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