Tribute to Amy  (read at the funeral)

Amy was the youngest of the four children, and the only daughter. This was never really fair to her because we actually remembered all of the weird things that she did as a kid. For example, did you know that Amy had an extra bone in her foot? She was quite proud of that and if you were anywhere near her the day that she found out, I’m sure you would have heard her announce to anyone who was listening, “I can’t believe I have an extra bone in my foot!” I remember her alter-ego, Molly, showing up from time to time when she was very young too. Mom would tell Amy that it was time for her nap, and Amy would go away, but on a pair of plastic glasses and this fur coat that she had. She would come out and tell us that she was now Molly, and Molly didn’t have to take naps. Even into adulthood, we would still tease her about the year that she was old enough to realize what April Fool’s Day was about. We were going around making jokes all day, and Amy decided to join in. So she walked up to my dad and told him, “Hey Dad-- there’s a spider on your teeth!” I remember looking at her and thinking, “that is the dumbest April Fool’s joke I have ever heard.” And as we grew older, our conversations with her and my brothers always seemed to involve lines from movies that we watched when we were young or lines from Seinfeld.
Amy’s diagnosis came out of left field. The odds of developing breast cancer at age 25 is very remote. The odds of having two siblings have similar sicknesses so young are also very remote. I’m not sure why God allows things like this to happen. But I do know that Amy has said before that her relationship with God and her faith in God became stronger throughout all of this. And even as I am typing this out, I am realizing that maybe that is one reason God allowed it. Our family grew up going to church. Amy accepted Jesus as her Savior when she was very young. But I know that her faith really took roots when she was diagnosed. There were times that she would post an update on her website and I would read it and think, “Wow, did that really come from Amy?” It was really exciting for me to see her grow into a such a godly woman. She told me several times that she was determined to control what she could control and leave the rest up to God. She decided early on that she was going to have a good attitude about all of this and keep her sense of humor. And the result was that Amy became a very influential person to a lot of people--without even leaving her living room. There were many times that she would get bad news from the doctor and I would want to hear it from her, because I needed reassurance that it was going to be ok. She definitely has the Rhinehart stubborn streak in her, which came in handy when fighting this. She never let this sickness stop her. She went on vacations, walked a 5k on her 30th birthday last September and went Christmas tree shopping with us in December even though she was not feeling well at all that day.
Many of you only knew the “sick” Amy. But I knew her as a sister, a friend, a big goofball and more. Amy is my hero. I want to be just like her when I grow up. There is a quote that I have always liked and tried to live by. But I think Amy did it well. I have heard this quoted many different ways, so I might not get it perfect, but the quote is from St. Francis of Assisi. It says to preach always. And if necessary, use words.
I can’t even begin to imagine the reunion that took place last Saturday between her and Jeff. That night the whole family came to my parents’ house. I was talking to my 11 year old nephew Nathan-- one of Jeff’s sons. We were talking about what we thought that his dad and Amy were doing right now. I sent a text out to a bunch of my friends asking them the same question. And we asked the same question at the calling hours yesterday. We got some really good answers and I would like to share some of them.
I think they are doing all the fun stuff you can think of
I think that Jeff and Amy are enjoying fellowship together. I envision Jeff was waiting at the gate for her and showed her all around heaven. Most of all, he introduced her to Jesus.
I picture Jeff making his patented chocolate chip cookies and Amy making and decorating a cake. Then a food fight breaking out. If that’s even allowed in heaven. I’m sure it is.
I think they are hugging each other and saying, “I missed you!”
I think Amy and Jeff are playing corn hole against God and Jesus, and God and Jesus keep winning, but remain humble and don’t rub it in.
Amy and Jeff are eating 88 crackers… and not getting in trouble for it.
They are laughing at Tommy’s jokes.
Eating lots of jelly bellies…at least that’s what I would do
I think they are playing jokes on Peter and Paul and laughing and singing and dancing with Jesus.
I think Amy is watching a movie in a big comfy chair.
They are probably pranking people with a fart machine
I don’t know, but I hope there are donuts in heaven. That would be the life-- eating them all day with family
Amy is baking cookies for everyone and Jeff is trying to sneak some of the cookie dough
I think they are dancing with Jesus and happy to be free of pain
Whatever they are doing, I bet they are having a great time and wouldn’t want to come back to earth because heaven is so darn good.
And one of my favorites . . . I bet they looked at each other and said, “I love your hair!”
Some of those are kind of a stretch, but it really is exciting to think about them reuniting and seeing Jesus. Four years ago, I stood on this same stage and read tributes from the family about Jeff. And Amy’s words at the end of her tribute said that “Jeff has helped me get on my feet to learn how run this race, and when I finish, I know he will be one of the first to greet me with that big bright smile. Until then, I will persevere, and I pray I can do it as courageously as Jeff. I will look forward to the day that my Big Brother meets me at the gates, and introduces me to my Heavenly Father.” I think she did persevere, and I think she did it well.
Ya’ done good, Amy. I’ll see you later.


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