(one of our 2007 engagement photos by Joseph Mark Photography)
Today would have been Andy’s 32nd birthday! Ellie and I plan to celebrate at Chuck E. Cheese, sending dad a present (Ellie’s artwork) via a balloon and a birthday cupcake where El plans to blow out the candle!
A couple of days ago, I spent Thanksgiving with Andrew’s family and it was there that I was surprised with the most incredible gift. A couple of months ago, I sent Andrew’s favorite high school, college and tribute t-shirts, along with my Baylor Chi Omega and coed cheer shirts, to Andrew’s 96-year-old grandmother and asked her if she could make Ellie a quilt out of them. When I arrived at Thanksgiving I was immediately taken to a room where I got to see the finished product. (insert picture) I don’t know that I’ve ever cried when I received a gift, but I couldn’t help the tears from coming when I saw the quilt. My heart was flooded with emotion as each t-shirt brought back beautiful memories of Andrew. I love that Ellie has so many wonderful presents to reminder her about who her dad was and how much he loved her.
Yesterday Ellie and I were in the car listening to a song by Taylor Swift. The song is called “Last Kiss,” and it’s about a relationship that ends and not being prepared for it to be over. I looked at Ellie through the rearview mirror and saw she was listening to the words of the song. I could tell she looked sad. I asked her how she was feeling and she told me in a sweet and solemn voice, “I miss my Daddy.” Once I listened to the words of the song through Ellie’s lens, I realized that she could have been feeling like she, too, hadn’t known when her last kiss or last moments with her dad would be. All she knew now was that he was gone. It broke my heart. She is such a deep thinker and is so sensitive. Sometimes I forget that even though she’s young she feels her loss so heavily.
In honor of Andy Roo (my term of endearment for Andrew), I would like to celebrate some special memories of him from over our six years of marriage. Where do I begin? I’ll never forget the time I really upset him (can’t even remember what I did), but he was so upset he locked me out of the house and I was forced to drive to my parent’s house. I was really angry that he locked me out, and my parents were kinda confused as to why I was hanging out with them in the middle of the day. When I told them what happened (which, by the way— one of the many lessons I’ve learned over the years is you don’t need to tell your parents about every fight; some things are better left to work out together. Learned that one the hard way) my dad texted Andrew and said, “Please call Bailey, no take backs!” Andrew thought that was hilarious and called me to come home!
One of the many things I loved about Andrew was that he could be super smooth, athletic, romantic…and then he could be kind of dorky and clumsy. I think the day I decided he was the one for me was at my nephew’s b-day party. He was trying to impress me with his roller skating skills and decided he needed to skate backward because of his pulled groin. I thought that was a load and that he just wanted to show off. At one point he started going pretty fast backward and as he dodged a couple of kids he lost control of his skates, his long legs flew into the air and he landed flat on his back. Then, as the high school student that worked there asked him if he was ok, he got back up and immediately the legs flew right back up in the air! There he was again, flat on his back. My brother, dad and I all saw this happen and laughed so hard we almost cried. I knew right then and there, This is the man for me. It just cracks me up when someone tries to act so smooth and cool and then something like this happens. Maybe it’s because I have a goofy and silly side, too. Whatever it was, I found it extremely relatable and attractive.
Lastly, I’ll never forget going on road trips with Andrew. It was just him and me in a car with his scary brilliant and beautifully creative mind. I’ve never met anyone that thinks like Andrew. He was intriguing and had so much depth. I loved listening to his big dreams about leaving a legacy on this earth. I cherish those conversations and to this day when I take road trips by myself, I feel a sense of freedom, awe, hope and wonder because that’s how Andrew made me feel when we were dreaming together on the road!
Andrew, Ellie and I love you, and we are doing our part to keep your spirit alive. Your dreams of leaving a legacy are still being fulfilled through your books, your blog (andrewbheard.com) and through the lives you’ve personally touched. Thank you for teaching me how to live a life of purpose, meaning, substance and service to others. You are my daily inspiration. I love you always!