Remembering Amy Capehart: A Mother and Veteran with Migraine
June 7th is Remembrance Day for two reasons: June is Migraine Awareness Month, and on June 7, 2013, the migraine community lost a young woman, Melissa Dwyer, to suicide. You can read more about her story and Remembrance Day here.
On Remembrance Day 2021, I want to remember my friend Amy, who passed away in 2014.
Have you ever grieved for someone you never met in person? Someone with who you shared intimate and painful moments, but who you never got to hug, laugh in person, or grab a cup of coffee? For those of us in the migraine world who knew Amy, that grief was very real in 2014 when we learned of her passing.
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I "met" Amy in an online support group, Chronic Migraine Awareness (CMA), part of a nonprofit organization of the same name. We started chatting about our lives, our daily pain, and how we coped. We supported each other over messages and the phone; she called me during some really painful attacks, and I cried on the phone after I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
Sharing pain and humor
Despite our shared pain, we never dwelled on it too long; Amy's sense of humor didn't allow that. During one of her severe attacks, she said it was worse than childbirth. She said, "There's something called an epidural. Get one!" We both laughed. A few years after her passing, when the nurse in the delivery room got me hooked up to the IV, I thought, Amy was right!
She was one of the kindest, most giving people I knew. The CMA support group often sent letters to people who had a rough time, so many of us got letters from Amy. I keep a small shoebox with the letters she sent me.
Amy's struggle with migraine disease
Amy experienced chronic migraine disease, which caused her great pain and disability. She was a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard and a mother to two boys she loved dearly, but migraine had taken over her life. I forget the specifics of how or when it started for her, and I'm not entirely sure what caused her passing. That is, I suppose, the product of not knowing someone in person. I would have loved to attend her funeral and hug her family. Still, I'm glad I could tell part of her story.
Some words from others
I'm not the only one who remembers Amy. Below are some words from others in remembrance of Amy.
"Amy was a kind soul. I was happy that we [CMA] could be there for her and that she had people to turn to. I wish we could have done more for her." - Catherine Charrett-Dykes, President/Founder, Chronic Migraine Awareness
"Amy was a person you could talk to about anything. She was a fun-loving person and loved her kids dearly. In fact, one of the last pictures I commented about was her son playing around. I miss Amy every day." - Lisa Quin
"We messaged a few times for mutual support. I just know she was suffering and struggling. So many are lost in their pain and isolation." - Sarah Murray
"I remember Amy always being supportive and kind. I knew her through the migraine community and us commenting on each other's posts and discussing the struggles of chronic migraine very openly. I remember her messaging me to check-in. She was sweet, non-judgmental, a good listener." -Lisa Matelski
Amy's words of encouragement
I want to end with some words from Amy, written to me in one of her messages: "Keep your chin up as best you can and know that I am here if you need anything!"
I will, Amy, and I know.
To read Amy's obituary, click here.
Did you know Amy or someone else in the migraine community who has passed? I invite you to remember them below.
Have you taken our Migraine In America Survey yet?