My purpose in writing this blog is not to wallow in sorrow, but to honor the grieving process and love on those who were closest to Andrea. As everyone processes differently, I will never question how someone reacts to grief. I just pray that my friends have more happy days than sad days and more energy filled days than angry "why" days. I pray they move through the whole grief process and don't get stuck along the journey.
Andrea has crossed the ultimate finish line, and before doing so positively impacted so many lives including mine. I was lucky enough to meet her when my cousin, Cathy, signed us up to run a marathon relay together a few years ago. Our team was bundled up in a car for hours on a cold day as we each waited for our turn to run. Andrea kept us laughing and cheering with her wicked-funny humor and positive encouragement of others.
I was lucky enough to run more races with Andrea, including suffering through almost 3 hours of negative degree weather at the Snake River Half Marathon, and having her swat me on the butt with a "come on, girl, let's do this" in the last two miles of the Coeur d'Alene Half Marathon (which she went on to beat me)!
As her supporters, we dedicated races and triathlons to Andrea.
Her friend ran over 140 miles as a one-man relay for charity to raise money for her medical treatments! More friends designed and sold shirts and held a charity race. (Props to Ben at Tran Creative for his shirt design and photos of Andrea.)
Authors sent her a personally signed book to read in all her spare time at the hospital and during dialysis treatments. (Thanks to Jim and Anne Weatherill for donating their book, "The Blades Carry Me.")
She had so many visitors at the hospital they had to stop visitation so she could get some rest! (Once they were kind enough to let my boys and me sneak in to deliver a cookie bouquet we'd made for her.)
I was lucky enough to pick her up and give her a ride in the "Batmobile" the day I got it and go to the Clark House to enjoy amazing food and entertainment.
Andrea gave it her all and lived up to her motto: "Keep on, keeping on." That is how I want to live my life--to the fullest. I don't want to leave anything undone. No regrets. Every day is a gift and must be treated that way. Her friend, Ben, also made this amazing tribute to her:
Now, we must move through this and move forward. My heart and legs feel heavy, but I can only imagine the hurt her closest friends and family are feeling. I can't wait to see and hug my cousin, Cathy, again.
We will all gather for a hike/run on Saturday in Andrea's honor and she will probably have it rain so she can have the last laugh. 😉
Meanwhile, we will all find our own way to honor her life and "keep on, keeping on."