Friday, September 3, 2010

Looking Back; Peering Forward

Dear friends,
Last night Amy was posthumously awarded the American Association of Birth Center's (AABC) annual award for Community Service. I received the award on Amy's behalf at the AABC's Annual Meeting. There were about 160 in attendance. Midwives, directors and owners of birthing centers, students, vendors, and friends. I was warmly welcomed. Amy received a standing ovation. It was a special, night. I had prepared remarks, but didn't use them at all. The introduction to the award and biography read by the AABC president Christine Haas was comprehensive and I would only repeat much of what she said. So I kept my thanks simple, but did share how I felt Amy died in childbirth, of sorts. She had brought the vision to an infancy, and now it was our charge to nurture this newborn to adulthood.

As I sit here at John Wayne International Airport (free wireless!), awaiting our boarding for the flight back to Maryland, via Houston, I feel encouraged. Amy embodied of life and energy. Her desire for the advancement of women in general and for a midwife-run and staffed birth center specifically is a legacy that I and others will push forward. For the first time, really, since her death, I feel a sense of calmness. Last night's event, while reflecting back on Amy's works and deeds, had a strong sense of the future. And can their be anything more fittingly symbolic of the future than a newborn?

For the record, I'm including below my remarks that were never read.

Peace and Love,
John

AABC Annual Meeting
Newport Beach, CA
September 2, 2010

Thank you. Thank you all. I’m not even sure who all to thank on behalf of Amy. But there are two others I will thank. I’ll get to them shortly.

This is bittersweet for me. I’d rather be in Takoma Park Maryland with my two boys while Amy accepts this award. But it didn’t work out that way. For me, this has to be another reminder of the great body of work Amy left from her brief time with us. And it is through our collective memories of Amy, and the works and deeds she accomplished, that she lives on.

Amy’s dream of creating a birth center in our home town came about because of her passionate frustration and anger with the state of affairs that led to the closing of nearly every birth center in our state. In the past few years she brought us to a point where a new birth center in our town is a very real possibility. Though work remains, what she set in motion will allow us to realize that dream on her behalf. I’ve mentioned this to a few, that in some ways, it is as if Amy died in childbirth. She labored and bore the Seasons of Life Birth Center, then was taken from us. And now it’s up to us to raise this infant as she would want.

For me, I hope I can live as Amy did, and instill in my boys the same ethic – not to sit idly by when something is troubling, but to take real action and confront the trouble. That was who she was. It is an important lesson for us all, I believe.

And now I'll get back to those whom I'll thank. Two special women: The two midwives who attended at the births of our two boys, Adam and Bryan. The shared experience Amy and I had, and the frustration that came knowing others couldn’t have that experience, is what moved Amy to action. And that is why I am here.

Thank you all.

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