Last Wednesday Christie called me to tell me that Andy was failing. In another world, a world without COVID, that would have been the point where I dropped what I was doing, went home and grabbed the bag that has been packed in my closet since December, and grabbed my passport and started driving. I would have slipped 4 ouzo candies into his pocket before the cremation. A reminder and a promise about a magical night.
Instead, I wrote him a letter. Andy left us about 10 am on Friday May 8th.
We said goodbye in October, although you didn’t realize it. What I said back then was right – my life was better because you were in it. It was better because you came crashing in at a wedding, having downed a bottle of ouzo and I removed your IV line and I guess that’s what makes family.
My life is better because you taught me to make bacon in the oven and now every time I do this, I will think of you.
My life is better because you taught me to be less serious, to be a bit less proper and a bit more open minded. I really won’t die if someone puts salt on bread and butter. (It was close. I need you to know that. It was so very close).
My life is better because you taught me about steadfastness. You taught me about what it means to do the work put in front of you, to do your best for your family and to be the person who watched out for others. On that note, I spoke to my financial planner. I can start putting money away for the kids’ college fund. I know you’ll be as annoyed as I am that I don’t get a tax receipt for this.
My life is better because I heard you when you called us to tell us that Ben was born, and I was fortunate to witness joy like we so rarely see in this world.
Your work here is done. I don’t like that, I don’t think it’s fair, and I have been so filled with rage since I found out that there are no words. But no one asked me and eventually you have to stop raging. It happened sometime in January, when I realized that Christie had always had a spine of iron. She just needed to realize it. She has now. I promise you, she will be fine and she will not be alone.
You will be missed every moment of every day. We will tell the kids about you. We will watch over Christie. And we will remember you. We will remember your fart jokes and love of feeding people. We will remember how much you loved a good deal. We will tell the children how much you loved them, that the best of you will live in them. It will not be the same as having you here, but it will not be nothing either.
This still isn’t a final goodbye. I won’t see you and touch you and we won’t drink coffee in a quiet house; but I’ll hold your memory. So, put the coffee on. Try not to shoot anything important. Try and remember, even though salt won’t matter, you should taste your food before you salt it. I’ll try and remember to look for sales.
I love you. Go cuddle the babies in heaven. I’ll watch over the ones here.