We are here today to celebrate the life of Aimee Adamski.
She was a treasured family member to many.
A daughter. Sister. Wife. Mother. Grandmother. Great grandmother.
She was a North Dakotan turned Oregonian (though never fully).
A nurse.
A beloved friend.
A fire cracker.

Yes, she was a fire cracker.
Even in her last days – her last hours, really – she sparkled. I like to think of her as an indelible fire cracker because I know she has made a lasting impression on those who knew her. I can see her smile when I close my eyes. My ears ring joyously with the sound of her laugh. And though she is physically leaving us, we can carry her memory and her spirit in our hearts forever.

Aimee’s spirit was one of deep respect and love for her family, her friends, and the communities she lived in. Over the last few years, I’ve had the opportunity to share many meals, drinks, and walks around St. Johns with my Grandma Aimee. I learned a lot about her and also the comings and goings of other family members. One thing that strikes me is the absolute love and confidence she had for all of us. At times one of us may have puzzled her by our choices or behavior, but even if she expressed confusion or concern about something one of her children or grandchildren did, she always gave us the benefit of the doubt. She trusted that we would all find our ways, as different as they may be. She accepted and loved all of us “as is.” Now the challenge for all of us is to love ourselves and each other as much as Aimee loved us.

In reflecting on her life, many people have described Aimee as independent. And I believe this characterization to be true, if incomplete. Aimee’s spirit is really one of interdependence because in addition to being that fire cracker we all admire, she felt a great sense of responsibility to her family. And I’m using the term “family” here in the broadest sense. Although her blood relatives certainly would’ve been enough, she cared deeply about all people and about the world we live in.

Before she came home from the hospital last Thursday, a few of her family members gathered around her and prayed. I began reading the Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi because it’s a favorite of mine and I strive to live my life according to it.

I started:

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.”

Mid-prayer I had an “ah ha” moment of sorts. I realized: to live my life like this prayer was to live my life like Grandma Aimee.

Peace. Love. Pardon. Faith. Hope. Light. Joy.

I continued:

“O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.”

Aimee Adamski lived her life as this prayer.

She consoled.
Understood.
Loved.

Grandma Aimee, you loved.
Thank you for your wisdom, your wit, and your will.
Thank you for being our indelible fire cracker.