I’m going to share someone with you. Someone very special. Someone I have enormous respect for and who is one of the people I am fortunate enough to have inspire me.
I first met Amber Ward when she was Amber McGregor. Her children were students of mine and I just really liked her. I liked her parenting style, I liked how in-touch she was with her kids, I liked her take on life. And she always had great hair. Hey…I’m female. Hair matters.
One of the strongest memories I have of Amber though is the day she came into my studio, looking absolutely stricken, and said quietly to me “I need to collect my children. My best friend’s husband was just killed in an accident.”
It was one of those moments when time just stops. Her face in that moment is frozen in my psyche. I will never forget the depth of sadness I saw in her eyes, her face, her body-language. While we waited for her children to gather their things, it occurred to me that I thought I knew who her best friend was. I asked her who. I was right. It was Brandy.
Time stopped again. I knew Brandy. I had cast her in The Vagina Monologues, which I had directed a few years earlier. If you’ve ever clicked on the Brandy Ink link on my blog, you know her too. My heart just turned over and landed with a dull thump in my gut. What do you do? What do you say? There’s not much to say. You send your thoughts to them. You wonder how you can help. You go and hug the ones you love.
Then, only a week or so later, the unthinkable happened. Amber experienced her own unspeakable loss. I cannot even begin to imagine what these two amazing young women have experienced.
The thing is though, even though I know it’s been a journey filled with sorrow and pain for them, both of them have walked through it with profound dignity and grace. I look at these two women and think “There’s the very embodiment of the strength of women”. They’re also an example of how the friendships between women, the connection we’re capable of, can hold you up, even lift you up. How we can choose to see the best in people, even be the best in people.
I went to a party last night at Amber’s home. It was a party for Brandy to celebrate an event of astounding joy. To watch both Brandy and Amber filled with joy was an honour and a privilege. To see that they had both found love again, were both surrounded by great friends, loving children and family made my own heart feel very full.
I had been thinking a lot about joy lately. Amber is a blogger as well and I had read her post about joy being a choice. About how it’s ok to seek it out and embrace it when we find it. About letting it flow through us. To see it in action was as magical as the Party Tree in the back yard that looked as if it had been decorated for the occasion by Woodland Elves and Faeries.
So if you’d like to get to know Amber a little better, you can click *here* or on the link in the sidebar. Grab a cup of tea and take a moment for yourself. You’ll be surprised what you learn about yourself through her journey.
The little red reindeer lives at Amber’s house now. When I saw it, it just reminded me of her. My husband, when he looked at it said “It’s perfect…if Amber were a reindeer THAT’S what she’d look like”. I agree. A glorious red reindeer, jumping for joy.