When Amanda’s mom passed away last October, there was a part of my close group of childhood girlfriends (the Yas) that died too. Judy is the first parent to pass away, and she wasn’t just a parent. She was one of my friends — someone I loved talking to about books and travel. She was a woman I wanted to be more like. I always felt like a part of the family in their home and Judy and Amanda’s relationship was so peaceful and loving.

The months since her death have been so hard for Amanda, her brother and their father. In all fairness, they’ve been difficult for each of us too. Not in the same way, of course, but they have been difficult in different ways. I think the funeral was the hardest part for me. For any of us. It was so beautiful. It was almost like Judy had planned everything before she passed away, and I believe that to be true. Amanda told me that she had been thinking about getting Final Expense Life Insurance (read more for information) to help cover her funeral expenses as she didn’t want her family to be left with this burden. I can’t say whether she went through with this or not but it was a lovely service, and you could tell that it had been planned down to the last detail.

Since then, so many things have changed. I can definitely say I’m holding my mom a bit closer, being a bit more appreciative, arguing less and loving more. I can also say I’ve watched Amanda in awe. Full of grace, she’s handling this mourning with the full spectrum of emotion and let herself feel and live it.

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Amanda inherited many of her mother’s things. One of these was an old sewing box full of odd notions and patterns. She also received the bejeweled bag. Judy sewed on occasion and while Amanda loved this bag because it was her mother’s, her own style is much simpler. She asked if I’d take the handles and the style of the first and create something she’d like to carry — keeping the spirit and losing the flare.

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This reversible tote was easy to create. I even found the green webbing for the handles in Judy’s sewing box — Amanda passed it along to me several months ago.


This project was a simple transition. Living in a time of life where our grandparents, parents and friends age, get sick and die isn’t. I hope those facing illness and mourning are similarly surrounded by a circle of loving and remembering friends. I am so thankful Judy’s spirit is alive and well — in her daughter, in her previous projects and in those of us who were lucky enough to spend time with her.