Flowers for Andy.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I barely even knew him, but he changed my life... His name was Andy and I only knew him for two months, two months out of my 31+ years, but in those two months, everything changed.

Forgive me if this post is sad, but some stories need to be set free from our memories. Some stories long to be told.

One hundred million years ago, or maybe it was only twelve, I was a freshmen in college. I had a part-time job at the front desk of my campus gym... I'll never forget the first time I saw him walk through the doors. I didn't know his name, but I knew his smile. He always wore red and he always smiled at everyone. Even now, I don't know much more than that.

One night, with my best friend and my cousin, I left a note on his car. Like a stalker, perhaps, or maybe just someone drunk on youth. I don't even remember what it said now, but it told him where I worked. I knew so little, but somehow, thankfully, knew this was a person worth knowing. I could tell you the story of how we became friends right after that, but it's really just a story now, just words.

What I will say is that I have never known another person who loved their life more and I have never known another person who was any kinder. We talked almost every day. We were supposed to hang out one night in July, but he called me and said that he couldn't. He had gone climbing that day and had left something on the mountain. He was going back that night to retrieve it, but asked if he could call me the next day to plan something and I said yes. The next day and the next night came, but he never called. He never called again because he fell from the mountain that night and he died. We were only nineteen.

I think a person changes after they lose a peer for the first time. I know I did. It changed the very way I walked around in the world, the very way I breathed in and out. His death broke my heart and I was wounded by this loss in a way I thought was irreversible... However, what I began to realize in the months and years that followed was that the simple act of knowing this special, loving boy - even for the briefest of moments - changed the fabric of my person and the landscape of the way I love. I learned, younger than some and later than others, how temporary this all really is and how necessary it is to openly, and fiercely, love the people who matter to you.

It's funny the way time changes events that once meant so much to us. As this memory gets more and more distance in my rear view mirror, the intensity of it isn't as strong as it once was, doesn't define me like it did when I was younger, and time has made these words feel like a story that happened to someone else... When I look back now, I think of Andy as a kind of blurry angel. I came so close to never knowing him at all and in losing him, I began to see the world with different eyes, started to think that maybe there was a reason certain things happened to us. I am so very thankful that I knew him, that he taught me how to love this imperfect, perfect world. The hole he left in my heart has healed over now, but I've left flowers there... Flowers in my heart, flowers for Andy.

{image found at i can read}


  1. Gorgeous. Some stories DO need to be told, and I'm glad you share them with us so eloquently. I am sorry about Andy, but also so glad that he was able to touch your life.

    You are such a beautiful writer.

  2. Thanks for sharing that. I love untold stories. At some point, it's hard to realize why things happen but the years make a clear picture. Everything happens with a reason. The story was very took me off from my routine...

    It's strange how people keep on coming in and out, out of our control...

    A very nice post.

  3. I absolutely loves this post. Thanks for sharing it with you. Andy sounded like an amazing person, what a privilege to have known him even for that short time. It's great to hear he really impacted your life and touched it for the better.

  4. What a beautiful story - I feel like you could write a very interesting novel about that. I lost a friend my senior year of high school, and it was similar to that. Sudden, and neither one of us were fully developed yet, so he had so much more to grow.

  5. Wow. Andy sounds like an amazing person, I'm glad you got to know him, even if it was for a short time. x

  6. We're so lucky to be touched by amazing people if only for a short while!

  7. awwww, this made me so sad. But it also made me realize to stop nagging at boyfriend and appreciate every moment we have together.

  8. That's a terrible yet hopeful story! Like you, I think things happen for a reason and difficult experiences make you grow and experience life differently.

  9. i love your blog. visit mine please at Maybe if you like you can post about it or link it, i would love that!!!!

  10. that is so sad, yet so beautiful. the first friend that I lost was victim to a horrible, violent, ugly crime in high school and it still haunts me.

  11. Thanks for sharing this. It's very sweet and sad story about significant events in our lives that always linger in the back of our minds, no matter how much we move on.

  12. Oh wow, what a beautiful post but sad. I'm so sorry for your loss. I think some ppl are put here on earth to make lasting impressions and change ppl. What an amazing person he must have been. It is always these moments that make us look at life differently and appreciate are time here.

  13. Aww this is sad but a wonderful post. So good that you can remember back on it and still feel that feeling you felt then. What a tragedy though. So glad you knew him even if it was for a brief moment.

  14. catching up on your posts. . . strong, beautiful words and i COMPLETELY understand.

  15. wow. you take my breath away every single time.

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