On the fourth anniversary of your Passing Day, I want to honor and thank you for your love and all you have been and still are in my life.
As it was four years ago, so it remains today and I can think of no better way to mark this special day than to post the memorial comments I made on that day, so long ago now and yet seemingly also just a moment in time.
This image of Andi was taken in Rocky Mountain National Park and is titled: Halfway Home..
From Andi’s Memorial:
I’m starting today with a very broken heart and I hope that what we do and say here today and the honor we give Andi will help me and all of you to heal and to go forward as better people for having known Andi in this life.
When my Father passed away, I said at his memorial that he was the strongest man I’ve ever known.
I want to say here today that Andi was the strongest woman I’ve ever known.
All of you here, whether her beloved family or friends or members of the extraordinary team of medical professionals who helped us through this final journey, all of you contributed in your own way to us being fortunate enough to have had Andi stay with us in this world for as long as she did.
And for those who couldn’t be here today, especially Andi’s mom Vivian Radigan and her Aunt, Audrey Gladen, with their life-long love they too had a special place in Andi’s heart and in forging the spirit and strength that allowed Andi to be the person that she was.
I need to thank Dr. Regina Brown who saw the path for Andi to walk at the very beginning of this journey and time after time reminded us that hope and quality of life were the keys to survival.
I want to add a special thanks to Robin and Pete, to Coreen, Anna, Kacey and Dale for their loving and tender help in caring for Andi these last few weeks and for helping to hold me up and keep me fed, and keep me strong enough to see this through. We couldn’t have made it without you.
There was so much more to Andi’s life than her cancer journey. So I want to talk a bit about it here because she was never willing to not be herself or do what she wanted to do no matter what else was happening in her life.
I want to start by saying that Andi taught me everything I know about strength and responsibility and together we learned an awful lot about love and commitment.
Andi was very artistic. She had an eye for patterns and design that stretched into everything she did.
She designed the interiors of every home we lived in throughout our marriage and they were always beautiful. But, of course, being Andi, she would always get another vision for how it could be and lots of times I would come home and find that she had redecorated a room or two and wow, it was even nicer.
She painted, she did crafting, she was a natural musician at the piano and a published author of greeting cards and a writer of children’s books and stories. I could, but won’t, go on and on since these are just a few of the many accomplishments and talents of my wonderful wife.
All of us who knew Andi knew that at her core, she was always Andi, and her strength, her will, and most of all her grace through what ever came her way, through out her life, will always be an inspiration and an example of a great spirit rising.
One of the things she always said to me as she so bravely fought the cancer in her body this past 11 years exemplifies just who and what she is in her heart.
Andi always told me when it seemed too tough or painful or just too sad to bare, that there wasn’t any point in complaining or feeling sorry for herself. She just needed to do what needed to be done in the best way she could.
No matter how she felt, she always got herself up, did her hair and makeup, got dressed in a nice outfit, and went out and gave the world her very best.
She always told me that looking and acting her best was an important gift to give to the people she loved and the people she dealt with each day. And with those thoughts, through it all, she always remained herself, she never let the battle she was fighting overtake her!
So today I want to especially honor an amazing, beautiful spirit and her great, compassionate heart and the truly wonderful and beautiful woman who was and is my beloved wife of 32 (+4) years.
When those of us who were helping to care for and nurture Andi through the last stages of her life thought we knew what was going on, when we thought that she was getting too weak and we tried to ask her to stay in bed unless someone was there to help her, time and again she would sort of say ok and then quietly wait until we left the room.
And then suddenly, we’d hear a sound and go rushing back into the room only to find that Andi had gotten herself up, gotten herself out of bed, walked across the room and taken herself where she wanted to go. And then with that Irish twinkle in her eye, she would look at me and give me a little smile and let me help her back to bed.
Such an unbelievably strong woman!
She sent many of you in the family a photo this year with a quote on it that was from her heart and her spirit. Those words were pure Andi, clear and true when she said:
“You never know how strong you are until you have to be.”
All of you who know Andi have your own stories of her strength and the grace with which she navigated her life and lately this cancer journey.
Many of you also know of the deep abiding love she had for her family, and especially for her children and grandchildren. She was always a believer that it was better to give than receive and her fierce heart always wanted to shower her family with all the love and giving that she could.
So again, in honor of this woman of great strength, will, courage and beauty, I once more give her my never-ending love and know with no doubt that her spirit will be with me forever and that it will also fill the universe now that it is free of a body that was never big enough to contain it. In Andi’s words, no more pain, rest softly.
A very special spirit has left her earthly body now and I wish for all who knew and loved her to feel the touch of her spirit as she reminds us that spirits are eternal… as is love.
I will love you forever my darling Andi.
Always and Forever!
For Andi at the start of year five of our Journey:
I’m writing this a week or so before the 5th anniversary of your passing from living here with me to a wider place of peace, free of pain and sadness as your beautiful spirit was set free of the bounds of the material world.
I read what I posted last year and after finding that it made me cry with both joy and sadness, I can’t add too much to my feelings or to the expressions of love I made then and still feel today and every day.
Grief is such a complex place that encompasses so many parts of our life and so many emotions. It becomes such a powerful a part of the lives of those left alone after a loved one moves on to their next adventure and we remain, trying to create a new life and fill the un-fillable space they held in our lives.
Today is a day to honor and thank you again, as always, for the love you taught me and shared with me in life and for all we continue to be, to and for each other, in the past and in this new and unexplored journey we are traveling.
I learned this month, when I suddenly found myself once again crying in that deep, uncontrollable grief-mode I haven’t felt or experienced in a long time, that I still miss our life together and the space you filled in my days and nights with a sadness, loneliness and longing that is every bit as strong and all encompassing as it was in the early days of my grieving.
I have grown stronger, I am more now and have learned much, through your love and with your help but I still miss you deeply. Though our spirits are connected, though we have found love across the veil, I wish you were still here, healthy and well, to hold and be held by.
As I do every day, I want to say I love you still.
Blessings on this day and every day and on another year of moments passed but always present.
All my love,