Headed back to my house early. My family was coming in today. The first thing we did was call UNC-CH to see if Andy’s autopsy was completed and if they would release his body. It was. I was almost hoping he wasn’t ready because I wanted to put the funeral off as long as I could. It would make everything so final. But he was, so we called the funeral home to make an appointment. They could see us the next morning.
My friends came over bright and early and took charge of the house. A word about friendship…cherish it with all your might because it is a precious gift. I’ve always known this, but during this time it came home to me like a light from heaven. My friends, I love you so!
I decided to go up to Andy’s room and write him a letter. I looked around at all of his things, and it just tore my heart out, but I really needed to do this. Its contents are too personal to share, but I made a homemade card, much like the ones he used to make me when he was younger. His cards to me always had hearts and sunshine and flowers and rainbows, so mine did too. Especially the sunshine…it was our song to each other for 22 years—“You Are My Sunshine”. And my sunshine he was, the bright shining light in my life. So I poured my heart out to him in love, sealed it in an envelope, and saved it to put in his casket with him.
Later in the day my family started arriving. I have 7 younger brothers and sisters, and every one of them showed up except one brother who was on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. And I know he would have been there if he could have been. It was so wonderful to have them there. I love my family with all my heart. My Mom is 72 years young, and has a heart of gold. A beautiful person in body and in spirit. And my brothers and sisters are just as wonderful. They came, they stood by me in my grief—no--they carried me. One thing I learned through all this is that there’s no love like that of family, and we should do everything we can to show that love to each other. We visited all day and into the evening.
Around 7 PM, Andy’s close friend, Jose, called. The police had instructed us not to tell any of Andy’s friends or acquaintances anything for a few days because they needed to investigate the circumstances of his death and that the first days were crucial. So Jose called me asking where Andy was because he hadn’t heard from him for 2 days. I didn’t know what to do, so I handed the phone to Ken. And he made the decision, which I agree with, to go ahead and tell them. They needed to know. They had a right to know. It broke my heart to have to tell Jose, and I cried when Ken gave him the news and I could hear his anguish. As I mentioned before, one of their beloved friends had already died 6 months earlier, and now they had to go through it all again. Sometimes life just isn’t fair and it can be very cruel.
My sister, Laurie, and I slept together this night talking ourselves to sleep, and it was a huge comfort to me. And so ends day 3.