The past several days, viewers of Channel 4 Action News and readers of thepittsburghchannel.com have learned of our station’s deep affection for an employee who died last week.

Amy Mullaney, five months shy of her 30th birthday, was buried in her native Greensburg on the day she called her favorite holiday–St Patrick’s Day. Dozens of us at WTAE had attended the viewings, along with what seemed half of Greensburg and the surrounding area. As is so often the case, we learned endearing details about her life from friends and family, details we had missed in the rush of the work day– her love of wings, her love of softball, her love of things Irish.

But at the funeral Saturday, we learned so much more. And it was the stuff of inspiration. It came from her parents, who should never have had to bury a child, a child who had just had a child of her own eight months ago. Her father,Dave, spoke to a very crowded Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, from a letter he had given Amy before she died. In it, he thanked her for her unfailing compassion, courage, and grace. Her wry sense of humor that manifested itself even when she was eight . At that age, she was playing in a softball tournament. After the first day, she appeared the next morning decked out in her blue uniform, with little, pink socks instead of her uniform socks. He asked why, and Amy replied that several people had thought she was a boy, despite her blond hair sticking out of her cap, and she wanted to make sure they knew she was a girl.

But more importantly, he reminded us of the calming effect Amy had on everyone..and it hit home. Many nights, Amy stayed late, and her desk looked down the hallway, where we walked from the newsroom to the stairs to exit. She would always say good-bye, in a voice that sparkled as much as her gorgeous blue eyes. Often, we were leaving wrung out, irritated, or even saddened by the day’s events– but you know, her voice did calm you and lightened your step as you headed home. At the time, I didn’t know why.

Perhaps it was because she was so devoid of pretense, so authentic, that she didn’t smack you over the head with her goodness. It was real. As real as her bravery in a five year battle against brain cancer. A bravery her husband ,Mike, her parents, Marlene and Dave, her sisters, and Mike’s family will all most certainly recount to her child as he grows up. To watch them all pass little Michael around during the service– a child that looks so much like Amy –was at once, comforting and heartbreaking.

But it was in the homily that the priest challenged us to take this day and make it something more. He said, in the end, Amy had peeled away the layers of life– down to what was most important. Faith, family, friends, love. It radiated through the service–and why not? Amy had planned it all before she died. And as we listened to her husband say the final good-bye at the cemetery, it all made sense.

As Promotions Coordinator, Amy’s job was to organize events, to be the bridge between communities and the station. That often included finding an on-air person to emcee a charity event, or speak to a school group — bringing people together. And that sense of community was her final gift to all of us last week. This beautiful woman, who seemed totally unaware of how spectacular she looked, brought some sense of resolve to so many people that day. I think, through it all, many of us realized that when someone like Amy Mullaney touches your life — take notice. Take time to know them… We now know Amy so much better. I only wish we had done it sooner…

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