Yesterday it was 11 months since Andy passed away. I have a difficult time conceptulizing whether that is a short time or a long time. While I miss him and think of him everyday, the way I view his absence from my life and the lives of all of us who loved him and those that he loved, has gone through suble changes and shifts in my consciousness.
Initially my memories and reflections of him were so caught in reliving the ‘trauma’ of the last year of his life. Remembering how his body slowly lost its ability to sustain him. Remembering how he experienced more and more pain as time went on and his restlessness and discomfort, wanting to conceal it from others, but feeling to freedom and safety to share it with me. I also reflect on how he then gently began to let go and accept his destiny. He let go of material items like his computer, much-loved books and other objects that would have no value to him as he moved towards surrendering his physical body.
He started to move closer to the people he loved, wanting to spend more time with them, sharing life, it’s experiences, it’s celebrations, it’s miracles.
I have been revisitng so many of the pivitol moments of deep anquish when he was learning that the cancer was growing throughout his body and there were no options anymore. Sure, we could have contiued with western medicine, toxic chemicals that would surely take him out first, along with what quality of life he had left. He chose the natural course of awareness: knowing that tumors were slowly shutting down his internal organs and using pain meds at a minium to keep him comfortable. Over time during this year, my mind slowly started to drift away from these thoughts that were so difficult, the times I felt helpless, knowing I couldn’t fix his cancer or make it any better.
As the visitors of anguish began to diminish, the sweet memories of Andy’s presence began to come and go — the fun we had together cooking and experienmenting with food and healthy ways to use diet as a remedy to kill cancer cells. I remember many times as we were driving in the car and we could casually touch my hand to hold it and then tell me how much he loved me. I remember how quick his mind worked when solving a math problem, saying the answer before I could formulate how to go about figuring it out. I remember looking up at the night sky so many times (some place where you could see the stars, like on vacation or out in the wilderness) and he could call out the Milky Way, the Big Dipper and beyond. I reflect on his journey along the Pacific Crest Trail — the amount of courage that it took to even start the hike knowing the obstacles he would face, the pain he was already enduring and facing the truth of a fatal diagnosis. Andy had an energy and awareness of how he wanted to spend his life — what little he had left of it. Hiking the PCT brought me and many, many others such hope and joy and happiness for six and half months. The legacy that he left for us is his thirst for adventure and fearlessness of the unknown. This has brought a measure of peace, knowing he did what he wanted to do on his terms.
As we approach the one year anniversary of his death on August 30, we are looking forward to celebrating him in a way we think he would have approved and enjoyed. We have a group of committed family and freinds who are ready to get on the trail! We are going to a place that Andy loved and that he mentions in the voice memos he made on his phone while on the PCT. We are going back-packing for three days! We will be taking his ashes and carrying just the things we need on our backs, sleeping in the dirt, gazing at the stars and the moon, inviting the wildlife to celebrate with us — becoming one with nature and Mother Earth. We are going to honor a life that is very special. Every person who ever knew or heard of Astro Andy knows he was a very unique human being.
Two things that I am excited to share ~ a very kind and sincere woman named Nalini who resides at Ananda Village — the place where Andy took his last breaths and his spirit moved on to another realm — is writing a book about death and others whom have passed away in that spiritual community. She has included Andy in her book.
Second, I am very excited that we will have a special guest joining us on our “Anniversary Expedition.” A writer from Backpacker magazine will be coming along because of his interest in Andy and his quest and completion of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2012. We are looking forward to the telling of a heart-warming story that we know will bring inspiration to many.
Thanks for reading!