaches us this lesson. Even in the last month of her life, as her energy and patience was decreasing, Amber would check on her friends that were sick, and greet everyone with a sincere “how are you doing?”. If Amber can seek to understand other people’s challenges and provide support, in spite of everything she was facing, then so can we.
And we invite all of you to do the same. In Amber’s memory, in Amber’s Way, please look for those that need help, those that may be suffering in silence. And look to find ways to support them, knowing that sometimes even the smallest gestures of support can have incredible value.
Caron and I will be writing a couple more blog posts, but we are coming to an end for this blog. We will keep the blog online though, in case anyone else finds value in reading about Amber’s story, so please feel free to share with anyone that might find interest. Happy New Year to everyone – may 2019 bring peace to us all.