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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Andy........1973-2007

The above pictures of my best friend, Andy. 1973-2007. One of the hardest things I've ever been through- losing my best friend. But aside from me, one of the most difficult things I have ever witnessed in my life is the image of a mother kneeling over the grave of her only son. That is an image that will stay with me for my entire life.

Andy was my best friend, the man I may have one day married, my boyfriend of three years. He was the man who would relentlessly check the oil levels in my car to make sure it would run properly. He is the man who cared about my health. He would always encourage me to go biking, hiking, running with him. He cared.

There were times when Andy and I would argue. I think we were both insecure. We didn't know how to love one another in the way that God intended. He would sometimes pretend he was macho and pretend that love was silly. I was dreadfully insecure. It made for some volitile and interesting days.

But I could see through the front that Andy would sometimes put up. I could see that he had a heart of love. He had a heart of goodness. He always wanted to help. He longed to see improvements in people's lives. He looked for order amidst all of the chaos.

Writing this blog about him is harder than I thought it would be. I had a dream about him the other night that brought him back to life. He was sitting in a room with me, and it was as though he had never left. It was as though he were still here.

I could see and remember details about him in the dream that I had forgotten. Little things. The stubble around his chin. The shape of his ears. I remembered them in this dream.

In life, we were together all the time. Or talking on the phone..all the time. We were threaded at the hip.I'm writing this because I hope that it will help someone else deal with death. When Andy died, I went through a great depression. A few weeks before his death, I re-dedicated my life to Jesus. I was intent on doing things "right."

I was very angry when Andy died because I felt that I didn't deserve the pain that I was facing. My life had been riddled with various hurts. I couldn't fathom yet another pain of a different name.

I thought that by making my life "right", I was exempt from hurt. I felt that I should be exempt from the pain of loss. From death. I truly thought that God hated me. I really believed that. That He hated me.

I looked back on my life and I could see so much loss. It seemed that every time something would be seem to come together, things would fall apart all over again. I looked back at the course of my life and I could see so much loss. Friends that would move away just as I was beginning to love them.

Relationships that would falter just as I thought they were going to grow. People in my life were Houdini’s. always disappearing. Not tangible. Always going.

The week before Andy died I felt very close to Him. I saw a side of him that I had never seen before. He threw off his mask. I knew that he had always had a heart of love. It was always in him. But he didn’t like to show it. But the week before he died, I felt very close to him. He became very vulnerable. He became very afraid. Something happened the week before he died at his work. Someone threatened him. Someone shook him to his core. In his fear and desperation, he let down his guard and I could see a very vulnerable and extremely loveable and frightened boy.
Then before I knew it, he was gone. In an instant. No suffering. Just gone.

I remember that day too clearly.

I have felt guilt over that day for a very long time. But there was no way I ever could have known.

No one ever really knows.

But I was angry. I thought that I deserved better from God. I thought that I had always been an essentially good person. Yes, I had sinned. I had done things that I shouldn’t have. But I could see that my life had been consumed with so much hurt. It seemed like even then I had gone though things that I shouldn’t have. But I look back and see that many of my past hurts, although never justified, were from walking down paths that I carved with my own two feet. Many of my past hurts were from not Trusting.

One night many many months later, I was praying. By this time I had grown close to Jesus. I had reached a bottom and I had nowhere to go but up. I was praying. I was thinking about Andy. About how much I missed him. Jesus showed me something that night.
A lot of times, we look at the circumstances of a person’s death and we think we can determine the fate of a person. We may think that a loved one isn’t in heaven. But God works in very mysterious ways.

The night before Andy died I felt led to say a prayer with him. So we prayed. He had been seeking Jesus weeks before he died. He was attending a Bible study. He was curious. He believed in Jesus and longed to know Him better. He saw that order in the midst of all the chaos.
Jesus showed me, through my own life, how there is a very real darkness that seeks to destroy us. That fear that Andy had was darkness. It was very real fear. A life-changing, life ending fear. But I felt like Jesus was telling me that even though the darkness may have claimed Andy’s body, his soul was with Jesus.

I have this hope that one day I can walk with my friend in Heaven. That one day we can walk, hike along beautiful paths. I believe in Heaven. I know that there is a Heaven.
I was reading a facebook post of girl the other day. The girl was talking about how much she hated her sister. I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and say, No! You don’t know. Today could be the last. I can see why the Bible says not to let the sun go down on your anger. Because anger keeps us from His love. Anger causes hurt and regret. Anger sows seeds of darkness.

Anger walks with death.

I so often wish I could recapture time. I wish I had another day with Andy. To tell him that I loved him. The way that God wanted me to love him. To tell him that I appreciated all the little things that he did for me. All the special considerations. I would’ve taken back all the arguments and just loved him the way God intended.

I wish I knew all the why’s. Why some people have to go through so much. Why a mother would have to kneel at the grave of her only son. I wish I knew the whys. All I know is that death is an inevitable part of life. It is something that we all must face. But I know that if we live with confidence and know a Savior, then we can die with that same confidence.

Because He has prepared a place for us. I have seen this place in my dreams. It is a very real and a very peaceful place. It is called Heaven and it has many rooms. He told us so.
One day I will walk there with my friend and his family.

Dear Lord, wrap your arms around Andy’s family. Breathe your breath of understanding and healing to all those that are experiencing loss. Because even though the promise of Heaven is there for those who know you, the hurt still remains.
If you don’t know Jesus, accept Him into your life. You have nothing to lose and an eternity to gain. For you never know if this day will be you last.
God Bless you, Andy… I miss you

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