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Who Was Amanda?


Amanda has a 14 month old brother, Trevor.

Amanda, a couple of months before her death, began to love and play with Trevor in a whole new way. Trevor loves being ticked. Amanda would hold Trevor and tickle him and Trevor would smile, giggle, and beam at her. She would let him walk and she’d crawl after him saying, "I’m going to get you" and Trev would laugh so hard he could hardly walk. He would half-run, half-stumble, ecstatic that he was escaping her. Now, Trevor looks around the house calling "Nana, Nana?" He misses his sister.

Ronnie is Amanda’s 3 year old brother.

Ronnie’s most frequent physical competitions in life were with Amanda. Even though Amanda outweighed him 4 to 1, he treated her like an equal or actually as a subordinate. "Go AWAY, ‘manda," or "Play with me, ‘manda," he would order as he saw fit. If words didn’t work, he would use his 30 pounds of physical might, hitting or biting her. Although Ronnie often hurt Amanda, she never hit back. Since Ronnie doesn’t fully understand her being gone, and the impact hasn’t hit him yet, we can only imagine how his life will be changed, and the grief he will go through.

Alyssa is 13, a year and a half older than Amanda.

Amanda looked to Alyssa as a hero. Although it became less obvious when she got older, Amanda followed Alyssa, copied her in every way she could, and shared many secrets with her. She taught Amanda to watch TV, read, ride her bike, braid her hair, play Barbies and "house," and sneak candy, cookies, and pop without Mom or Dad noticing. Alyssa and Amanda almost seemed like twins because they were so close in age and inseparable. Amanda was just beginning to become interested in clothes, makeup, and boys. She never had a boyfriend and often told Alyssa she thought she never would have one. We suspect that she had many secret admirers, though. Alyssa and Amanda loved going to dances at school. Amanda listened to so much music on the radio, and had such a good memory, that she could often sing along with the radio, word for word, after hearing a song only twice. Alyssa was often annoyed by Amanda’s singing, although now she can’t remember anything sounding more beautiful. The last exchange between these two friends in the early morning before Amanda died was, "Amanda, I love you," and "Alyssa, I love you too."

Amanda arrived early in this world, and left it early as well.

From the beginning, Amanda always challenged her parents. She was born 6 weeks premature weighing only 5 pounds, and requiring an emergency C-Section. She had to stay in the hospital for a week to allow her to get stronger. Even without hardly knowing her, her parents cried every night when they had to leave her in the hospital. The nurses just loved this tiny little girl who screamed as loud as she could whenever her diaper was changed or she was woken. When she was finally released from the hospital, Amanda had to be carefully fed an ounce of formula every two hours using a feeding tube placed in her throat. Later, she became so strong that when lying on her stomach, she would press up onto her fingers and toes, looking like she was doing pushups. When she started crawling and walking, Alyssa had a shadow she couldn’t shake.

Amanda loved pretend tea parties, but even more fun was when mom gave her real KoolAid, cookies, and sandwiches. Her parents’ first video camera met its demise when a tea party got a bit wild and the camera’s tripod got knocked over, with the camera on the top. After the fall, the tape shows Amanda’s little feet running away to avoid blame.

Throughout her pre-school years, Amanda loved to dress up, sing, and pretend. She had her only stay in a hospital when she was 2 suffering severe dehydration from an intestinal virus. She insisted that dad push her all over the pediatric floor in a wheelchair for entertainment.

Amanda always had beautiful thick hair. She loved flipping it and strutting around as if she were a princess. Most of her childhood was spent outside running or playing soccer, riding her bike, or swinging on her tire swing with her long hair flying in the wind.

On the eve of Amanda’s 4th Christmas, she was running through a dark room where her cousins were playing Nintendo. Amanda tripped on the wires, and struck her forehead on a table, creating a deep cut. Her parents took her to the emergency room in a Racine, Wisconsin hospital where she got stitches. Even though the procedure was not without pain, upon leaving, she called out "I love you" to the doctors and nurses. That’s the kind of girl Amanda was.

She always loved school, and found that many things there were very easy for her. In first grade, she had the chance to be in classes with second graders, but it didn’t go to her head. She loved spelling and won the spelling bee one year and received a trophy. She was very independent and would often retreat to her bedrooom to read or write.

When she was in 5th grade, her teacher told her that if she continued her straight A performance, she would likely earn a college scholarship as the valedictorian. Amanda took this as a goal and a personal challenge, and started talking to her parents about what she was going to be when she had grown up.

Her parents encouraged her to do what she loved and do it to the best of her abilities. They were confidant of her ability to excel, even after moving to a much larger school in Eau Claire.

Amanda has had a sweet, innocent, yet playful disposition. She had a great ability to show empathy for other classmates. Amanda often befriended the "new" girl at school or the girl nobody liked. She had a way of knowing what to say to help her hurting friends look past hurtful things that were said, and to focus on what was really important.

Amanda would want you to know about her deep love for Christ. She based many of her actions and thoughts on Biblical truths she had learned. When she was 3, there were many times where her parents discussed eternity, Jesus, sin, and what salvation was. Amanda always listened and asked questions. When she was 4, she told us that she had a tract in her room and she was reading it. She understood the problem with her sin, and her need to be forgiven and become God’s child. She prayed and accepted Jesus to be her savior. On the back of the tract, she wrote her name to show that she had received salvation. Amanda’s life changed in many ways. She now thought about what Jesus would think about her activities before she did them. One of her recent "discoveries" since being in Eau Claire, is that teachers cannot openly declare the gospel in school, but "kids can say anything they want about God in speeches or reports."

The night before Amanda died, she made a bed on her floor out of several layers of blankets, where she laid, because she let her sister lay on her bed. Amanda later died on these blankets. Of the blankets Amanda chose, one was a home made quilt made by her great-grandmother Mattie Chaney for her grandpa, Ron (he passed away in 1985), one was her mother’s baby quilt made by another great-grandmother, Grace Grovogel, and the third was a hand crocheted wedding gift for her parents. Of all the blankets in the house, Amanda chose these three that had so much meaning to the family.

Amanda spared her sister’s life by waking Alyssa at 1:30 in the morning of her death, to tell her to go upstairs to her bed, because Amanda wanted to sleep in her own bed. Prior to leaving her, Alyssa told her "I love you, Amanda." The last thing Amanda said - "I love you too, Alyssa." Amanda didn’t get into her bed.

Amanda would love to be remembered as a happy, smiling, loving girl, who is now at home with her heavenly Father. She was very sensitive and would cry when touched when reading a good book or watching a good movie, or sometimes even hearing a minor chord progression in a song. She loved to dance, sing, and perform. Although she got very nervous prior to performances, she had a lot of poise and confidence.

One of the highlights of her life was the opportunity to play Helen Keller, a blind and deaf girl, in a high school play while in 5th grade. The play, "The Miracle Worker" had three performances in March, 1998. She would come home from play practice and perform little actions for us to critique to see how blind she was looking. She did very well, making her performance believable even for her parents. She loved performing and decided it would be great to have a future in theatre.

Amanda added so much to her family members’ lives. She demonstrated joy, humility, excellence, love, stubbornness, and determination. Just imagine the singing, dancing, and happiness she is enjoying in heaven right now.