This I believe, Amy Louise Daley was my friend. It is so easy to get caught up in the business of survival that your miss participating in life. I am no stranger to death believe me, but finding out about Amy’s death was like the death of one of my soldiers, a kick to the heart, a jolt to my soul. Amy was my friend even though I never met her.
Our relationship began in 1999 while I was deployed in Bosnia as part of the US Army stabilization forces. In the spirit of the USO, Amy had sent out letters of support to the troops with one of them landing in my hand. We established a pen-pal relationship, for me a supportive tie to the US. She eventually became an example of validation for the sacrifices I was enduring in the protection of our country. Amy signified the potential of what we can all do by believing the good we can accomplish as opposed to collapsing under the weight of the ugliness of this world, ugliness that can suffocate you to a paralyzing state. Over almost a decade, we shared an intimacy of our philosophy of life.
We not only E-mailed each other as time permitted, but exchange snail mail also. I fondly remember her mail; the book “Tuesdays with Morrie” she sent me which I returned to her highlighted with the passages that hit home; sharing with her that my favorite book was “Anne of Green Gables” which she was not judgmental about; the red, white, and blue Gatorade packs to help keep me hydrated in Iraq.
I though it was kind of unusual when she did not respond to my E-mails of “How you doing?” But as I stated before, it is so easy to get caught up in the business of survival, especially as a soldier in a combat zone. What I did not know until today was she had been taken by domestic violence 27 April 2007 in Winter Haven, Florida. I feel so helpless and guilty that I was not there to help. I lament missing getting to know her better, that I did not make the time. I am a soldier and have been for all of my adult life. Amy was my friend, a citizen soldier that stood by my side.
I always worried about her job when she was a social worker especially when she described what she had to do as part of her job. She E-Mailed me once from Florida,
“All the living on the edge is the living I do at work. Going into some of the homes I go into… with women/child beaters, sexual molesters, mentally ill, drug users, and criminals… And, if I feel uncomfortable I either bring someone with me, or have them meet me at my office or in public when I can. But that’s rare.”
She did this as her job, diligently as possible, with a positive outlook on her contribution to the situation. This worried me for her safety thinking this could have terminal results. When she started teaching at Loughman Oaks Elementary, it relieved my concerns.
It angers me that the domestic violence she bravely engaged, would eventually take her under different circumstances when her guard was down. The taking of life to advance your point can never be the answer whether it’s an Islamic extremist, ethnic cleansing, or a disillusioned life partner. It’s all the same, terrorism with a different name, in this case domestic violence.
Amy Louise Daley was a very special person, engraved in me. I tended not to participate in the funerals of fellow soldiers because they never really died to me. They lived in my memories, just like Amy does. She was my friend, this I believe.