“Please let people know everyone is going through something, and kindness, acceptance and love are truly necessary. Please let my friends and family know how much they have meant to me.” – Amy Huntsinger in a letter to her family
We mourn and celebrate the life and soul of our beloved Amy – beautiful wife, mother, daughter, sister, granddaughter, auntie, niece, cousin, friend, physical therapist, person... Amy was the most beautifully thoughtful, caring, genuine, generous, loyal, gentle, kind person we’ve known, a blessing to all who were fortunate to meet her. She was the best this world has to offer, but the world was not as kind to her as she was to it. We will never understand why we were not able to help her win her battle against the world and defeat her chronic pain and depression. Her battle is over, her love lives on, and we know that she is now joyful and at peace in the loving arms of Jesus.
Amy, we love you; we miss you; we will see you again. You were more than enough…
We want to thank all of our family, friends and community members, who came from near and far, and in spirit, to mourn and celebrate Amy’s life and to support us in our grief. You hold us up.
Below we are sharing our pastor’s homily at the funeral, which was inspirational to all who attended, as well as wonderful eulogies in remembrance of Amy by Erin and Amy’s friend Jenn, Please read as much, or as little, as you want. We believe you will come away feeling uplifted and loved...
Memorial Donation suggestion: For those who have asked about a memorial donation, a college education fund has been set up at the Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU.org or Phone No. 800-562-0999) for Amy and Travis’ children. The Account Name is “Paige and Keean EDU” and the number is 7071900. Thank you.
To: Rick Jacobson
Date: 4/6/19 3:51 PM (GMT-08:00)
Subject: Amy's Funeral Homily
Rick and June,
I pray that your broken hearts will continue to heal. It will take time. The pain may never completely be far away, but God will always be near, even if at times this seems hard to believe. If you have devotion to Mary, turn to her. She knows what it is like to lose a child. She can surround you with a mother’s love.
I was truly impressed with your family. I hope you will continue to be there for each other.
You are in my prayers.
Homily for Amy Huntsinger 4.5.19
Thank you all for being here, for making the effort during this time of tragic lost to be with Amy’s family, and to join with them in prayer as we seek God’s comforting presence. Words do not come easily as we try to give comfort. There are no magic words to make the pain go away. Your presence is itself a sign of your compassion - and of God’s.
Sometimes life gives ample time and opportunity to prepare for death, our own or another’s, to say thank you’s, good-byes. At other times it feels like too much time, as the dying process plays out for months, even years. Then, there are times when life ends suddenly, alone, with no good-byes. Such is part of the grief that draws us together this day as we mourn Amy’s death.
Most here know Amy took her own life. Suffering for some time, apparently, something finally broke in her, broke the spirit of this lovely woman who had been so strong for others.
We are left with our questions: why her, why now, why couldn’t her life’s story have turned out with a better ending? Why didn’t she find healing? Couldn’t God have done something? Many questions, no answers. God does not owe us answers. Only love. He promised to be with us always, no matter what. So where is God? How present?
There are three ways that can ease our burden, reveal God’s presence: family, tears, faith. Gathering with family and friends helps. Sharing stories. Humor. Strong family, there for each other. Grace from God. I know you do not take this lightly. Perhaps today God prompts us to renew and commit to our own families. We all take each other for granted - part of human nature. Maybe today we can acknowledge that and do something about it. That being said, as precious as the gift of family is; it not enough.
God gave us also the gift of tears. God made tears, not the devil. We resist this gift, but they are given for a reason. Tears help release emotions that have no other healthy place to go. This, too, is important, but when all tears are spent, anger vented, we know tears are not enough. In the midst of life’s losses, we need something much deeper, more meaningful.
As life’s losses mount up, we are tempted to take fewer risks in loving. We don’t want to have to feel this pain of grief again. We pull back. But we are made for love – to be loved, to give ourselves away in love, even when, especially when it hurts. Our lives are not about us but others. When we turn in on selves, we become cynical, negative, cold. Life without the risks and rewards of love is pretty miserable.
In the midst of life’s losses, we have hope, enough hope to continue loving, because of our faith in Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Scripture holds forth the promise to us: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it so much as dawned on us what God has prepared for those who love him. Being raised from the dead on the last day at the end of time. We will be given glorious, transformed bodies in Christ, Reunited with loved ones who have gone before us. We will experience eternal life where there are no more tears, no more sorrow, no more death.
The perennial challenge of faith, brought into sharper focus at times of loss: dare we believe this? Dare we put all our eggs in one basket, the basket that is faith in Jesus Christ? Or hedge our bets, ride the fence wondering if it is too good to be true? Is there a better offer / at least more immediately satisfying answer?
Dare not believe? Deep inside, all yearn for a love that in more honest, humble, for moments that know more than what we deserve. The source of this hope is the Risen Christ himself, present to us, inviting us, urging us to follow him, to love him each day of our lives. All are created in the image and likeness of God, created for all that is eternal. Christ himself longs to lead us there.
The Risen Christ renews His call to us today “Come follow me”. Jesus says ‘Come to me and I will give you peace, show you the way to fullness of life that you can’t find anywhere else’. This loss is an invitation to all of us – no matter where we are in our faith journey – to move closer to Christ -. to take the risk of loving Christ, because our hope is in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Jesus who has conquered everything stands between us & God. Christ promises to turn all things into good for those who love him – even this tragic loss! Today in the midst of grief, we say thank you for Amy. We ask the Lord for grace to live our lives with ever deeper faith, lasting hope, richer love.
Euology for Amy Huntsinger by Erin Merrifield
I’m sure most of us are wondering how are we here? How is it possible that we are sitting here remembering and celebrating Amy‘s life? Of all people? Amy was the definition of a saint. She cared deeply for others, she had immeasurable compassion, she was patient and humble to her core, she was always there to help lift others up, to try to solve their problems. God even included her in two miracles when she brought her extremely premature babies into the world and fought right alongside them as they grew and flourished. No. There is no good explanation for why we are here. Yet, if I was giving this eulogy 50 years from now as I had expected myself to do, I wouldn’t be able to share with most of you what you already know....Amy was the best.
She was the best listener. People were so drawn to her with their problems because she would listen with such great intent and then work with them to try to find a solution.
She was the best physical therapist. Not only did her patients request her for life after just one visit, but she never turned down the opportunity to help her own family members or friends, be it after work or on the weekend despite being tired from her physically taxing job.
She was the best at making others feel important. She would seek out those sitting in the corner at a party and make sure they felt loved and included. She would give compliments freely and assure others of their worth.
I may get in trouble for saying this because, coming from a Catholic family, there are a lot of us, but I think she earns the title of best cousin. She made sure to really know each of us. She welcomed cousins’ spouses into the family with open arms. As my cousin Tony’s wife Rachel said, “Amy was so warm and kind to me, and I'll always hold her in my memory as a friendly and safe face amid a sometimes overwhelmingly boisterous Jacobson crowd”.
She was the best auntie our children could ever dream of. Every time I realize I’ll never hear our children scream “Auntie Amy!!” in the most insanely loud voices again, my heart breaks. I struggle with the fact my 6 month old will never really know her and how to make sure my 2 and 4 year olds never forget her. As my sister-in-law Jelena said, Amy spent extra time with her autistic 3-year-old son Gryffin, wrestling and understanding him which is the rarest thing she has seen so far. She was her nieces’ and nephews’ favorite person.
She was the best wife to Travis who adored her for how loving and caring she was. She would always put her family’s needs first, and Trav admits he would be 400 pounds if it wasn’t for her telling him to eat better.
She was the best mom to Paige and Keean. She was an amazing role model for the kids to emulate and it’s no coincidence that they have the sweetest and most caring personalities. She spent so much time cuddling them every night and always said it was the best part of her day. She sacrificed countless hours of sleep in order to make sure their children were happy and safe. She was so proud of them.
Heather, Ryan, and I had the best sister. Even in childhood she would let my friends and me follow her around despite being six years younger (all of my friends wanted her for their sister; I knew just how lucky I was). She rejoiced in our highs and cried with us through our lows. Even though she would complain about being the forgotten “middle sister”, to me that meant she was the glue that held us all together. How I wish we could just ask Papa to get out the superglue and help fix this terrible break like he does with our kids’ toys. I don’t know if Jelena, Jason, and Caleb were luckier to marry into our family because of their incredible spouses or because they gained Amy as a sister.
Mom and Dad had the best daughter. Her love and appreciation of her parents was deep, genuine, and palpable. She loved sharing the joy of her beautiful family with them. She was always the first to help with cooking and cleanup at family gatherings and assist them in whatever they needed, be it watching over their house while they were away, opening her home to them for months while they built theirs, or pouring them a glass of their favorite wine. But that was Amy, always welcoming, always hospitable, always loving.
Amy was my best friend, and I know I’m not the only person here who would say that. I will never be able to replace her and that’s OK. I don’t want to. She was the best this world had offer, but it was not as kind to her as she was to it. It’s strange as I’m sure there are a lot of us here today who would look at Amy’s life and think wow, I wish I had what she had. And yet as she recently told a friend, “Real life is a struggle that we tend to keep behind closed doors. I have a hard time remembering that when I see such bliss and happiness of friends on Facebook or in daily life”.
I always wanted to be just like Amy. Be like the daughter she was, the sister she was, the friend she was, the mother she was. Mom, Dad, Grandma, teachers from high school, our old swim coach....most of them called me Amy more often than they called me Erin! To me, this was a compliment and showed just how great an impact she made on people’s hearts. I don’t know how I’m going to survive without getting her opinion on EVERYTHING. What outfit to wear, how to decorate my kids’ rooms, sending her pictures of random body parts asking her why does this hurt and how do I fix it...? She stood beside me at my wedding, she stood beside me through my entire life.
And that smile....it would truly light up the room, a sentiment so many people have shared with me this past week and a half. She was absolutely beautiful. It’s hard to fathom that she thought herself anything less than perfect. We will never understand why we weren’t able to help her win her battle against the world. We wish she would have allowed us to share her pain but that wasn’t Amy. She never wanted to be a burden or bring anyone else down. Our comfort lies in knowing that she is now at peace resting in the loving arms of Jesus.
While her battle is over, her memory will live on forever. Not an hour in the day goes by that something doesn’t remind me of her, or I don’t tell myself this is how Amy did it, which is why I do it this way as well. She taught me more than anyone. How to be a better sister, a better wife, a better mother. A better person.
Travis, we are here for you always. You are family now and forever whether you like it or not. Paige and Keean, don’t ever lose the sweet gentleness of your souls. You got that from your dear Mommy and she loved you, more than anything in the world.
I hope you can see now, Amy, that you were more than enough. We love you. Our loss is Heaven’s gain.
Eulogy for Amy Huntsinger by Jenn Miller
Never in a million years did I think that I would be here, doing this, but it is my utmost honor to be able to share with you my thoughts and memories of Amy. I met Amy in the first few days of our freshman year in college at Western. I came to Western with a roommate that I had known since elementary school, and a few other high school friends. I was feeling comfortable and fairly confident, and I wasn’t really looking to make any new friends. Acquaintances sure, but real friends I had plenty of. Then one day, maybe even the first day of college, I sat down in a pre-requisite music studies class next to this sweet, friendly blonde girl. In an instant we became fast friends and never looked back. I feel like that’s how a lot of people became friends with Amy. One short conversation, and best friends for life! Later that year as we were getting ready to move out of our dorm and getting ready to move into a new quad dorm with 4 rooms that had 2 people in each room, there were at least 4 of us fighting over Amy! In hindsight I feel kind of bad for the pressure we put on her! I remember hoping and praying, fingers crossed, that she would pick me to be her roommate. When she did I felt like I had won the lottery, and years later I would learn that it was a better gift than any lottery I could ever win. We were a perfect balance for each other. I was social, she was studious. She brought out the more studious side of me (and might be the only reason I actually graduated!) and I brought out the social side of her. We were side by side at every party and never missed an opportunity to have fun. At the same time she managed to graduate with an amazing GPA and got accepted to UW for her masters as planned. She never wavered from the plan. She became a physical therapist and her work was her pride and joy. Her clients felt how much she cared, and anyone around her knew how much her work meant to her. We shared wardrobes, beers (literally putting plastic wrap over a Keystone that we shared and couldn’t finish - and put back in the fridge - and finished the next day!), pizza that we would just stuff under our bed until the next morning when we would eat it cold for breakfast, Cool Ranch Doritos - wait, she didn’t share those, she could eat an entire bag by herself no problem. SO many memories, and the best things we ever shared were our roommates. Sophomore year I fell in love with my husband Tony, who just so happened to be Travis’s roommate. They were both so sick of us new lovebirds being in either of their rooms that they started escaping to whosever room we weren’t in. As with the rest of us, it didn’t take long for Travis to fall in love with Amy. The next 2 years of school and for years after that, it was the 4 of us with this special bond, one of my favorite stories to tell people. In fact, we were literally just telling our friends this story less than 2 weeks ago.
As anyone who is here knows, Amy was a unicorn - better and more special than everyone else I knew. Kind, loving, loyal, precise, frugal, smart, funny, silly, sweet - so great that I picked her to be the maid of honor in my wedding over 6 of my best friends that I had known since I was born, that were like sisters to me. It was a no brainer. She stood next to me during my vows to Tony, and when it was her turn I was there every step of the way as she prepared and married Travis. I was there the day she went into labor with Paige, and I was by her side as she dealt with all that comes with a preemie, and more. She stopped eating dairy, gluten and soy (which is pretty much all food in my opinion) just so she could do what was best for Paige. She had so many sleepless nights, but her whole world was doing what was best for her new daughter. Then only a couple of years later, she went into labor with Keean even earlier than she did with Paige. I’ll never forget that phone call in May - when she wasn’t due until like August! Once again she went into battle with a preemie like a champ, never wavering and knowing what was best for her children that she loved so much. She religiously advocated for March of Dimes and families of preemies. Paige, I want you to know that your mom was so proud of you. I see so much of her in you, even just in the way you keep your room so nice and tidy and how responsible you are. Keean, you were your mom’s softest spot. I know she loved to cuddle you and was so proud of you too. A good majority of what we talked about were the two of you, and how much she loved you. She also loved Travis dearly. So much that she would always have him on some sort of diet. Don’t worry Trav - I’ll leave some cinnamon rolls and bud light on the counter before I leave. Amy was such a caretaker, always taking care of everyone around her. She loved her family; they were everything to her. I don’t have many, or really any friends where their parents and siblings feel like my family. She brought me into her life because she loved everyone around her so much that she wanted to share them. I expected to see Rick and June every time I came to Spokane to hang with Amy, and came to love them and her siblings like they were my own family.
We are all heartbroken at this devastating and tragic loss of a life that was a gift to everyone who knew her. We are all forever changed for the better for knowing Amy, and the thing is, I know she knew that. She didn’t leave this world because she didn’t feel loved; she left this world because she loved too much.
When you lived your life for others and you loved without condition,
When you made so many laugh and your smile won’t be forgotten,
When you left behind an empty space that no one else can fill,
When the friendships that you shared long to be renewed,
When you built your life on hope and fulfilled it every day,
The footprints that you left behind will bring us face to face.
So, goodbye is not forever,
You’re only steps away…