Time is both a blessing and a curse. It marches on, hour by hour, day by day, month by month, year by year, never wavering. As time passes this July, I desperately want it to slow down or stop. Time feels exceptionally cruel as it carries me further and further away from our last conversation; our final skype call; our last visit full of hugs, laughter, photos and cherished memories. Time is forcing me back into my routine, a return to work and responsibilities. But it all feels wrong, and I’m not sure I know how to do it anyway. Right now, time is a curse.

Somewhere down the road, time will become a blessing. As it moves me forward, the pain won’t be as acute. I won’t experience the same anguish or ache or emptiness. I know someday, the joy of our relationship and all the time we had together will matter more than anything else. I will remember the zillion reasons my life is better because of her and tell my favorite stories with smiles and pride. But in this moment, it’s nearly impossible to imagine healing in place of my broken heart.

We lost sweet Grammy Helen. Three months after celebrating her 100th birthday, she is now in heaven. Her death was relatively sudden with no real chance to say good-bye. I’m grateful she didn’t suffer; the majority of her last few days were spent sleeping. My uncle was with her as she rested, and she had the care and compassion of nurses to make her comfortable. I was hours away from boarding a plane to Wisconsin. All I wanted was one more chance to see her and hold her hand, even if she wasn’t awake and I only got a few minutes. I prayed and believed I would get that opportunity, but God had a different plan. A moment when I have to choose to trust Him and His timing, though I don’t understand why.

Our last conversation was exactly one week before she died. She wasn’t her typical cheerful, funny, talkative self. She was weak and tired and struggling to eat. I tried to encourage her and coax her into walking down the hallway to the library. I suggested sitting on the front porch the way we did every day during my visit in June of 2021. I told her she was strong and pleaded with her to try. I reminded her that she was my favorite superhero. Before we hung up, we said “I love you” more than once. We ended every phone call with “I miss you” and “I love you.” I planned to check on her Sunday after church, but she told my uncle she didn’t feel like talking. I wish I had called anyway, just so he could put the phone to her ear to hear my voice.

Grammy knew I was on my way to see her; she didn’t want me to spend the money on a plane ticket. In true Grammy fashion, she told me to save my money. She never wanted me to buy her gifts for birthdays or Christmas. She once yelled at me when I sent her a new pair of sneakers to replace worn out 20-year-old shoes. The replacements were exactly the same color and style!! She was VERY angry until she tried them on; then she couldn’t stop gushing about how comfortable they were and how thankful she was, ha. That was her last pair of shoes.

Right now, it seems like the days and nights will stretch on forever; sympathetic friends and co-workers will return to their normal lives; I will go through the motions, but I will never feel better. I will never experience true joy again, only this sadness. Rationally, that can’t be true, not as time keeps moving. But that’s how my heart feels today.

A well-known Bible verse is printed on a decorative sign that hangs in my living room. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” These words from Philippians 4:8 come from a section about trading anxiety for peace and how to do that. Even as the waves of emotion threaten to knock me flat and I miss my Grammy more than I can express, I am determined to remember what was true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy about her.

Helen was kind and sweet and generous and funny and conscientious. She was a GREAT friend who cultivated relationships over decades. She would sit and talk with them for hours. She attended grade school with her oldest friend Angie (who passed away at 99), and they could gab on the phone forever. She adored flowers and kept potted plants in her beloved bay window until the end. We talked about flowers in every phone call; when we skyped, I would show her my flowers indoors and out. One of my favorite memories will always be walking with her through her small town in central Wisconsin as she carried scissors and “pruned” the lilacs along the way by cutting off blooms and taking them home.

So much of me is just like her. We shared a love of bright colors, although I never shared her affinity for fire engine red or neon pink lipstick. She was STUBBORN and fiercely independent, only giving up her car keys and apartment at 95. My grandfather died when I was little, and she lived the next 40+ years on her own. She once told me she never went on a date after his death, that she wasn’t interested in getting married again. I’m sure she was lonely at times, but she never acknowledged it. She did tell me more than once that I better “hurry up” and find a husband so she could meet him. I’m so sorry he won’t get to know you this side of heaven, Grammy, but I promise I will tell him everything about you.💔

Grammy loved music, especially the polka. She traveled all over the upper Midwest with her polka choir for years. Those trips and the music gave her significant joy. She and my grandfather loved to dance the polka, too! Grammy Helen laughed all the time, yet another quality we had in common. I’m convinced her constant laughter is one reason she reached her centennial birthday. She loved to tell funny stories and hear my goofy tales, and she always had a ready quip. She never took herself too seriously, and her self-deprecating humor underscored her humility. I will miss her smile and enthusiastic greetings whenever she realized it was me on the phone. “Hi, AMY!!”

She loved jigsaw puzzles and grand adventures. She never shied away from new experiences, even those outside her comfort zone. In the final two years of her life, Grammy learned how to Skype. (I was SO proud of her and thankful to see her beautiful face!!) She attended her first yoga classes and her first painting class. She rode in a rickshaw with her 100-year-old neighbor…twice! She was unbelievably brave. When my uncle and aunt decided it was safer for her to move into assisted living, she left the town where she lived for 70 years and the county where she spent her whole life. At 95, she started over in an unfamiliar place, making new friends and adjusting to a new routine. Grammy rarely complained, a quality of hers I need to work harder to model.

I never took her for granted, and I always knew our good-bye hugs could be the last ones. She teared up every time I left, so I believe our relationship meant the world to her, too. I am so incredibly grateful for the last 20 years of visits and the opportunity to truly get to know her. She was worth all the effort. I had more time with her than I ever expected. Ultimately, time was a gigantic blessing. Grammy Helen made my world a brighter place, but it’s hard to fathom my world without her.

The day before she died, I was at a loss, unable to focus or concentrate on anything. I turned on the radio and the first song I heard was unfamiliar to me. Over the next 48 hours, with tears streaming down my face, I listened to the same song dozens of times. “Glory to our God who gave us life beyond the grave.”

I love you with my whole heart, Grammy. We will laugh together again. Until then, I hope you’re dancing the polka in heaven.



  1. Amy I am truly sorry for your loss. As I was reading what you wrote I couldn’t finish it because I lost my wife last year in February. I will get back to it.
    We are all blessed with someone in our life and we are all thankful to have lived and loved so deeply.
    My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family in this time of grief.
    P.S. I am also grateful I have someone to listen to on my hour ride to work. God Bless.

  2. Amy, I am sitting outside a local brew pub with tears streaming down my 60 year old face. Your tribute to your “Grammy” takes me back to my Grandmothers, both of whom have been gone over 30 years and 27 years, respectively. Thank you for sharing this. I hope you are able to wrap your heart in this irreplaceable memories.

    Sincerely, Jeff C.

  3. Allen Conrad Says:

    Such an inspiring and heartfelt tribute to Grammy Helen

  4. Sorry for your loss. You WILL see Grammy Helen again. Stay strong Amy. Pastor Moody

  5. rbroccolino Says:

    Amy, I’m very sorry for your grammy’s home coming. She is happier than she’s ever been because she’s in the presence of God. The hole in your heart is because of how close you two were. Better than not caring much because you weren’t close. You will be in my pra

  6. Sorry for your loss. Prayers for you!

  7. Ignacio Says:

    Sorry for your loss no words can express the emotions you feel.

  8. My condolences, Amy. On July 11, my mother-in-law died, 96 years old, in Sister Bay. She said she wanted to live to be 100. Almost got there. May peace and love be with your family.

  9. James E Huseltine Says:

    God be with you and your Family in these Times or Sorrow! I have just lost a Friend too that I have known since 1979. Your Grammy was Blessed with 100 Years! that is more than most people.

  10. Carol Whipps Says:

    What a very, very special tribute, Amy.
    The fact that you are aching so deeply tells how dear your relationship was, with your unforgettable and loving Grammy Helen. Unexplainable. The only best part of having to say your farewell to her is KNOWING you will be reunited in Heaven. I’m praying for you Amy. Enjoy revisiting the many memories you have. I believe that is God’s way of comforting us. Right now, the pain is so difficult, and I’m sorry you have to go through it.

  11. Joanne Forziati Says:

    So sorry Amy for your loss.
    Grammy was famous in my eyes
    You always had a story about Grammy

  12. Darryl Chandler Says:

    Amy, so sorry for your loss. Parting this earthly life with those we love is one of the most painful experiences of life. But as you know, God’s grace is sufficient. Although His grace will not take the pain away it will make it a little more bearable. The best news of this time in life is this is not a “good-bye” but a “see you later” for “those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” May the God of all comfort, comfort younin your affliction.

  13. Amy this brought both tears to my eyes me as I read it.Praying for comfort for you in the days and weeks ahead. Keep on keeping on for Grammy all the time.

  14. Praying for you and your family Amy. This is beautifully written – your Grammy would surely be proud of you – she will always live in your heart.

  15. Deepest sympathy and condolences the love you showed your Grammy Helen is a love that’s precious. God bless your family 💐

  16. Beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady! Prayers and thoughts lifted for you during this difficult time! Grammy Helen is in a glorious place waiting patiently to see you again, with her new shoes!

  17. janet alden Says:

    Amy, I am so sorry about the loss the Grammy Helen. I know how much you treasured her and I know how much she must have treasured you. i read your sweet tribute with tears. You recognized and appreciated so many things about Grammy and what a delightful and special relationship you two shared. Gentle hugs and prayers for strength and comfort. Love Janet

  18. Bill Funderburke Says:

    God bless you Amy. I’m so sorry for your loss but we do have many promises from the Word, and you most definitely will laugh with Grammy again. Please know you’re being lifted up by the prayers of the people you inspire everyday by your faith.

  19. Raymond Says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I enjoyed your stories you would share after every visit with your Grammy. She may not be physically present,  but as long as you hold her in your heart,she will be there. You will experience her presence in your quiet moments.  You were a true blessing to her. Again, thank you for sharing your Grammy with us!💖

    Sent from the all new AOL app for Android

  20. Marv & Elaine Bittinger Says:

    Our sympathies, regrets, and prayers are with you Amy! What a lovely tribute to a lovely lady.

  21. Frank Serafin Says:

    My condolences to you and your family.

  22. Kirsten Says:

    Beautiful words for a beautiful lady. So thankful for the impact you had in each other’s life. Praying for you in this hard loss. Thankful that you will see each other again.

  23. Catherine Says:

    Amy, I knew all of my grandparents well, and had that same closeness you have – as well as the pain when they passed. Unbelievably it has been 40 years now. I miss them all and wish I had asked them more questions about themselves. Time does slowly replace much of the grief with gratitude. God bless you in this hard time. – Catherine in NC

  24. My deepest sympathy to you and your family, Amy. (Sending Hugs) PJ

  25. Craig Sepulveda Says:

    Amy, Such thoughtful and poignant words to express. Over the past 4 years I enjoyed your overnight show as I drove to work. In April of this year I switched careers and was not able to listen live anymore though I continue to follow you on social media.
    Seeing this post hit me like a ton of bricks. It pains me to hear the sadness in your words but I’m so glad you had so much time with Grammy Helen. ♡♡
    Thankful for Paul’s words from 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, reminding us that as believers in Jesus Christ we do not grieve like others who grieve who have no hope.
    One day we will all be together.
    Always a fan of you and Grammy,
    Respectfully, Craig S. from DFW, Texas

  26. bethfen Says:

    Amy, as a former New Hampshire-ite (also from Concord) and frequent listener of After Hours, I’ve always appreciated the retelling of the wonderful relationship you and Grammy Helen shared. Your stories were an unexpected but welcome window into your special life and your deep love for family. I felt like Grammy Helen became everyone’s Grammy, and so we all share a little piece of the huge loss you are feeling. She will always be with you whenever you see spring lilacs and in so many other significant ways.

  27. Lisa Murphy Says:

    So sorry for your lost your words are so beautifully written I’m crying my eyes out trying to read feeling my own pain from the ones I have lost time marches on it really does you are so so lucky to have had your time and relationship with her remember that take care listen to you every morning going to work

  28. docqualizer Says:

    Amy – I did leave a comment on your FB page, but wanted to drop something here as well.
    Please accept my deepest sympathies over Grammy Helen’s passing. She was a dear, sweet woman with just enough of a feisty streak to keep her honest. I will be praying for you and your family in the coming days.
    Lou Lange
    Portsmouth, NH

  29. Joan Bryan Says:

    When I tuned in to your show and you weren’t there, my first thought was, “OMG, I hope nothing’s happened to Grammy Helen!” I was so sad to learn it was true. I hope you’ll take comfort in knowing thousands of us are grieving with you.

  30. Amy, I was touched by your blog about Grammy Helen, which I was able to read after you thanked everyone who responded to you on Twitter after she had passed. I’m not able to do it because of logistics – with you on the East Coast and me in Montana – but I would give you a hug if I could. Grammy Helen is taking a lot of you and a little bit of all of us to Heaven with her. God Bless. – Lee in Montana

  31. Werner Unger Says:

    Amy, your love for Grammy Helen shines so brightly whenever you talk about her. I am out of Grammy’s now. They have all gone on to their reward for the lives they led. Grammy Helen has as well and she will be waiting for you with a Hi Amy!! Until then you will see her in many ways and forms, pictures,songs even puzzles. Be still and know that I am God.

  32. wayastar Says:

    Amy i pray Our God will comfort you in this difficult time for you . When i saw that your Superhero Grammy Helen Died. Strangely my 1st thought was her walking up to Jesus . Her Asking him why your hubs is taking so long to show up. All the best and Hugs to one of the best Hosts on Cbssportsradio ..

  33. Oh, Amy, your words about your Grammy Helen have me crying even now as I write this. She was a beautiful woman, just like you. She has surely left you a legacy and yes, patience is a part of it 😉 Thank you so much for sharing this farewell to your SuperHero: Grammy Helen.

  34. Layne Billups Says:

    Amy, I always listen to you when I awakecin the middle of the night and can’t sleep. You always seemed to have such a sweet and genuine spirit. You made my heart smile today reading this. God Bless you sweet lady.

  35. garry gamez Says:

    So sorry to hear about your Grammy as always enjoyed your writing on your visits with her, My heartfelt condolences to you…

  36. Wayne M. Shorter Says:

    Absolutely a beautiful tribute to America’s Grammy. I felt your pain and tears when you was talking about her a couple of nights ago. Your grammy is equal to my mom and I understand what you’re going through, but just remember this as someone told me about my mom’s impact on my life. “She left a lot her in you.” I know she left a lot of her in you and always cherish the times you shared with her and with your broadcasting family. God bless you during this trying time.

  37. A wonderful testimony to a fabulous woman. I am so sorry for your loss and am privileged that you let us get to know her thru your radio show. Sing polkas in Heaven Grammy Helen!

  38. Amy I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your Grammy. The Lord will take care of her. You will see her again one day and have a large time. God bless!

  39. Amy I am so sorry for your loss I know that you hurt right now but one day we will see our loved ones again and as someone who lost his Grandmother in 2007 I know how you feel listen every night and loved your stories about her in life we have the honor of having such wonderful memories of the one’s that we loved Jeffrey

  40. Gerard Heer Says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss of Grammy Helen. Your words brought tears to my eyes as you described your relationship with her. I pray that time and your spirit will sustain you in your life ahead.

  41. Deacon Ed Whitesell Says:

    As a Roman Catholic Deacon I’m fortunate to spend a good bit of time trying to help those who have suffered a loss. What I always tell them is this:

    Remember that Grammy Helen will only be as far away from you as your own heart. Why, because you share DNA.

    Wishing you God’s peace!

    P.S. I enjoy your show!

  42. Jeffrey Kulp Says:

    I was very moved by your tribute to Grammy Helen. I get to listen to you from Time to Time on the radio! Just stay you! You are a doll and a gem. I’m so very sorry for your loss!

    Your Miami Dolphin Fan

    Jeff Kulp

  43. Amy, thank you for sharing the beautiful story of your Grammy. She reminds me a lot of my little mother. I lost her in 2014, but she’s in my mind every day. Your thoughts of her brought back so many memories of mom and the similarities.
    And the best to you and thanks for the memories and I’m so sorry for your loss.

  44. Amy,
    I would work late into the night and you would be the voice in my car on the way home. Your knowledge and love of sport is something I admire and appreciate. I’m very sorry for your loss but you were lucky/fortunate to have a wonderful relationship with her for so long. You will think of her often and I suggest keeping a journal to write down every fond memory that is still fresh in your heart.

    Take care snd God Bless,

    Sincerely ,

  45. Vee in Cali Says:

    Hi from Cali, Amy!

    Wishing you Happy Holidays (Holidaze??) as Grammy Helen – as we are together with you in remembering Grammy Helen this year, probably partying it up with Betty White! – continues to cheer you on from Heaven 🤗🙏🙌💖💞🥰

    I know it will be a “different” holiday(s) since she headed Home, but it isn’t as “far away” for the faith-full as the world would have you believe. I can still feel/sense her utter delight with you and her boundless love & how proud she is of the woman you have become and continue to courageously be. 💐

    I listen to you almost every night from Cali on KNBR and your allegiance to your authenticity, especially in a male-dominated & defined sector, is admirable and inspiring in this day & age. I like this “Real not Perfect” shirt (Etsy is a dangerous hangout! 😜😉)

    I came across these customized socks where they put your dog on them (!!) and the dog reminded me of Penny, and that made me think of you and Grammy Helen (who is so happy @ Home she’s “as giddy as a schoolgirl) and the impending Holidays in her seeming absence this year.

    Here is the link for the socks…you can see what I mean! They have Penny and Amy written all over them! 🤭🥰 Penny’s rolling in the leaves while looking possessed was hysterical 🤭 Gotta scratch that spot…no that one…no THAT one! (We share a zany sense of humor 😉😜)


    No need to post or publish this Comment. Just hoping it finds its way to you. Our ages may not be too far apart but I don’t participate in any type or form of social media, so this was a try to get you a “message” or email or ???? 🤷🙆😜

    Sending prayers to you for getting thru this season with Grammy Helen in a Higher Light form but as “present” 🎁 in your life as Love as Ever. (When it’s eventually your “turn,” she promised to be there to escort you Home 🙌🥀👑✝️🕊️💖💓)

    Thank you for all you give and do to tide us thru the deep morning hours and to be uncompromised in doing so thru the challenging terrain 🪂🏄🌬️🌋⛄🌴

    Keep on keepin’ on…always in the faith…
    (I had to get this one for my God Collage necklace, as it was too unique to pass up. Don’t dawdle on Etsy! Save yourselfffffff! 😜😜😜)

    Love Always…and Prayers Up 🙏🙌

    Your sister in Christ,

    ~~~V in Cali 🙌👑✝️🕊️🙌

  46. Mike Johnson Says:

    Thank for your open, raw and wonderfully expressed fellings about your Grammy. Like wow….that was a very moving read and I’m sure putting those feelings into words, (as beautifully as you did) was a journey for you.
    As i read those words…..yeah….
    You’re better at this than me.
    What I’m trying to say is you conveyed to a sh#t load of strangers like me, the thoughts and feelings I have had every single day since i lost my very best friend–my mom.
    I’m gonna try to listen to your shows and read your tweets as often as possible.
    Social media is definitely not my thing, but tonight you have aquired another fan.
    Cheers and God bless you Amy.
    And thanks again for the inner balls it takes to share something so personal. It brought out a lot of emotions and they felt good for a change.
    By the way, the song that I get choked up on when i think about my mom, is
    “Everything I Own” by Bread.
    Cheers Amy.

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