Andrew Banks Lyon aka Andy – Astro – D-Andy-lion

Dear Family and Friends and Followers,

Our beautiful son, brother, friend, hero — Andy — passed away on Friday, August 30th at 7:30am.

I feel so very fortunate that Andy was able to die in a place that he loved, as close to nature as he could possibly be, under beautiful tress, overlooking a forested ridge line and a graceful river.  Adjacent to the little cottage where we stayed during the last days of his life are beautiful gardens and a sacred chapel called the Crystal Hermitage.  Andy had taken me on a visit to the gardens a few years ago and what I remember most is that we laid down on a grassy area surrounded by colorful flower beds and looked up at the sky. Andy always took the time to appreciate nature, and he was so happy in that moment, recognizing a of a little piece of heaven.  He was delighted to share it with me as though it was his own personal discovery.  It never occurred to me then that he would die just a hundred yards from this peaceful place where he found beauty and sanctuary.  When I think back to that time and reflect on all the events that lead up to his death, I realize that all the pieces came together in divine right order.

On that Friday morning when Andy passed over to an infinite realm, we once again watched the sun come up together and then decided to sleep in “a little bit longer”.  When he woke up again I noticed that his breathing was definitely different. We laid on either side of him in bed.  We laid there for a long time holding him and crying, telling him how much we loved him, how much his life meant to us and what an inspiration he had been to so many.  It was peaceful and beautiful.  I could not have wished for a better ending of his human life.

I know that Andy’s spirit and our memories will live forever in my heart and in all the hearts that he loved and loved him.

There are so many people that I would like to thank for your unwavering support to me and to my family on this journey.  I hesitate to name names for fear that I would leave someone out. (I’ve done my best to thank you personally, but in the midst of it all I may have overlooked some)  May I say now THANK YOU . . .  your love and kindness has surrounded us on this path and it is with deep gratitude and joy I thank you!

We will be honoring Andy’s life in Laguna Beach on Sunday, September 29th.

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31 Responses to Andrew Banks Lyon aka Andy – Astro – D-Andy-lion

  1. Tears stream down my eyes as i am filled with the essence of love, honor, life and death! My heart swells as i imagine all of the love that surrounded Andy as he took his last breath within the arms of his loves!

    My heart holds you all as you transition in life as well!

    my deepest love, compassion and soul flows to you

  2. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Andy has been and will always continue to be an amazing inspiration in unlimited ways. Thank you for sharing this very difficult journey with us. Much love and hugs… Janna ox

  3. Candace Hurley says:

    Andy’s life was a blessing to all who were lucky enough to have known him. And I know his great love for you will be what sees you through this unimaginable loss. Wrapping my arms around you and holding on tight…

  4. Fran Abel says:

    For only a year have I “known” Andy from reading your blog and following the class of 2012 PCT adventures. My son, Freestyle, was a thru hiker that year too. I am unable to express my feelings adequately, but I hold you compassionately in my heart. May Astro rest in peace. His life was brief but powerful to all he touched.

  5. Pumba says:

    Rest in peace my friend

  6. I just ‘met’ your son yesterday via some fellow hikers, and I enjoyed reading of his adventures. I too experienced a situation such as yours so I understand your sadness but I feel gratitude also because of his life well lived. Thank you for sharing your wonderful words. 🙂

  7. Berk Ozturk says:

    You have been a great friend. It was a great pleasure to get to know you in the summer of 2006. You are not and will not be forgotten.

  8. Michelle says:

    Some people live their whole lives and never really “live” like Andy did. The beauty his eyes saw in the short time he was here is amazing and beautiful! I’m so sorry for your loss. May your family be strong and know he has inspired many with his determination and love of the trail. Chickety PCT 2008

  9. Nancy Deline says:

    Dear Betsy,
    Thank you for bravely sharing even Andy’s passing with such love and intimacy. It helps make passing on less mysterious and scary to me/us. You are a beautiful soul. Blessings and great love to all of you, Nancy

  10. Darcy says:

    So very sorry to hear of Andy’s passing. Although I have never met any of you, your stories are still inspiring to me. Andy’s courage to hike the PCT in his condition and you, Mom of Andy, to courageously share on this blog Andy’s last weeks. Blessings to your family.

  11. Dambara says:

    Thanks for your beautiful sharing, Betsy. Andy’s free soul is racing around sharing his joy with so many! Love and blessings to you, Alex, & the rest of the family as you go forward on your Big Adventure.

  12. Rachel says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful son with the world. Andy is truly an inspiration and is my hero. As a mother my heart is breaking for you. *hugs*

  13. Hani Bibi says:

    Andy was an extraordinary young man Betsy. He certainly left a huge mark in his short stay here. May he rest in peace. Much love to you, Michael and Alex.

  14. kevin crane says:

    Andy’s life story moves me, what a beautiful person. Love and blessings to his family and friends, I feel Heaven’s light shining through him to all of us.

  15. Gabriela says:

    My heart goes out to you and the family going through such pain! He was an extraordinary young man and his memory will shine like a star for all those who knew him! May you find strength and peace in this hard time!

  16. I am and have been deeply touched by Andy’s bravery and purity of heart and it’s mirror image in his family. Each time I look across the street at your home in Laguna I feel all of you held in the Great Love. Thank you for being such an impeccable example of that love for all of us.

    May peace enfold you, Betsy, Alex, Michael (and Luna)

  17. carestrom says:

    Betsy, We are so very sorry for your loss. You have deeply touched us by the way you’ve so beautifully shared Andy’s spirit. Those of us who don’t know him well are now able to appreciate his bravery, his tenacity, and his love of nature. He is an inspiration in so many ways. Your courage to share Andy’s journey with us, can only make us better in our own lives. May you find some peace during the difficult days ahead. Your family is in our thoughts, and in our hearts.
    The Strombotne’s

  18. Ann Quilter says:

    It is so rare that a “story” can be so heart-wrenching, beautiful and life affirming all at once. This powerful journey peals away the layers to the essence of being. I cannot even begin to tell you how thankful and grateful I am for your courage in sharing. Really, in this human life we are defined by sharing, enriched by sharing, and able to grow thru sharing. By sharing our human connections we reach a fuller dimension than ever possible by ourselves and alone. No matter what direction we take from this point on, we have been forever changed by being a small part of this spiritual journey. We have been blessed by your grace and loving kindness. Our hearts have grown. Andy, his family and friends lives on in each of us. Namaste.

  19. Kris Evans-Degne says:

    Andy’s beautiful smile is in my heart forever. I am sad at your loss, dear Betsy, but glad that Andy is at peace. Here’s a lovely Hebrew Proverb for you: “Say not in grief that he lives no more, but live in thankfulness that he was.” Huge hugs to you from Kris Evans-Degen and the Degen family

  20. Barbara Pierce says:

    Dear Betsy and Family, Our hearts are so sad to hear the news of Andy’s passing. What a long and hard journey you all have had. May you all find comfort in knowing he is in such a happy and painless place. It’s so wonderful that you all had the time to be together during this difficult time. We look forward to seeing you in Laguna. Love to you, Alex and Michael. Love, Barb and Russ

  21. mwilkosz says:

    Dear Betsy, Michael, Our deepest sympathy. You have blessed and honored us all by the telling of Andy’s story. The words brought us into the circle of love and we were spiritually lifted up by the sharing of your most cherished memories. We are all richer for having known Andy.
    Love, Stan and Michele

  22. Our heart goes out to you and your family. Astro’s sweet smile and that twinkle in his eye will always remain in my memory. Thank you so much for helping us all see that there can be peace and grace in living and in dying, Marc “Imperial Gourmet” Fendel, Cool Ranch, Oakdale and others headed out on the PCT, and should reach the monument around on Saturday, Sept 7th. They will have a celebration of Astro’s life and accomplishments all day!
    With Love in my heart- Jayne

  23. carol says:

    Dear Betsy,
    I see Andy’s handsome face and big smile in my mind’s eye. It is so heart-warming to hear that Andy died as he lived, beautifully, peacefully, bravely, consciously, openly and filled with love, surrounded by his loving mom and his sister, in a tranquil, spiritual place. I admire your whole family so much.
    I have always loved this quote: Tears are often the telescope through which we see far into heaven. – Henry Ward Beecher
    So true for you and Andy.
    I think of tears as a way we cleanse our souls.
    Thanks so much for sharing.
    I look forward to seeing you..
    With love and a {{{big hug}}}

  24. Debbie Shelton says:

    Rest in peace Astro, prayers to your family. Love, Debbie in Yakima

  25. Minu Ramanan says:

    Dear Andy’s family,

    I knew Andy briefly at the summer science program in Ojai, and was shocked to hear this news through another friend from the program. I will be praying for Andy, and you all, through this process. Death is only physically final. May his memory and spirit live on in our lives. Love, Minu.

  26. says:

    My heart and soul go out to you. I think of Andy, sending a prayer to him. May the spirit of love be with all of you.

  27. Susan Changala says:

    Betsy and family,
    I met Andy during his short stay in Yakima. His courage,kindness and serenity has touched me forever. I am sorry for your pain. Hugs to all of you. Andy will never be forgotten in this neck of the woods.
    Susan C.–Yakima,WA
    Yakima Valley Memorial Hosp.

  28. Carolyn says:

    Dear Betsy and family,
    My deepest sympathy to you all on Andy’s passing. As so many have expressed here, I feel such gratitude to you and Andy for sharing his and your very personal story. Thank you. May you have peace in your new life in this spiritual community where Andy encouraged you to relocate. I’m sorry that I will be out of town until Oct. 4, and will miss the memorial service in Laguna, but I will be remembering this gallant young man with a huge heart.
    Much love, Carolyn

  29. Robert Fishbaugher says:

    Thank you for sharing your son with us…
    He touched more lives than his years belie.
    Be strong…and find happiness knowing Andy’s in a better place…
    A place of pure love, peace and joy…

  30. My deepest heartfelt condolences. I never met your beautiful son but I am a thru hiker (class of 87) and I plan to rehike the trail with my son (he’s 9 now). I came across this news as I’m doing research on PCTers for my ecopsychology PhD. Thank you for sharing his story. Big hugs.

  31. Dorothy Groszhans says:

    Still think of you and pray for your healing …
    Just finished a book “The Undying Soul” by Dr. Stephen Iacoboni that you may be interested in. Am still touched by Andy’s amazing soul …
    My heartfelt prayers are sent to you when I think of him during my walk.

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