My love. My confidant. My best friend. My partner in all things. You were one of the most caring and best people I’ve known. My favorite person. You were an artist, a musician, and an eternal student, always wanting to learn more. You are my love, my light, my reason. You were my partner, my nurse, my mechanic, my shoulder to cry on. You tucked me in to bed every single night when you couldn’t come to bed with me, knowing I needed that last bit of love from you before I drifted to sleep. You sent me to work with love every morning by saying, “drive safe my love. I appreciate everything you do for us.”
The day I met you, my life turned upside down. It started to make sense and the pieces started to fall into place. You made me whole and you made my future something to look forward to. You pushed me to grow and learn and never settle. You never settled for anything and you pushed yourself to always be better. I wish you could have seen yourself the way I see you. You were never satisfied with a photograph or a song you played but I just saw your brilliance and tried to make you see it too. You never sat still and if things needed to be done, you were up doing it before I could ask.
Your creative and passionate spirit filled my life and those around you with so much joy. Your sense of humor is what I’ll miss the most. Your ability to make me laugh when I cried and your ability to turn anything into a laugh, it’s my favorite thing about you. Your dirty jokes and your timing, were always on point. Your quick wit never ceased to amaze me. Your love and empathy for others was beyond compare. You had so much compassion for others, you wanted to help every person who was hurt and wanted to give food to every homeless person you saw. You held the door for every one behind you, even though you’d get mad they didn’t say thank you. You fed all the birds in our neighborhood and even convinced me to get chickens, so you could give them a better life.
Your ability to make people feel comfortable, your ability to connect with anyone you met, was beyond my understanding. I would watch in awe as your charisma could smooth over a tough situation and would attract complete strangers to you. You could talk to contractors about tile; talk to mechanics about tuning cars; talk to musicians about guitars; and talk to pest control people about the mating patterns of a species of insect. Your knowledge and your intelligence was something I always admired about you.
The first time I saw your face was on the screen of my phone. Your message to me was so different from anything I’d received. You talked of adventures and nature and I remember thinking that even from this little message on a dating app, your passion for life was infectious. I was hooked. You called me and I was instantly taken by your sense of humor. The first time we talked, we talked on the phone for 3 hours. We discussed music, photography, nature, religion, spirituality, and our favorite trips. You made me laugh and gave me such butterflies.
Our first date was so amazing and so us. Of course I was late, and you almost thought I bailed. We started at Burgers and Brew, and I quickly realized ordering a messy portabella burger was the worst idea. We talked for 2 hours and then you said we should drive somewhere fun. You got a kick out of driving so fast onto the freeway that my head actually went back into my headrest. I’ll never forget that laugh you had when you surprised someone and that look of thrill in your eyes when you drove. I led us to the river and we talked by the water for another hour. You wouldn’t sit on the rocks because you said there was bird poop. We kissed by the water and you said “what should we do next?” I was out of charming ideas in Sacramento so we drove to my parents’ gated community and we sat by the pond. Well I sat and you said you didn’t want to because you were certain there was bird poop. I thought, “this guy is really cautious of bird poop.” Little did I know you were cautious of everything. We walked to the tennis courts and laid in each other’s arms, staring at the stars. We talked about our hopes and dreams and I couldn’t believe how much we had in common. We have the same birthday for goodness sake! When we got too cold, we went in your car and talked some more. Our first date was about 8 hours long and I still wanted more. I told my Mom that you were something special. I said I thought that this was something real. We talked on the phone for 2-4 hours every day after that.
Our next date, I had you to my parent’s house while they were gone and I cooked you dinner. After dinner, we sat by the fire outside and talked while we were in each other’s arms. At the end of the night, you said “You are so beautiful, I have to make you mine. Will you be mine?” I said, “yes” and my heart sang.
It was only 2 weeks or so when I knew I loved you but I waited a month in to tell you. And that was it… I was yours and you were mine.
You asked me to marry you at the bottom of a waterfall and I said, “yes”. I cried with joy and felt so lucky to have you! I wish you could have seen me in my dress and I could see you at the end of the aisle. I wish I got to be your wife.
What can I say other than you were my light, my love, my reason, my person, my everything. You always said life was unfair and let me just say again what I said to you at least once a day, “you are right.” Life is cruel and unfair and you should be here. I’m lost and empty without you.
You may be gone but you are with me always. Anytime I see a pretty landscape, you are with me. Anytime I see a fox or pretty wildlife, there you are. Anytime I check my light in my camera, you are over my shoulder, guiding me. At a pretty sunset, there you are. When a bird gracefully lands on a branch nearby, there you are. When I hear a waterfall cascading down onto rocks, there you are. When the light comes on my car dash, there you are reminding me to change my oil. When I doubt myself, there you are reminding me I can do it. You always said I was strong and I don’t feel strong right now, but I am trying to be strong for you and for myself. Anytime I am hurt by someone’s words or actions, there you are, cheering me on and telling me to take the high road. Every decision I’ve made the last few days, I think, what would Andy tell me to do. You will always be with me in my thoughts, in my heart, in my soul. You were my person and I was yours. You live on in our memories, in our photographs, in our hearts, and in our adventures yet to come.
I don’t know how to live without you but I know you’d want me to live my life to the fullest. I don’t see much light left in the world but I know you’d want me to find the light. And not just A light, but the BEST light. I know you’d want me to go on adventures and explore the world with you in my heart.
I was so excited to marry you, I already wrote my vows. I couldn’t wait to tell the world what you meant to me. I couldn’t wait to be your wife. I couldn’t wait to have adventures as husband and wife. I wanted to shout from the mountains that you are mine and I am yours. And I’m so thankful I had you when I did. I already wrote my vows to you and while I won’t have the chance to say them at our wedding, I promise to keep them anyway.
I vow to cherish you always, even though death has parted us. I vow to push myself to do better in the way only you could. I vow to always love my family the fierce way you did. I vow to be kind to strangers the way you were. I vow to keep a flashlight, gloves, and a first aid kit in my car at ALL times. I vow to use energy efficient LED light bulbs. I vow to feed birds when I can and learn some of their names. I vow to watch planet earth and appreciate nature only the way you did. I vow to take trips to the snow and try to capture landscapes like you did. I vow to not give up on our dream of creating a thriving photography company. I vow to always chase the best light and always take sharp crisp photos. I vow to be the kind of loyal friend you were. Above all else, I vow to love you and continue to be a person you are proud of.
I can’t believe I have to say goodbye. That I have to face the world without you. I felt like I could conquer anything with you by my side. Your family, my family, your friends, and I will never stop missing you. I loved you for all the days we were together and I will love you until the day I die. I hope you are at peace. I hope you are among the stars.
Goodbye, my sweet Andy. I carry your heart. I carry it in my heart.