Written so beautifully by her Daddy.
Andie’s life may have been short lived, but the impact she left on us, and so many others that will never even know her - will live on forever.
Andie was, and still is, a wanted baby. We were very excited to know she was coming into this world to have us – as a family with our other children – Jessica, Chelsea, Brogan, Eric and Boston. We never knew we would be tested in this manner. But we know she has a purpose from God. A purpose that we can only admire as her parents.
Usually in this case of someone passing away – the speaker would have years to reflect upon, and know what to say about there loved one. We only had three weeks to know who our little girl was and who she was supposed to be.
In those three weeks we found out she would awake in the middle of the night – so I could get up and find her looking around for us to come and talk to her. I would tell her mommy - and that gave us the time to speak with her. We knew she would raise her hand around during the day to say – “hey, I’m over here, Come see me”.
We learned how she liked to hold onto our fingers while our hands were in the crib. We learned how she loved having her head stroked by her mommy to make her fall asleep. We learned she like having her mommy read her books and as she looked at the pictures. We learned she loved to grab her breathing tube and scare the nurses, making them think she was going to pull it out. But her mommy and I knew it was a something she held onto and she wouldn’t pull it out. We learned what side she liked to lay on - her left side. We learned she like to grab my nose when I put my face near hers. We learned she had big round blue eyes like her mommy and the chins of her daddy. We learned how much she enjoyed listening to Celine Dion. We learned when she would be awake and when she slept. We learned she liked playing with one of her tubes with her feet. She would always have one tube between her big and second toe.
What did we learn from her? -
I know she brought her family closer. Her mommy and daddy. Her brothers and sisters, Her grandparents, uncle and aunts, and so on. I never met most of Brooke’s family that’s here with us now for this occasion. But as Brooke said – we have gathered for the wrong reason. We should be gathering together to bring Andie home for everyone to meet.
I know she taught us the meaning of gratitude towards our family. We thank our family for being with us everyday at the hospital – showing us your support. We love you and words cannot share our thanks for you.
I know she impacted the world with her developments everyday. Almost 40,000 people learned about our Andie just through her blog. I want to thank Brooke’s sister Kelly for starting Andie’s blog. It took so much pressure off of Brooke and I – so we wouldn’t have to repeat her progress every five minutes. We are still amazed at the number of emails we receive daily from people around the world showing their sympathy and support during this time.
I know she touched the staff at the hospital where she spent her life. I’m not saying that the other children on that floor don’t impact the staff. But I know that Andie has touched their hearts like she was the only child there. And they made us feel Andie was their only patient on the floor.
I know that Andie has placed the grace of giving into the hearts of so many.
I know she was an educator. She taught us the meaning of unity. How so many people could unite with us during this time? She showed us you don’t need to know someone to understand that they care.We know the meaning of giving and what the word support means. She taught us that there are people out there that put others in front of themselves.
We know she taught us the blessings her mother and I have in front of us. The true meaning of friendship. How our friends could come to our rescue during this time to cry with, to lean on, to laugh with and to have them there to listen to us whenever we needed someone to talk to.
We know she taught us that we are not the only ones to lose a child. That we have others close to us – that have lost a child too. And brought them to us to lean on. Because of the many of friends and family we have leaned on, no one can truly know what we are going through except the ones that have been in our same shoes. Our hearts go out to them.
There are so many other things our little Andie has taught us, showed us, opened our eyes to, and how to have strength.
Andie fought a fight that we could not imagine anyone going through. To see what Andie had to endure during her time, it has opened our eyes to the word strength. Even though most of the time she rested calmly – she would awaken and look at us with a sparkle in her eye. Sometimes we could see her give us a smile through all her tubes and wires that was treating her. I could never imagine myself being that strong.
I was compelled to write shortly after Andie passed away. Brooke and I held her and talked to her while she passed away in our arms. It’s a moment we will always have in our hearts. We told her how much we loved her, how proud we were of her, how strong she was, and how sorry we were.
But after we laid her back in her crib, Brooke got her dressed. I had a moment to sit down and felt like I needed to share with the huge family from around the world Andie created during the short time she was here – that she had passed away. I wrote that even though she was here for only 3 weeks, we loved her like she’s been here for 300 years.
I said - We will always love her and miss her like no other. She is very special to us and to everyone that has met her, and has a purpose that only God knows. We are not angry but sad we couldn't share our life with her here. She is so beautiful and has a special presence that surrounds her. We know that she will be in heaven waiting for us. She will always be with us in spirit watching over us.We told our boys that she is with us – and even though they may be too young to understand. One day they they’ll know. Andie will talk to them when they least expect it.
I know Andie will be by Brooke’s side everyday and wants her mommy to be strong and understand her purpose. Brooke spent everyday with Andie and was not going to come home without her. She felt it wasn’t fair for her to come home without Andie. I admire Brooke for being Andie’s mommy.I wrote this from my heart but I could not have wrote this without Brooke. She has given me the strength to write this from the both of us.
So how do I end this talk? I end it with what I know about Andie. I know Andie died in a way that is honorable, courageous, valiant, and unselfish. Because Andie didn’t have a textbook condition – the doctors learned new treatments that will benefit so many children going forward. She will save thousand upon thousands of lives from what the doctors have learned from her treatment.
With that being said I can only end this saying the one thing for sure Andie has taught us...
Andie passed away a hero.