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Amy F. Quincy Author/Freelance Writer

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October 2012

Remembering Amy

by Emory Clements

I lost a dear friend last weekend. Because it was unexpected, many of her friends are still reeling. But we came together last week, not for a service exactly, but a gathering of sorts, a service before the service.

While there, what struck me most was, while I knew very few people, I wasn’t the only one. Everyone there, it seemed, didn’t know anybody else. This beautiful person had touched so many lives — and most of them in random ways. So-and-so met so-and-so on eHarmony or in a class, and that someone knew a neighbor of Amy’s who turned out to be somebody else’s realtor. And so it went. I met Amy several years ago at a self-improvement workshop that neither of us particularly cared for. We joked that the best thing to come out of it had been our friendship. The assortment of people that arrived last Tuesday may not have known each other, but it all led back to Amy.

Her short-time love (that they weren’t yet married is just a technicality in my book) spoke of two words Amy associated with herself — creativity and connection. Someone else spoke about how, upon hearing the news, her best friend was prompted to say “I love you” to her for the first time in over twenty years. I had similar experiences. Friends, those I see all the time and those I hadn’t heard from in months or years, reached out to me. Connections are important. The lesson I left with is to tell the people you care about that they matter.

On the way home, another good friend of Amy’s mentioned that Amy’s easel was still at his house. They had taken an art class together. Amy had gotten bored. She didn’t have the attention span for it. He, on the other hand, was on to something. He showed me some paintings on his phone. They were good.

As a creative person myself, I feel certain that Amy has left it to me to encourage him. This is a role I gladly accept. I think everyone has the potential to be creative or do something that makes a difference, something they feel passionate about. We differ only in how much we’ve actualized or stifled this natural urge.

When I considered writing this blog, I hesitated. Was it selfish of me to write about something so personal? About losing a person most of my readers don’t even know? And then I remembered: that’s the magic of writing. When done well, it makes you feel. There’s something in it that the reader can relate to. So, it doesn’t really matter if you knew Amy or not. I write what’s personal to me and you can connect to it through something personal to you. Magic.

And so, I find that this giving friend of mine keeps on giving. And I simply pass on the message. Creativity and connection. Do with that what you will.

Amy Louise Hyler
1966-2012

Carpe Diem

Ever feel that a movie’s theme is the theme to your whole life? I watched Dead Poets Society again last weekend and it struck a chord deep inside me then, as much as it did in 1989. Then, the passion it stirred up was like that of the student’s in the movie, largely unfulfilled, barely recognized even. Now, I know my desire to write with the same certainty that character Neil Perry feels for his love of acting.

I might have even gotten a tattoo with the words Carpe Diem. Now it feels a bit too cliche — both the phrase and the tattoo itself. I guess I missed that opportunity some years ago. At least I didn’t miss the writing life.

So, I encourage you to “gather ye rosebuds while ye may” if you haven’t already done so. Gather them now, don’t wait. Or in the words of Henry David Thoreau, “…and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. “

I’m a Push Girl!

With fellow Push Girl,
Ashley Cooper-Heath,
Ms. Wheelchair Florida

Well, minus the traffic-stopping good looks, the regular voice, the clothes, the dates and the cool wheelchair. I realize that’s an awful lot of missing qualities, but I really think it has more to do with attitude. It’s a spirit and passion for life. It’s about not letting disability keep you from living a full, active life.

I caught three of the four Push Girls on a talk show last week, The Jeff Probst Show. I’m proud to say I had no idea who he was until I flipped by Survivor (not watched, I swear) and recognized his crater-sized dimples. I’m such a fan of the show (Push Girls, not Survivor,) I decided to re-run my “Pushing the Envelope” post, because I think everyone should meet these girls.

It’s hard for me to judge how successful the show is or why. I love it. And I really don’t think it’s because I’m in a wheelchair. Lots of able-bodied friends I know have watched it and become hooked.

I did find out something on the talk show I didn’t know. One of the girls, former model Angela, recently returned to modeling on the show. She had quit young — 21 or so — because she didn’t like promoting the message of ideal beauty. She’s modeling again, paving the way for others with disabilities, because now she has a different message to put out there. How cool is that?

Jeff asked them what their life-changing event had taught them. Their answers seem to sum up what I’m always trying to convey. That life is short. It can change in an instant. Their second chances reminded them that life is precious.

Original Post:

There’s just no competing with California. Better weather, healthier lifestyle, prettier people. Even the girls in wheelchairs are glamorous in L.A.  Case in point: “The Push Girls,” a new reality show featuring four beautiful, brave women — all disabled.

Hooray! Finally, a reality show I can admit to watching. And a show I can relate to. Not that I have much in common with these women aside from height, or lack of it. No, next to this bunch with their stylish clothes, high heels and blinged-out wheels, I look ready for the nursing home in my stretchy pants and granny wheelchair. But I applaud them. They refuse to be typecast. They’re pushing boundaries and breaking molds. Their new series on the Sundance Channel (Mondays at 10) is dispelling any preconceived notions of what it means to be handicapped. Continue reading “I’m a Push Girl!”

Best Day Ever!

Annie balances the boat

Otherwise known as “Why I Live at the Beach.” Seriously, I don’t mean to sound like a beach snob, but it was 9:00 a.m. On a Thursday. And we walked there. Well, I didn’t walk, obviously, but it was an extremely short ride in the beach wheelchair.

My friend, Michele, and her daughter, Annie, took me out kayaking. At first, we weren’t sure we were going. It wasn’t the calmest day we could’ve picked, but I voted to go for it. Michele had a day off. Annie was only in town for another week. The stars were aligned.

Getting past the breakers

Once we made it out past where the waves were breaking (I was instructed to lean back,) it was smooth sailing. Annie swam out to us and climbed in the middle of the two-person kayak. I have no idea how she did this. It took place behind me and I was scared to turn my head for fear of tipping us over. Suffice it to say, she slipped in the boat like some kind of Navy Seal.

I, on the other hand, was given a paddle that sat uselessly in my lap after I demonstrated my paddling skills – wildly slapping the water or grazing it enough to make forward movement very difficult.

Free to simply enjoy the ride I said, “It’d be perfect if we saw some dolphins.”

And what do you think happened next?

Michele and Annie spotted three dolphins. My eyesight’s so poor, I hardly ever see them from the shore anymore. I know they’re out there, because people have tried to point them out, but they’re usually too far away. We must have been 10 yards from these three. Close enough to hear them breathe.

Float time!

Returning to shore didn’t go quite as smoothly. We tipped over in a wave and spilled out. But I didn’t mind. Even when snow skiing, falling was my favorite part. Besides, I was wearing a life jacket. Michele and I played in the surf. She was looking for the hat she’d lost when we capsized. I was trying not to drown. Swimming in the ocean is probably something many of you take for granted. I don’t anymore.

It didn’t escape my attention that the date was October 4th. Exactly six years since the brain surgery that saved me. Not a bad day, or way, to celebrate life.

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