Before we left the cemetery, Andy’s friends all sang “You Smile” and “We R Who We R”, 2 of Andy’s favorite songs. It was beautiful. We went back to the house where there was enough catered food to feed an army. I understand Paula, my manager, coordinated the whole thing along with donations from many friends at work. Bless their hearts, again, everything taken care of. I will never forget what they did for me. All of Andy’s friends were there, and it made my heart a little less broken to have their young energy in the house. I still love when they spend time here…this house was meant to have young energy!
The house and patio were filled with friends and family, and it was nice having them all there. I talked to as many people as I could, reminiscing about all the happy memories. I also spent some time alone. As the evening wore on, my brother, Jeff, pulled out an iphone application called “Fat Booth”, which basically adds 100 lbs. to you. We had more fun with that application, and it felt really good to laugh. I can’t remember the last time I laughed that hard…it was a great release. My neighbor, John, fixed my back patio gate, which I only found out later. I remember thinking, “Who is the kind person who did that for me?” John and Patrick continue to take care of me still…thanks, neighbors! They are not just my neighbors, they are dear friends. People stayed pretty late, and I was glad. Eventually it was time for bed.
I spent another couple of days with my family before they had to leave. I hated for them to go. They were a huge source of support and love for me, but they had to get back to their lives. Ken and I headed for a cabin in Todd, NC. It was peaceful and healing. He took care of everything. I think it was one of the few times in my adult life that I let someone else completely take care of me instead of being the responsible one. He cooked, made me eat, cleaned up, drove, figured out what we would do, made a big fire every night in the fireplace. I could truly just be, and it saved me. He saved me that week. We went to downtown Boone several times and walked around, ate at restaurants, and tried to feel normal. We were both just shell-shocked. After 5 days, we came back home to our sadly quiet, empty houses.
I went back to work after 3 weeks. I could have easily taken a year off and lived in a cabin in the woods healing and figuring out who I am now, but real life must go on. They continue to ease me back in gradually, which I am deeply grateful for as I still grieve so badly, and my memory and sharpness are still not back to normal. But I have faith that in time they will be. I search each day for at least one thing that gives me joy and gratitude because I must go on, like it or not. I want to live my life fully, not mourn what I’ve lost forever. It’s what Andy would want for me, and so I go on.