I can’t believe you’ve been gone a whole year. The feelings of loss and pain are still there every minute of every day, though a little softer. If anyone had told me it was possible to have someone in your head 24/7 for a whole year, I would not have believed them. I’ve learned it is possible. If anyone had told me it is possible to cry every day for a year, I wouldn’t have believed them. I’ve learned it is possible. I have become very good at hiding it, though, for life must go on.
There came a point when I realized I had a decision to make: I could either wallow in self-pity forever or I could try to make you proud of me. I could make your life count and continue to make a difference. I am the keeper of your memory. That is a profound duty, and one that I promise to fulfill for as long as I live, as I know your Dad will too. I continue to heal more every day, and I make a promise to myself each morning to go out and live life to its fullest. I think I’ve come a long way.
Andy, I learned so much from you, but the most important thing I learned is unconditional love. Thank you for that. You are the best thing that ever happened to me, and the memories I hold in my heart sustain me. I’ve learned a lot of important lessons since you went to heaven:
· Love is the most important thing in life
· Life is short and not promised to any one of us
· Every action, thought, and word can be a force for good or harm; choose carefully
· It’s correct and honorable to put in an honest day’s work, but don’t let work be your life or you are really missing out on much more important things
· Life rewards action. If you don’t like something, change it if you can; if you want something, and it is an honorable thing, go for it!
· Things are a temporary high and you can become a slave to them
· Money is not the root of all evil—greed is
· You only need enough money to be comfortable; share the rest with those less fortunate because life is unpredictable, and there but for the grace of God, go you
· We are all our brothers’ keeper. Spread love, charity, and kindness every day, every way you can
· A baby’s laughter is the sweetest sound on earth
· Stand up for those weaker than you
· No one has all the answers; an open mind is a loving mind
· People are more motivated by encouragement than criticism
· Judge not, for you do not know the hearts, minds, or life circumstances of others
· When you hold a grudge, the only person who gets hurt is you
· A hug is worth a thousand words; share one often; same for a smile
· Family is more important than gold, power, or glory
· And this one bears repeating—love is the most important thing in life
Wow, look at all the things you taught me! I’m so proud of you honey, and I hope I can make you proud of me. I love you with every fiber of my being, and I always will. Thank you for the beautiful years you spent with me. I am a far better person for having loved you. Your life touched many others and continues to do so still. I just can’t wait to run to you with open arms when we are reunited in heaven's garden. You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
10/10/88 - 2/11/11