Amy Frohnmayer Winn

It is with profound sorrow that we announce the loss of a truly beautiful, fierce, and compassionate soul, Amy Frohnmayer Winn, our dear friend, inspiration, and FARF board member. We pass along a message from Lynn Frohnmayer that was posted on Amy’s Caring Bridge site:

“’I hear a lot of words like “unfair” or “sorry.” But if you think about it, aren’t these all just bonus years? Am I not just extraordinarily lucky? In this moment, sipping coffee and watching dawn paint downtown Portland in pastels, there is nowhere else I’d rather be.” (Two weeks ago)

Amy’s capacity to feel gratitude and share love in the most dire of situations was on full display yesterday. The sudden onset of severe breathing problems and the diagnosis of pneumonia prompted her doctors to move her to the Intensive Care Unit where she could get additional breathing support. Friends from high school, Stanford and Portland happened to be visiting this weekend, and made regular trips back to her small cubicle in the ICU. Her exclamations of delight at seeing each visitor were vintage Amy: “It’s so wonderful – to look up and see someone else I love walking through that door!” And “How lucky I am – to be surrounded by so many people I love.” She expressed gratitude to each visitor- for cards, thoughtful gestures, friendship and love. She recalled minute details of time shared together.

We were all frantically worried, hoping against hope that strong antibiotics would quickly combat her pneumonia and we could soon return to the 14th floor, where a room had been saved for her.

But it was not to be. Throughout the evening her breathing became more labored. Surrounded by her devoted family, Amy passed away at 3:45 this morning. To say that we are all heartbroken, beside ourselves with grief doesn’t adequately cover the excruciating sense of loss we feel. We are only comforted by the knowledge that she was surrounded by her devoted family, and the love in the room was palpable.

During the day Amy asked that I read several poems by Mary Oliver, a writer whose work Amy deeply admired. She has always found special meaning in the last phrases of “In Blackwater Woods”:

To live in this world you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

I am sure we won’t ever be able to “let Amy go.” Amy was our teacher, our guide, our inspiration, our love. Like so many of you, we all feel deeply grateful that this unique spirit touched our lives so profoundly. We are all determined to keep Amy forever in our hearts and try to embody, as best as we can, her love for nature, for cherished friends and family, and her enduring sense of gratitude for this far too short life she was given.”

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