July 28, 2014: I was sleeping at my grandparent's house when I got the phone call. Amanda's water broke! It was 2:45 am, and Davey had informed me that Amanda had showered and was currently vacuuming the house just to make sure everything was perfect for when she brought the baby home. My grandma got up, and we sat in the kitchen talking about Amanda and the excitement of getting to hold her new baby today! I drove so fast to make sure I was there. When I walked into the room, there she was - in so much pain. I squeezed her hand and told her it was going to be ok. The nurse asked if she wanted an epidural, and Davey and I giggled as she didn't even hesitate to answer - "YES"! The epidural FINALLY kicked in, and she was able to get some sleep. She looked so beautiful lying there. She was dilated to 10 cm but wasn't able to push just yet. After hours and hours of waiting to push, Amanda finally decided on her own that she was ready to push and despite being "completely ready", she pushed with everything she had inside of her. For two hours, Davey and I held her hand and cheered for her with each push. She never gave up. Each push was just as strong if not stronger than the one before. She not only amazed Davey and I, but the entire staff of nurses and doctors taking care of her. She gave one last final push, as she brought the most incredible life into this world. Weighing 6 pounds, 7 ounces, Weston James was here! I sat in complete awe of what I just watched my sister endure. Through the tears and pain, she conquered. She fought with every ounce of her being. She knew it wouldn't be easy, but that it would be worth it all. I never respected her more than I did watching her in that moment. And oh the joy on her face when she held her precious baby in her arms. This day was one of the most AMAZING and incredible days of not only her life, but mine as well.
November 10, 2015: I was sleeping at my grandparent's house when I got the phone call. Amanda was found unconscious in her home and now in critical condition at the hospital. It was 9:26 am and I threw on clothes and jumped in the car. I drove so fast to make sure I was there. A million thoughts flooded my mind, and I couldn't help but think back to the last time I was driving to the hospital to meet Davey and Amanda. My heart and mind couldn't process anything. I was in complete shock, yet filled with total hope that God was going to perform a miracle today. We walked into her room. She looked so beautiful lying there. She had tubes everywhere and a bandage around her head, and yet that sweet face was the only thing we could see. I squeezed her hand to make sure she knew I was there, and I held onto that hand in complete and total desperation for the next two days. Davey and I, along with hundreds of others, sat by her bed and cheered her on with each breath of the ventilator. We wept and laughed and sobbed and giggled about memories of Amanda that flooded our mind. She was a fighter. She was going to make it. She had endured one of the most scary and helpless moments of her life, in her own home, and I know Amanda pushed and fought with everything inside of her. She was stronger than she had ever been. She rose up in that moment and protected the precious gift she brought into this world only a year before. And I sat by her bed in complete and total awe of what my sweet sister endured. Through the distress and fear, she conquered. She knew it wouldn't be easy, but that it would be worth it all. And oh the joy on her face on November 11 at 7:55 am when she was able to walk into the arms of Jesus, holding her precious little Evie Grace in her arms. This was the MOST AMAZING day of her life.
I have always looked up to my baby sister. I always thought it was ironic that my younger sister would be the person I respected most. I loved her more than she would ever be able to understand. She helped me through this life in every way. She encouraged me, challenged me, held me in my most difficult times, prayed for me, laughed with me, endured every phase of life with me. She never stopped loving me. Her life meant more to me than words will ever be able to express. I talked to her yesterday in heaven. Through the tears and sobs, I could hear her sweet voice saying "Aaaaaaamber! My sister! Please don't cry. It's going to be ok. I know you're sad, but I'm in the presence of my Savior. The one place in this entire world I feel most safe. Most loved. Most fulfilled. Most perfected. My Jesus is here with me and Evie. He's squeezing our hands. He loves me, Amber, more than anyone else on the earth combined. I know it's hard, but I'm in the very place I've always desired to be. I'm home. My true home."
Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim In the light of His glory and grace.
I love you, Amanda Grace. More than you will ever know.