Point & Click
Today is Amys birthday. Had she lived, she would be 43 today. But she didnt live. She died two months ago of cancer. Before you think, Yee gads, this is a downer. Time to move on to the comics! give me a minute. Give me a minute to tell you about Amy Toner Jones. Amy was one of my best friends in this whole weird world. Actually, she still is. Amy died, but our friendship didnt. Its there any time I want it. All I have to do is think of her and there she is. I met Amy when she moved to the Roaring Fork Valley from Boulder to be with a guy, in the late 80s. The guy thing didnt work out, and she moved back to Boulder, but we remained tight friends. She was the kind of friend that I might not talk to for weeks months, even and all it would take was a phone call or a visit, and wed be right where we left off. Wed have these meandering, marathon conversations where one topic would lead into another none of it seeming to be related and yet it would all tie in at the end. Wed plan our lives out, and console each other when one of us was going through a hard time. Best of all, wed laugh like wild hyenas when something struck us funny. Life seemed funny and quirky and ironic when Amy was around. Death is a funny thing because when it strikes, it makes people sad and grieve and feel bad because the one whos gone isnt there anymore. But those feelings are in total contrast to Amy. She was life, all the way up, no holding back. I cant think about her and not get a smile on my face. That laugh. That friendship. That girl.Amy was a photographer and a horsewoman. She combined these two passions and created a career photographing horses. Like in any field, the competition for top-notch horse photographers is fierce. Amy wasnt getting the horse magazine cover shots she wanted, so she came up with the crazy idea to specialize in taking pictures of miniature horses and she made an amazingly good living doing it.Id tease her, and introduce her to friends as, The High Priestess of Miniature Horse Photography! which would make us laugh. Meanwhile, shed go on traveling the country taking pictures of mini-horses and making thousands of dollars in the process. More recently, Amy expanded into taking very cool black-and-white photographs of children. She also started specializing in dog portraits after she got tired of the mini-horse world. Animals and kids trusted this girl, and her photos reflected that. Its a good sign when animals and kids trust someone, especially when that someone has a big camera in front of her face. Amy moved to southern California in the mid-90s, and found an apartment in a house in Malibu just before wildfires whipped through her neighborhood, destroying everything but foundations and chimneys. She had to rebuild her life after that, and she did. She bought a little funky beach house in Encinitas just north of San Diego, and rescued a boxer named Satchmo. She met a man named Brent, and that was it. Love. They got married in September of 2000. The wedding was in her backyard, and the reception was down the street. Then she got breast cancer. Out of all my friends, Id have to say Amy was one of the healthiest nothing in excess, everything in balance. She had no history of cancer in her family. She drank soy milk. She drank red wine. She ran and did yoga. Shed whip up great meals and eat with chopsticks. Still, she got breast cancer. She got that cleared up, then got bone and liver cancer. Again, she did radiation and chemo and alternative therapy, too.It looked like the cancer was retreating, and it did for a few months, but then it came back to her brain. She died within weeks of getting her brain cancer diagnosis.Amy wasnt about death and disease. No one that we love who dies is about the end, whether it be untimely like Amy, suddenly, or after a long, rich life. And so I remember this when I think of Amy, when I think of that wonderful full-body laugh that came out of that tiny, beautiful woman with the enormous heart, that laugh with the little Whoop! at the finish.I think of Amy and I cant stop smiling. I cry about her, too, dont get me wrong. I cried just the other morning, when I heard a sweet song on the radio about someone whos not there anymore. But through those tears, I just cant help but smile. Im smiling right now, through my tears. Carrie Click is a reporter for the Post Independent.
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Editor’s note: The Post Independent, in conjunction with Valley Life For All, continues a monthly series of profiles about people in our community who meet challenge with courage and perseverance.