Recently, my beloved long time friend passed away unexpectedly. He passed away 3 days after his birthday at 48 years old.
He was more to me than a lifelong friend. I have known Andy since kindergarten. He became the brother I always wanted and needed in my life.
We had many first's together. Our first kiss. Being sent the principal’s office for throwing snowballs at school (which was a blast, by the way, and I have no regrets), supporting one another at our weddings and for the birth of our children, we celebrated together every chance we could get.
We grew up loving and learning from one another, navigating through life’s grit.
Life Lesson #1 COMPASSION
I will never forget Andy’s second-grade birthday party. To me, it was spectacular and grand. Andy was surrounded by gifts yet his biggest concern was to offer me a gift, a gift of a plastic horse. He wanted me to have this horse, with three legs, for my barbies to play with. I’ll never forget his pixie grin, for he never lost it when he aged. Even as a child he had such a huge heart. He was the king of hearts.
I am reminded to practice compassion. Every text, post, call and observance.
Life Lesson #2 The glorification of BUSY
“Busy” is the new “ Fine.” Andy was never too busy. He never missed a birthday or Mother’s Day for I would get at least a text letting me know he was thinking of me.
Thoreau said it best... “It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants."
The question is: WHAT ARE WE BUSY WITH?
The life lesson is to really value and appreciate those you love while you can. A text is better than nothing. A call is BEST. Don’t get caught up in the rat race, get caught up in the human race.
Life Lesson #3 EVERYBODY LOVES EVERYBODY E.L.E.
Andy taught his sons this motto. To love everyone. To see hearts. He would make friends with everyone he met. He made them feel special and cared for.
Do you love everyone? Do you make people feel included? Do you look for the underdog on social and support their walls with love? Do you practice E.L.E.?
Life Lesson #4 RUFFLE FEATHERS
Get involved when needed. I realize now that I could have been stronger with Andy on certain parts of his life. Sometimes feathers need to be ruffled.
Life Lesson #5 HEALTH IS WEALTH
Health is everything. We have one vehicle in this lifetime, take care of it.
LIFE LESSON #6 COVET THOSE YOU LOVE
Andy’s family had the most beautiful celebration of life that I have ever seen. For two days we celebrated his life that impacted so many. In fact, I have never seen a viewing that for 6 hours straight, the line was wrapped around rooms to pay respect. I was in a bubble, insulated by the love of life-long friends and extended family. I didn’t want this feeling to go away. It validated to me WHY these people were loved like family. Andy made it happen - he was the conduit.
LIFE LESSON #7 KEEP THE MEMORIES ALIVE
We are all now making a conscious effort to keep Andy’s life lessons of wisdom alive and to make them a part of our daily practice... to further tighten our bond and shine Andy’s light.