Celebrating Amy’s Life

Amy, Jenny, Rachel, and Maddie
Bob and Amy, completing the Great Loop
The Great Loop

Attending a celebration of life sounds a lot better than attending a funeral. That’s what we did earlier this month. We flew to Minnesota to be at Jenny, our daughter-in-law’s  side. It was very important that Mike and I  support her family as well in the celebration of the life of Jenny’s sister Amy. Amy was called home to be with the Lord at the age of 54; she suffered a short bout with lung cancer. This is the part of life that I struggle with; she was so young to die. Sadly, I also understand that God is in control. Long before Amy’s illness occurred, she and her husband Bob planned a trip traveling the Great Loop. The Great Loop is a 6,000-mile trip encompassing the eastern half of North America. This trip entails following a circular route that includes the Great Lakes, the Illinois River, the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Seaboard. No doubt this would be the adventure of a lifetime.



Jenny, Jeanne, and Amy

Life’s Great Loop

When Jenny shared with me that Amy and Bob were going to travel the Great Loop, I thought it was crazy that they would be living on a boat for such a long time. These were my thoughts because I knew nothing about boating whatsoever. I also did not know that this adventure included overnight stops at quaint seaport villages and meeting other “Loopers” along the way.

Mike, Jenny and Amy

Only God knows the plans He has for us, and for Amy and Bob it was to have them experience this as a couple, working together to complete their journey. It takes a lot of planning for a trip like this. Both Amy and Bob had to prepare for this long journey. They had to map out where they were going to gas up their boat. They had to worry about the water surges, the fog and other inclement weather conditions. The Lord knew the fate  Amy would have once she completed this trip of a lifetime. How gracious is our Lord to allow Amy and Bob to experience this wonderful adventure together. The trip started in September and ended in mid-June.  These stats are from her travel blog:

– Miles traveled = 6,336

– Gallons of gas used = 6,494

– Number of days until crossing our wake = 283 days

– Number of days in marinas = 232

– Number of days at anchor or on free walls = 51

We all need to plan for our life’s’ journey. We need to map out our future, knowing that it’s not always going to be easy sailing. When the fog rolls in, we need to learn how to carefully navigate around it or wait for it to lift. When we feel the water over our heads, we need to swim to shallow waters, and we always need to be prepared with refueling. Spiritually, refueling is spending time in prayer. We do not know when we will be called home, so we should always be prepared. Amy was prepared because at her beautiful service she left a letter to her family, assuring them that she would see them again. As difficult and sweet as her words were, it brought great assurance to my heart that her passing was part of God’s plan. The fact that there was an overflow room at her service was clear evidence of the impact she had on others.

Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes

Minnesota does not look good in the spring. We had traveled there during the summer when we were surrounded by lush greenery everywhere. Not this time; the trees were bare, and the grass was still recovering from the winter snow. I did not see one bloom, but I know that this will all change in a few weeks. The change of season set the mood for the sadness we were all experiencing.

I never quite understood how most people who live there have no fencing; it troubles me that the property boundaries are not visible. Jenny’s family seems to be perfectly fine with this unusual backyard arrangement.  Our neighborhood, is closed in; I don’t want my neighbors to see into my backyard because I enjoy my privacy.  Minnesotans are a lot friendlier than Californians. Mike and I felt the warmth of these people who know what it’s like to experience really cold weather. I was freezing the entire time with temperatures in the low 40’s; we have those temperatures in  our winters!

From our hotel we had a view of Lucky’s Pub, which I thought was a local bar. We ended up having the greatest lunch of walleye fingers and bang bang shrimp while playing two rounds of bingo. During our lunch, families played bingo and enjoyed their meals; but mostly I noticed their interaction without cell phones. They were too busy stamping out the bingo cards. I loved the slow pace, and at every corner there’s a body of water.


Jen and Mike

Jenny’s Family

From the first day we met, I really liked Jenny’s family. Jenny’s Mom, Jeanne, and I have a lot in common. I love that we do not hold back on our thoughts. I wanted to be there especially for Jeanne because, as a mother, I cannot imagine what heartbreak she is going through. As parents we are there to be supportive to our children; both Jeanne and Mick , Jenny’s dad, were always there for Amy. Jenny comes from a close, loving family and her roots have become my son’s roots as well. Mikos is just as much a part of their family as Jenny. I witnessed the love they have for Mikos.  Jenny’s brother Mike and his wife Jen own a home with so many rooms that storage was unbelievable. I coveted the full basement! It has two bedrooms and a full bath, plus a bar with a huge living area and storage room for a refrigerator and freezer. They need the freezer to store all the venison because they are hunters. I thought perhaps they have Viking blood running through their veins. We get all our meat, fish and poultry from Sam’s Club and Costco, the only hunting we do is for a good bargain.

Overall we were welcomed with great love, and it was a pleasure to spend this special time with Jenny’s family. Amy was indeed blessed and loved by her family, and she will be greatly missed.

Amy’s family


My Prayer 

Dear Lord, I lift up Jenny’s family and all the pain that they are going through. I pray that as each day passes the pain of Amy’s loss will turn into joyful memories. Lord, bring comfort to them in knowing that Amy is in Your loving arms. Thank You for this beautiful family. May they continue to support one another and remain close to each other. Heal the broken hearts of her husband Bob and her children Rachel and Andrew. Let them rest in You, knowing that Amy is now free of her pain. Amen.




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