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  • marybacon7

Andrew's Birthday

Updated: Mar 28


Today, Andy was born 55 years ago. Gosh.

 A year ago, at this time, I scattered his ashes in a river, just two months after his death.

Today, I think, how? Was I able to?


So much of life we are unprepared for.

I could not picture my future self then, sitting calmly to write this on his birthday.

Life ahead was a big


Today I've already learned this: the first few years after the death of one's partner, one is, that is, I am constantly unlearning the dependability of his presence - tripping upon his absence in the most unexpected corners of my world, my mind. I can report, after a full year of Andrew doppelgängers, he is indeed not in a physical form I can grab ahold of, though, unawares, I’ve tried; grasped at a stranger’s elbow, stared in a daze at someone across the way ambling towards me with a wide gait and glasses; I suppose my brain is continuously pouring down new foundation for my porous subconscious mind.

And when that hardens - at some point?

I won't even subconsciously expect him here or there -

or anywhere.

I hear this takes a lifetime. At least I know what to expect?

A dear friend who knew him from a pre-college summer theatre program at Bennington, before Andrew had gone to Carnegie Mellon, directed on the fly, worshipped Ibsen or Kurosawa or had a desire to run a theatre - this friend sent me an essay Andy’d written.

If you were a close personal friend of Andrew, you might've known he was a fisherman.

He adored it. Tied flies all winter. Knew insects. He didn't engage as much in it when Abadi came into our lives -little ones so need your attention- but had begun to impart his love of fishing to him, starting at well-stocked ponds, etc. Patiently teaching him to cast and to...wait.

Andy ran a new play festival in the Colorado Rockies that gave him ample time to fish - perhaps that is why he so gleefully counted on those two weeks in June he'd be up in the majestic Rockies near the Blue River.

At 17, he’d written this moving essay about why he loved fishing, stemming from the death of his own father when Andy was 8; it was their last singular time together when his father taught him to fish. I won't insist you read it- but it turned out to be a life’s philosophy that he adapted to move forward, and really, became the basis of his character. He said learning the world of fish and fishing, looking underneath the water at fish’s behavior, and the beauty of recreating a tiny gadfly’s natural brilliance; all taught him patience, concentration, and self-discipline. Many have said that Andrew gave one his full attention, patience, and interest. He was like that when I first met him. I just talked his ear off and was stunned at his ability to just - listen. Perhaps he was simply baiting me, watching me happily grasp the hook.

Andy said fishing taught him how to learn.

So if I must live, and it seems I do,

and Andy must not,

this essay was a gift for me from Andy himself, his ingredients for living a good life, that I can adapt for my own moving forward, however painful and shattered I am, and thus, be a living legacy to him.

I sure hope so. But nobody is perfect.

*Patience - with myself, and with people, always other people

*Concentration - focus on what matters, investigate, look underneath, be interested

*Self-discipline - practice and work for what you deem valuable. Work hard for what you love.

And one more he exercised all the time:

*Give people the benefit of the doubt.

*Give yourself the benefit of the doubt.

And this is how to learn.

And learning is living life, isn't it?

Happy Birthday dearest man.

Andy, we love you forever.

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