The Big Move

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!

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17 Responses to The Big Move

  1. marge Prothman says:

    I admire Andys spirit, cheers Marge the old gal who use to hike on the PCT whenever I had the chance………

  2. carestrom says:

    I struggle to find words to communicate how Andy’s story, and the way you share it, fill my heart. You have such a lovely voice, and a beautiful way that you’ve allowed your friends, and Andy’s friends and supporters to join in his journey. As a mother, my heart aches for what you are going through, what he is going through. We will miss you all in this community. But, I’m sure that you’ll find what you are looking for within the arms of a more balanced,and nature infused home. You, Michael, Andy and Alex are in our hearts and minds as you move forward on your path.

  3. Karen OConnell says:

    Dearest Betsy,
    Thank you so very much for allowing us some witness to this sacred journey that you are all on by keeping this blog, its deeply moving and I am honored and filled with love and care for you, for Andy and for all your loved ones.
    Blessing and love always, Karen

  4. Hi, I just wanted to offer that I live in El Cerrito in the Bay Area, sort of on your way on your journey up north, depending on what route you take. I would be more than happy to cook you dinner or host you if you want to not make the drive all in one day. I am an airbnb host, but of course you would have the room free of charge: (note I also have a full size pull out couch in the living room). Please let me know what I can do!

  5. Fran Abel says:

    Andy’s Big Adventure has been a trip of happiness and sorrow; victory and setbacks; health and illness; joy and sadness; and learning, always learning, for all of us. Thank you for your open and thoughtful sharing of the events these past two years. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you experience this sad but very special time.

  6. Robin Pierson says:

    Road trip! An adventure into the great beyond outside our beautiful little bubble and you get to do it together, knowing that nothing lasts and we all eventually have to go on alone, which makes now so special. thanks for sharing with us. it is a valuable, precious gift you are giving us. travel well. we are with you. robin & dash

  7. Julie says:

    Thinking of you and Andy.
    Thank you for sharing your story.

  8. Debbie says:

    Astro,as always you are such an inspiration to me and so many others, I think of you often and wish you much peace in your journey! Gods speed to you…. sending my prayers to you and your family. Luv, Debbie(from Yakima)

  9. pam wicks says:

    Dearest Betsy and Andy .. I feel so honored to be included in your profound journey .Betsy.. you continue as always to walk in beauty and graciousness . And Andy your courage and bright and shining spirit inspire so many. You are off on a new adventure.. !..Ananda is such a Sacred Place .. a perfect resting spot for you all. We have been placing you both… Andy and Betsy in our Kirtan Circle every Wednesday morning as we chant the name of the Divine. And know that we will continue to do so.. Many Blessings as you journey forth..!
    Much much love to you all….. Pam.

  10. says:

    I am so deeply moved by yo ur words and Andy’s beautiful spirit. I search for the words to bring you a moment of goodness, praying for guidance, but as everyone says, words are not enough. As said, we are ALL a part of this journey and I send you my deepest, most sincere desire for the grace that will will give you strength and to have the force of peace (a holy spirit) lovingly  sweep through all of you.   I don’t know you, but I love you.

    Dorothy G (yakima)

  11. Dambara says:

    Betsy, Andy, so happy to hear about you wanting to be up near Ananda Village. I just last night returned from a week up there, and can’t imagine a more inspiring, uplifted environment. Gosh, Andy’s Spirit and your support & willingness are So much an example of how to live life successfully! Our hearts are with you. God bless you both!

  12. carol says:

    How good and generous you are to move at this time when others might hole up and withdrawn. I so appreciate how you are sharing your journey with us. Your view of dying seems so like my own, even as my heart aches for you as a mom. The stopping for a while at Anada sounds like a lovely and gentle transisition to new place. May you feel the magic of every moment to enjoy as you travel this path. It sounds as though you do. You are in my hearts. Love and hugs, Carol

  13. David Lindquist says:

    Hey there Andy, Betsy and Michael, We have all heard the words “Life is beautiful in all of it’s stages.” Living that is of course a different story and like the PCT a heroes journey. I am so proud of you young fellow. All of you. Betsy, I was deeply touched by your latest comments. I keep reading them over and over. Michael, I know you to be a very good man, present and true. It is through people like yourselves that I can only begin to understand the meaning of life. I will follow your trail one day Andy and I will make it because you have shown me the way. Much love. David Lindquist

  14. Hani Bibi says:

    Thank you for the update Betsy. I think about you, Andy, Michael and Alex every day. May the powers of the universe watch over you and your family. Luv ya. Hani. xo.

  15. Janet says:

    You have a big group of people here in Mariposa praying for your family. God bless you in your move.

  16. Nancy Deline says:

    Blessings on this next part of your journey. You are enfolded with great love by all of us. Thank you for sharing your way.

  17. Dear Betsy & Andy, You illuminate for all of us the darkest and deepest parts of life and show that love, graciousness, spaciousness, and protection is present, EVEN THERE. Moment to moment. Breath by breath. I remain deeply grateful and send my love. karen

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