In just one week from today we will be remembering and honoring the 1 year anniversary of Andrew's death. It is so cliche to say - but it is really hard to believe it has been a year. This week leading up to his death last year was spent in the hospital. One of the most surreal and amazing weeks of my life. I say amazing because - to be surrounded by such an intense amount of love during that week is hard to describe. It is a time in life that you will never forget and one that shapes and scars you forever. And the roller coaster of emotions we all went through that week...we went from not being sure if he'd make it through the night, to him waking up Sunday morning bright eyed and telling me he had to read his blog to know what was going on. He said he was raised from the dead! And then you were filled with hope once again, because Andrew never lost hope. But then we watched him slowly decline over the rest of the week and finally stood next to him that Saturday night after Thanksgiving and watched him exhale one last time. And in that moment when he was no longer there, a part of you breathed a sigh of relief, because all the pain and suffering and sadness for him was gone. Watching him suffer was excruciating For those of you who were there, you know what I mean. But then the rest of you, the bigger part, knew that in that exact second that he stopped breathing, you were no longer the same and you had to walk out of that room and that hospital to face the world as a brand new person. And it was scary. More scared than I've ever been in my life. We call upon strength and courage and hope every day, because as all of us are new people, living in a world where Andrew is physically no longer, we slowly learn how to put one foot in front of the other.
For our family, this week is very sacred and we are in a state of deep reflection and preparation for the actual anniversary. It feels significant to finally reach one year. By this time next Monday, we will know what it feels like to go through birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and all the other special events that make up life - without Andrew. There will be many more that come - perhaps weddings, babies and even the everyday small moments when you just want to tell Andrew, "This is so funny right now and I just have to tell you!" But reaching this one year mark, maybe we can all feel a tiny glimmer of sunshine and hope, that yes, we did survive and we will continue to survive. And my bigger hope is that we just not get through the days and years, but that we allow ourselves to become the best person we can be, for Andrew. Because we all know he would be (and is!) rooting us on.
I hope you take this week to think about how you'd like to remember and honor Andrew. However grand or small it may be. And please feel free to leave comments here about good memories of Andrew. Or how you are choosing to celebrate him on his anniversary.
Hugs to you.