Sunday, May 19, 2013

Happy Birthday, Andrew!

Today would have been my brother's 35th birthday. To honour him, the Reds and I headed to Lakefield this morning to help my parents plant fresh flowers in Andrew's Garden. We also brought balloons, so we could tie message of remembrance and love to them and send them up to Heaven.

Some of the messages came from Andrew's friends, who shared their memories with me via Facebook, some came from the Reds and me, and one very special one was written by my mum.

From Shara:

 My parents lived on the farm in Lindsay and I came down from the city for their annual pig roast. The backyard had been designated for the younger crowd (made up mostly of BHU, whom I was meeting for the first time) so naturally that is where I migrated to. Most of the crowd was packed into the backyard, but not Andrew. He was inside the garage apparently planning his entrance.....then out he pops with the biggest porky pig paper mache head on his shoulders, prancing around like a fool...but everyone laughed hysterically...his mission accomplished!

Andrew was never that great at sharing his heart-felt emotions...but making people laugh, that was where he  truly shined!

Some memories, printed out and ready for rolling into scrolls.

From Shauna:

When I got my g1, I called him up to tell him he was stoked...didn't know why ...he met me after work and showed me why...he wanted to teach me how to drive lol he figured 11pm was safer for other ppl because Bowmanville was a dead town after 9 , it was going fine until we got to the stop sign before the 401 turn ramp on liberty. He was goin' over some safety thing and I was nervous and attempting to listen intently after 5 mins there he asks laughing "what are u waiting for" I didn't know what he meant ...he was losin' it as i was trying to figure it out...i was now petrified I screwed up lol finally I answered the light isn't green...he couldn't take it...we got out and switched spots...he then pulled over into the gas station and tells me we were at a stop sign...stop signs stay one colour

From Shay:

1: when I was 11 years old and him and my mom first started dating, we were at the farm and I had seen him walking up to the trailer, I ran to him yelling KANGAROO!!
2: when learning how to drive, dad took me out in the truck and let me drive, we got to the house and he told me that he would pull into the driveway for me as it was pretty narrow, I didn't listen and pulled into our drive way on my own (at full speed) slammed on the breaks and dad told me I must never drive again lol
3: I could always count on dad to make my sorrows go away, we took my little rescue cat to the vet to be put down and it was a sad moment for me, dad Cranked the good ol' rap music (50 cent) and allowed to stick my feet out the truck and didn't give me trouble once lol

From my mum:

"Happy Birthday, son.
It would be your 35th today.
Hope you are
sharing your
birthday celebration
with all of us.
Love, Mum"

We planted pretty flowers, to make his space a bright and happy one:



My dad barbecued steak. And my mum make dessert:

Did you know that balloons with tiny memories attached to them don't go airborne easily? We suspected as much, but gamely threw our memories skyward, hoping Andrew was watching:
Up, up and...


In the end, we tucked all the balloons that didn't pop into the tree pictured above - it was given to my parents after Andrew died: a memorial tree. Seemed fitting to plant our love there.

And because it was a celebration, there was dancing:

There were some tears, because Andrew is missed and loved, every. single. day. It doesn't get easier, this missing him. Not for any of us. But, today I think we did the right thing, as a family: today, we celebrated him in the place where his ashes rest, where his mother's gaze can fall upon him, where his father can sit and chat quietly, in the middle of the day.

In the end, it felt right and good to remember him with light and pretty flowers and good food and dancing. I hope he saw us down here, missing him. I hope he smiled and knows how very much we love him.

Happy Birthday, Bamboo.
I loved you before I even knew you. I love you still, every day.



  1. I like to think, I do believe, Andrew is there with you. In the digging and the almost-licking and the dancing and the popping.
    And the planting of love in a tree.

  2. Thanks, Pam. I hope he was. And this "And the planting of love in a tree." has, for reasons I cannot explain, touched me deeply. Thank you for seeing, believing, writing. xo