Andy is hanging in! It’s been wonderful these past several weeks to have so many of his friends stop over and visit with him, reminiscing about past adventures and old times. Even though the visits tend to wear him out, this is the most enjoyable part of his day.
As many of you may know, one of Andy’s favorite places in the world is Northern California. Specifically, Nevada City where he has spent a lot of time at Ananda Village, a spiritual community that supported his healthy lifestyle and yoga inclinations. Ever since Andy discovered Nevada City he has urged our family to relocate to the area. Over the years my husband Michael and I, began to seriously consider slowing down and simplifying our lives; and we kept coming back to the idea of moving to Northern California. Andy espoused it’s natural beauty, charming community and plethora of outdoor activities. And the fact that there are more trees than people.
In January of this year, we made a decision to make this year THE year to move from Southern California to Northern California. In our hearts and minds we thought this would be a wonderful transition to allow us to spend more time with Andy in the place he enjoys most. (We did not know that Andy’s health would decline as quickly as it has.) We bought a house in Nevada City and sold ours in Laguna Beach.
And now here we are . . . we’re moving! On Monday we will be driving away from our beloved community of 25 years to stay at Andy’s beloved Ananda until our things are moved into our new home. Andy is ecstatic about being at Ananda and seeing all of his friends and being on the grounds of this sacred village that has supported him on his path of healing and discovery over the years.
Please send us your prayers and well wishes for this journey. Andy’s breathing has become more and more labored because of the tumors compromising his lungs and he is now dependent on oxygen round the clock. He’s beginning to loose the use of his legs, those strong legs that got him from Mexico to Canada. He still has a great appetite and is enjoying all kinds of yummy treats brought by generous friends and neighbors (thank you). His spirits are good. He is coming to terms with his death in his own way. Some days he yearns for a way that will insure that he will have a little bit more time to see the people that he loves. Other days he fantasizes about taking a trip to Spain, Italy and Portugal where some members of our family will be visiting late fall. Then there are days when he asks how much longer we think he has and he can’t imagine that it could be much longer.
We talk very openly about what he wants done with his body (cremated) and his ideas about where he wants the ashes to go change like the wind. Somedays he wants to be shot through a canyon into space, or scattered on the top of a hill at Ananda. His biggest dream lately is to have friends and family take him on the PCT trail to one of his favorite passes in the Sierra’s, have everyone camp out, have fun, share stories and revel in what he loves so much — nature.
How is this for me? Hard. Yes. Of course. But there is beauty in dying too, that most people aren’t aware of. I brought Andy into the world over 24 years ago. I suckled him to my breast, changed his diapers, feed him, gave him baths, listened to his first words and helped him learn to walk. These days its like going in reverse — watching him as he can no longer balance, listening to the drug-induced stories of bravery, fear and courage, helping him bathe and brush his teeth . . . making food, cleaning up a mess or two. There are two things that are different from those early infant years. First he tells me how much he loves me almost every time I assist with his care, and now I administer medication when he is in pain rather than change his diaper.
I am so grateful for all of you that have commented on the blog. It has made me feel so proud to be Andy’s mom and know all the hearts that he has touched. It has made me smile and of course cry . . . and that’s a good thing. Your words and loving kindness has let Andy and our whole family that we are not alone that we are surrounded by love and prayers and healing. Thank you!