Celebrating Amy's 30th birthday isn't a practical exercise, since she isn't with us anymore, but it is a critical and emotional moment for me, looking back the more than 6 years since she hasn't been with us, and contrasting that with the nearly 24 years before that , that she was there as a sister.
It's quite easy to say that life was better off when we had our better angels by our side, but what is more difficult and important is to reflect on the way that her friendship, honesty, serendipity, and inspirational properties defined my life in both periods. Before she passed I think it was fair to say that I took the properties of her bigger-than-life, showtune personality, authentic spirituality, and ebullient love as just normal. In the period since then it has become clear to me that she herself was way beyond normal, and the ways in which she was and is so special have become animating forces in my own personal internal growth processes. Throughout , I think she has been the greatest friend, even if her presence in my life is obviously more ethereal now than before.
Amy embodied solar, authentic, powerful presence and so I think it is appropriate that we think of her and associate her with sunflowers. It wasn't a planned thing that we started to use that symbol to represent her, but when we would do paintings, draw or meditate that would seem to come naturally. 3 summers after she passed, we went to a sunflower patch near our extended vacation home near Maine and wandered there for a while, half way between tears and joy, picking sunflowers. I like to remember that moment along a lot of others as one that we catch some of the sun she had collected and projected to us effortlessly for so many years.
To this day I am proud and inspired by the life Amy led ,and I am happy that I can do my part to continue to animate that legacy through the Foundation. We never know how long our lives will last and how far we will get towards reaching our dreams , at least as we have defined them mentally. But what always matters and will never fade away are the moments of presence a long the way, especially moments of emotional presence. I will admit that I never loved theater growing up-- I liked the songs but never was all that into it - but in the last years I have been searching for sun, looking back at tapes and recordings of her performances , treasuring the presence in her performances. To all the young artists out there, I salute you and encourage you to never let your dreams be constrained by purely practical limitations. Be bigger than life itself, as Amy was, and rise to the heights of what your heart wants you to do . That is what I feel Amy would want for all us, both on the stage, and off of it. With much love and hoping for many sunny days to come after this dark and difficult last year all of us,
Happy birthday Amy, we miss you more than anything . But even more than that, we are happy you stopped by for a bit and gave us all those amazing, sunshine-filled laughs.