Friday, March 27, 2009

Elegia


"If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them."

-- The Crow (1994)


It may not make an ounce of sense, but I somehow never thought this day would come.

I knew the facts. I'd followed the daily battles. I understood the reality of the situation. And yet I'm not sure it was ever possible to truly accept the notion that someone like Amanda Amos could lose her fight for life -- maybe because she had so much life, and it seemed a staggering implausibility that anything, even leukemia, had the power to take all of it.

But on Wednesday, the disease that she had been fighting valiantly, and with a level of dignity that would put most of us to shame, did just that.

Several months ago, I mentioned Amanda's battle with cancer on this site; I suggested that everyone read the series of blog posts she'd written chronicling her early medical care and surprisingly heartening state of mind as she faced an uncertain future. It continues to be some of the most life-affirming stuff I've ever read. Throughout the course of her treatment -- which brought with it good days and bad -- Amanda always kept her sense of humor, her sharp wit, and the powerful personality that made her so beloved by those of us who first met her at Pajiba.com and who continued to hold her tightly in our thoughts as the difficult days passed, one at a time.

Once again, it's simply impossible to come to terms with the death of someone who was so filled with life. It's both heartbreaking and humbling. If an Amanda Amos can be taken from this world, what guarantees do the rest of us have? If she can leave behind a loving husband and young child, and the universe doesn't lash out at the injustice, is this life really worth living?

I get the feeling that Amanda would've answered, "absolutely."

I think she would've said this because she knew that the love she created and leaves behind -- for her family and with her friends and admirers -- isn't going anywhere. It's what lasts. It's what will outlive us all.

We were all lucky to have her -- even if only for a little while.

Pajiba: RIP Alabama Pink/3.26.09

Amanda's Husband's Blog

18 comments:

Al said...

Aw damn it...our family has learned too damn well what a cruel bastard cancer is. Her writing was at once riotously funny and heart achingly sad - why does the disease strike such wonderful people?

RIP indeed.

elizabeth said...

Oh, Chez! I had finally stopped crying from yesterday; now look what you made me do!

Sirius said...

Me too, elizabeth. I wept all day yesterday on Pajiba, and now today on DEM. I am so getting fired.

RIP, Pink

Snath said...

We're thinking about you, Amanda.

Heather said...

I should not have looked at her husband's blog. Please excuse me while I go cry...

Chez said...

Yeah. It really made me lose it.

kanye said...

I'm sorry that you lost your friend, Chez. You cared...it shows.

J. Dack said...

I'd been following Manda's blog so long, I couldn't remember where I first found the link. Here, or at "A Girl Named Boo," I dunno.

I couldn't believe it either, when my RSS reader popped up the latest post from Woah, Camel!.

The world is a lesser place without her.

Chez said...

I didn't even know her, Kanye. That's the strange part.

Dennis Prouse said...

I have to share in on this, because sadly I know what people are going through. I feel like I know this woman simply because her story is so similar to one experienced by a close friend of ours. A very close to my wife and I lost her battle to cancer at age 39, leaving behind a six month old son. The cancers were different, but the battle, and the end result, were the same. In fact, the personalities of our friend Susan and Amanda seemed very similar, both having tackled this terrible curse with an amazing grace, courage, and humour. We too were left wondering about the shocking unfairness of it all. We still are, in fact, more than five years later. Amanda's friends will also.

The one saving grace is that our friend's husband was able to rebuild his life, and he and his son are doing wonderfully. It was a long, difficult road, but they made it. I pray that Amanda's husband will also. I simply can't imagine his pain right now.

kanye said...

I don't know you, Chez, but I'd still grieve. It's not strange. It's human.

Nicole said...

Just when I managed to pull it back together, you broke me again.

That's really beautiful, Chez. Although Adrian just has me sobbing my eyes out.

Izar Talon said...

Wow. I'd never heard of her before, but reading about her now, reading some of the things she wrote, knowing that she was just a year older than me, I feel a great sense of loss.

Hell, reading her echo my thoughts about the new Wolverine movie, and about her comic book fandom, it saddens me that I'll now never get to know this wonderful person who sounds like she and I could have been good friends.

I'm going to go read more of her writing now so that I can do my small part to keep a piece of her alive... if not in love, at least in memory.


That was a wonderful quote from the Crow, Chez. And I get the feeling she would have appreciated it.

RottweilerTOM said...

God damn WRONG!! May we find a cure for Leukemia and find it fast. I am sure through stem cell research we will someday see the light.

Anonymous said...

Goodbye, 'Bama! I know if it had been me, I would have curled up in a corner, rocking back and forth and saying why me, why me?. Grace and courage, absolutely. She will be missed.

Chez said...

To the person who submitted the incredibly cruel negative comment about Amanda: First of all, did you really think I was going to publish it and let you spew your crap all over the place? Second, whatever she said about you, you obviously goddamn well deserved it; I only wish you'd been kind enough to attach your name to your comment (instead of going with the usual cowardly "Anonymous" route) so that I could've picked up where she left off and verbally kicked the living shit out of you.

Che Grovera said...

By the time I discovered Pajiba, Amanda was already doing battle with the cancer that would take her life. It was clear from the outset that the community there held her in high regard -- justifiably so, from what I subsequently saw in her postings there (and elsewhere). Her spirit was admirable.

Yet I'm more than a little confused by the reference to "injustice" (at which "the universe doesn't lash out") in your elegy, Chez. I think I understand the entirely human impulse behind the reaction...but when is death ever "just"? I'm one of those simpletons who likes to believe that the spirit transcends the flesh; that suffering defines life; that knowing the unknowable -- that knowledge itself -- can't make us better. Death is. We don't get to choose...well, unless we choose to opt out ourselves, but that's a different discussion.

Cancer may yet be stalking me. I changed my father's diaper the day he died from liver cancer; although he couldn't speak at that point, I know he hated the indignity of it all. My mother has beaten back breast cancer twice now; I've held her hand while the IV dripped poison into her veins. Those aren't the best of odds. Hell, I've lived my life in such a way that I'm certain there are people out there (hi, ex-wives!) who are rooting for the cancer. Whatever my fate, I hope I'm able to face it with the calculated indifference of Alabama Pink/Amanda Amos. I know I'm better for having been touched by her.

J. Dack said...

I don't know what kind of sick fuck would tarnish a memorial post with hateful bullshit but whoever it was, Manda was a thousand times better person than you and I hope you get bone cancer.